Open Rates for Cold Emails

Learn what defines a good open rate and how to get more opens with helpful tips from Unfiltered.
Coming up with cold email open rates is like painting the Mona Lisa - it's a task that requires an incredible amount of skill, patience, and insight to pull off successfully.

But don't worry!

As long as you creatively approach this challenge and strategize your emails thoughtfully, success with cold emailing is within reach.

In today's blog post, we'll provide you with all the tips and tricks needed to boost your open rate for every single one of those coveted cold emails.

Read on!

What is Email Open Rate?

Email open rate is a metric used to measure the effectiveness of an email campaign. It represents the percentage of recipients who open and view an email that you've sent.

Email open rate is typically expressed as a percentage and is calculated using the following formula:

Email Open Rate = (Number of Emails Opened / Number of Emails Delivered) x 100

In this formula:

  1. Number of Emails Opened: This refers to the total number of email recipients who open and view your email. Similar to email marketing, this is typically tracked using tracking pixels or other email tracking tools.
  2. Number of Emails Delivered: This is the total number of initial cold emails you sent as part of your outreach campaign.

Monitoring your cold email open rate is essential because it helps you evaluate whether your subject lines, sender name, and overall approach are capturing the attention of your target audience. A higher open rate indicates that your initial email is compelling and relevant to your prospects, while a lower open rate may signal the need for adjustments in your messaging or targeting.

In cold emailing, the primary goal is often to initiate a conversation or generate interest, so a strong open rate is a positive indicator that your emails achieve that initial engagement. However, it's just one piece of the puzzle, and you should also track other metrics, such as response rate and conversion rate, to measure the overall success of your cold email outreach campaign.

What is a Good Open Rate for Cold Email?

Achieving a 25% or higher open rate in your cold email outreach campaign is generally considered a respectable achievement. If your open rate surpasses 37%, you can confidently regard your campaign as exceptionally successful.

Monitoring your email open rates provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your cold email strategy and allows you to establish more tailored and achievable objectives for your future outreach efforts, taking into account industry-specific benchmarks. However, it's essential to remember that while open rates offer an important meter of initial engagement, they can sometimes be misleading.

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of your campaign's performance, it's advisable to focus on tangible metrics like the response rate for your cold emails. The response rate provides a clearer picture of how your recipients engage with your message and whether your campaign is effectively generating interest and prompting action. Ultimately, the response rate is a more reliable indicator of your outreach campaign's success in driving meaningful interactions and conversions.

What is the Average Cold Email Response Rate?

The reported average cold email response rate stands at approximately 8.5%. In practical terms, this means that out of every 100 cold emails you send, you can anticipate around 8 recipients to respond to your outreach.

Several factors may contribute to this response rate, including:

  1. Low Open Rate: Cold emails often contend with a modest average open rate of around 23.9%. If your email isn't getting opened, the chances of receiving a response diminish.
  2. Spray and Pray Outreach: A lack of personalization and relevance in your outreach efforts, sometimes referred to as "spray and pray," can deter recipients from responding.
  3. Ineffective Subject Lines: An uninspiring or unactionable subject line may fail to capture the prospect's attention and prompt them to engage with your email.
  4. Unprofessional Email Addresses: Using unclear or unprofessional email addresses (e.g., can make prospects perceive your message as spam or untrustworthy.
  5. Timing: The timing of your email delivery can significantly impact whether it gets noticed or buried in the prospect’s inbox.
  6. Inadequate Email Copy: If your email copy lacks persuasiveness or fails to convey your value proposition effectively, it may not inspire recipients to respond.
  7. Spam Filters: Emails mistakenly flagged as spam and relegated to the spam folder often go unnoticed.

Among these factors, one of the most pivotal is whether you are targeting the right audience. Regardless of how meticulous you are in crafting your cold emails, the quality and appropriateness of your email list can fundamentally influence your response rate