The Tactical Cold Email Checklist

Cold outreach doesn't have to be a chore. Introducing the Tactical Cold Email Checklist, your go-to resource to craft cold emails that get results. A Tactical Checklist for CMOs and Sales Reps

Your Cold Email Strategy

Before embarking on your cold email journey, make sure to chart your course, gather key data, and get ready for launch.

Define Your Objective

What is the primary objective of your cold email campaign? Whether you’re trying to generate leads, nurture existing customers, or promote a new product, knowing your goals will help you create better content and establish clear metrics to evaluate the success of your campaign.

Research Your Prospect

Gather some intel about your ideal customer. You can do that through surveys, 1-on-1 interviews, industry reports, or review mining. Try to understand your prospect’s fears, pain points, and desires. Where do they want to go? And how can your solution help them to get there?


Plan Their Customer Journey

Now that you know where your prospects are, and where you want them to be, you can map out their customer journey, and design your email workflow accordingly. How many emails should you send them? When should you follow-up? Make sure each message brings them closer to their final destination.


Select Your Cold Email Tool

Choose a cold emailing platform that fits your needs. There are dozens of alternatives out there. So take your time to test, and compare them. Some tools are incredibly powerful, but also (very) complex. While others are user-friendly and don’t require advanced technical skills. Like Mailmeteor.


Your Cold Email List

Build a list of high-quality leads, import them into your favorite cold emailing platform, and use email verification tools to 10x your results.

Build Your Email List

Collect email addresses through LinkedIn, your website, webinars, or other list-building strategies. Make sure to focus on quality over quantity and try to enrich your contact list with relevant data about your prospects, such as their name, company, and any other relevant information.

Target Professional Email Addresses

Focus on collecting business email addresses (such as [email protected]). Private email addresses (such as [email protected]) are more likely to result in spam complaints, which may hurt your email reputation and negatively impact the performance of your cold email campaign.

Import Your Contacts

Got a collection of high-quality leads interested in what you have to offer? You can now import them into your favorite email marketing platform, either through a CSV file or by copying and pasting their email address. All it takes is a few clicks. You can then segment your audience into smaller lists if necessary.


Verify Email Addresses

When you send a message to an email address that doesn’t exist, your email bounces. This can damage your email reputation, and lower your deliverability. So make sure to use a verification tool (like BounceShield) to detect invalid email addresses BEFORE sending your cold emails.


Your Cold Email Template

Craft a compelling cold email template to capture attention, spark a conversation, and turn your leads into customers.

Write a Clickable Subject Line

Your subject line is a key element to boost your open rates. It needs to catch the attention of your prospects and make them want to read your email. To write an effective subject line, try to ⤵️

  • Spark the curiosity of your recipient
  • Keep it short (less than 5 words)
  • Promise a desirable outcome
  • Add some personalization
  • Leverage urgency
  • Be specific

Here are some examples of subject lines that got high open rates ⤵️

  • Have you tried this to improve your [pain point]?
  • How to 10x your [desirable outcome]
  • I saw this, and thought of you…

Notice how they let the recipient know there’s something valuable inside the email, but without saying too much?


Personalize Your Email

Use your research and the information you’ve collected to create highly relevant, targeted, and personalized content that resonates with your prospects. Start your email with a personalized greeting like “Hello [Name]”, and make sure to tailor your message to make each recipient feel special.

Sounds like a lot of work? It doesn’t have to be. With tools such as Mailmeteor, you can effortlessly customize your message. Send mass personalized cold emails in minutes. No technical skills required.


Provide Context

Begin your email by explaining why you’re reaching out to them. Your goal should be to create a connection and build trust. A little flattery can also come in handy. But don’t overdo it, or you may seem a bit too pushy, or insincere.

For example, you could say something like “Just read one of your blog posts. I really like your take on [topic]. It got me thinking about…”.

Give value

Don’t try to sell right away. And don’t make a selfish ask. Your first cold email should focus on building a connection with your prospect. And the best way to do that, is to spark an interesting conversation and provide value.

Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself “What’s in it for me?”. Why should they reply to your message? How will this benefit them? If you don’t have a clear answer, your recipients will most likely ignore you.

Here are some easy ways to offer some value in a cold email ⤵️

  • If you’re a freelance copywriter, you could for example run a mini audit of their website and tell them how you would improve it.
  • If you’re a sales rep at a home design company, you could offer to send them samples of your products.
  • If you’re a CMO at a SaaS company, you could offer them a demo or a free trial, no strings attached.

Be Concise

Don’t go into unnecessary details. Your recipients are busy and they receive a TON of emails every day. So make their life easy. Respect their time and go straight to the point. Ideally, your cold email should be less than 150 words. If you want to give them more information, you can offer to set up a call or a demo.

Make it About Them

Most cold emails start with a sales pitch and focus on the company and its solution. But your prospects don’t care about any of that. They care about themselves. So that’s what your cold message should focus on. Try to use the word “you” as often as you can. Show them you care about their interest, and that you’re here to help.

Speak Their Language

Your email should feel like you’re having a chat with a friend. Keep a conversational tone, don’t use jargon, and replace complicated words. You can use tools such as the Hemingway App to streamline your writing and avoid unnecessary fluff. Listen to your prospect. A lot. And learn to speak their language.


Include a Low-Friction CTA

End your cold email with a low-friction call-to-action (CTA) to nudge your prospects in the right direction and prompt them to respond. Your CTA could be a link, or a question. Use action-oriented language. And don’t ask for anything too big. After all, your prospects don’t know you that well (yet).


Add Your Email Signature

At the end of your email, make sure to add your signature. Include your name, company, job title, and your contact details. You want to make sure your prospects know who’s contacting them. This also makes it easy for them to reach out to you if they have some questions. Don’t have a signature yet? You can create one in minutes thanks to our free email signature generator.


Preview Your Cold Email

You’re done working on your cold email template? Then it’s time to preview your message. This allows you to check how your email will look in your recipient inbox. Double-check your personalization variables, proofread your email, hunt down broken links, and look for typos or grammatical errors. You can use a spell-checking tool such as Grammarly to make sure you didn’t miss anything.


Send a Test Email

All set? Then it’s time to put your email to the test. Send a test email. First to yourself, and then to your team. Check how your email looks across multiple devices and email clients. Are your images displaying correctly? Does your email land in your inbox or the spam folder? Test your links one last time, and voilà! Your cold emailing campaign is ready for take-off 🚀

Run A/B Tests

But you shouldn’t send ALL your emails at once. Because even 1 tiny word can make or break your cold emailing campaign. The best thing to do, if you want to improve your results and learn more about your target audience, is to run A/B tests every time you send a cold email.

Here’s how it works. Explore a few variations in your subject line or the body of your email. Then send email A to a small sample of your audience, and email B to another sample. Compare your results, and pick the version of the email that performed best. Repeat this a few times, and your emails will go from cold to gold.


Automate Your Follow-Ups

Create one follow up (or more), and automate them. You can decide to send your follow ups automatically after a certain period of time. But it’s often best to trigger your follow up based on your prospect actions.

For example, with Mailmeteor, you can schedule an automated follow up if your prospect hasn’t opened your email after 3 days. Or if they haven’t replied after 5 days. This allows you to create a personalized workflow for each prospect.

When creating your follow ups, make sure to follow the customer journey map you’ve designed earlier, and avoid unnecessary repetitions. Each email should help your prospect move closer to their destination.


Your Cold Email Deliverability

Crafting a stellar cold email is pointless if it lands in the spam folder and goes unnoticed. So let’s now focus on deliverability.

Create a New Domain

Cold emails often have low response rates, and any mistake you make can result in bounces or spam complaints, which is bad for your email reputation. So to prevent your primary domain from being flagged as spam, we recommend creating a secondary domain (like With Google Workspace, this can be done in less than 2 minutes, and it’s quite cheap. Make sure to complete your account with exact information. Avoid fake names and profile pics.


Warm Up Your Account

If you’re using a new domain, it will be added to a spam list for up to a month. This is a safety measure to fight against spammers. Once you’re off that spam list, you can start sending some cold emails. But don’t send hundreds of emails per day with a brand new account, or you’ll be marked as spam in no time.

Instead, you’ll need to warm up your account and slowly build up your email reputation. Start by sending 10-20 emails per day for 1 week. Then increase to 20-30 emails for 1 week. And so on. You can either do this manually or use an email warm-up tool, such as Mailreach or Folderly.

Your goal is to convince the email service providers (ESPs) that you’re not a spammer. So keep your email activity steady, and make sure to reply to your messages, send calendar invitations, open your emails, or mark them as important… In other words, use your mailbox like a human :)



These security protocols are designed to help email service providers verify you’re the actual sender. One of their goals is to prevent spoofing. Implement DKIM, SPF, and DMARC authentication to reduce your chances of being marked as spam. You can easily check your SPF record with this free tool. Google made a complete guide on how to authenticate your account, make sure to give it a read.


Check Your Email Reputation

Monitor your email reputation to understand how email service providers such as Gmail and Google view your sending practices. To do so, you can use tools such as Spamhaus Reputation Checker or Google Postmaster Tools.


Minimize Your Spam Score

Avoid using too many spam words like win, free, urgent. They make you sound like a spammer and they increase your risk of triggering the spam filters. Don’t use ALL CAPS or excessive exclamation marks!!! This won’t help you get your point across, and it may hurt your email deliverability.


Delay Your Emails

Don’t send all your cold emails at once. Most email service providers can spot unusual behavior, and they may decide to mark you as spam. To maintain a “normal” sending activity, you can add some delay between each email.

With Mailmeteor, this can be done in just a few clicks, thanks to a feature called Autopilot. You could for instance decide to wait 5 seconds before sending each new email, and to only send your emails during business hours.


Use a Custom Tracking Domain

Most anti-spam filters attribute a negative score to emails with very long or low-quality domain names. So if you plan to track opens and clicks, don’t forget to set up a custom tracking domain. With the right cold email tools, this can be done in minutes, and it will hugely improve your email deliverability.


Always include an easy way to unsubscribe in your cold emails. This is mandatory if you want to comply with GDPR, CAN-SPAM, and other relevant regulations. It will also allow people to opt out of your communications, which can reduce your odds of being flagged as spam, and protect your email reputation.


Your Cold Email Performance

Practice makes perfect. Track your results, collect feedback, and use your learnings to create even better cold email campaigns.

Honor Unsubscribe Requests

If someone opted out from your email list, make sure to remove them from your cold email list right away. This person isn’t interested in what you have to say. And if you keep emailing them, they’ll most likely block you or flag you as spam. This is also mandatory if you want to comply with GDPR and the CAN-SPAM Act.


Monitor Your Bounces

High bounce rates, especially hard bounces, can damage your email reputation. So make sure to closely monitor the bounce rate of your cold email campaign, and remove invalid or inactive email addresses.


Analyze Your KPIs

Review the performance of your campaign and use this feedback to refine your cold email strategy. If your open rate is below 50%, you may have deliverability issues. Or your subject line wasn’t catchy enough. If your reply rate is under 10%, the content of your cold email could be improved, or you’re not targeting the right people. Try a different CTA next time, change your messaging, and clean up your list.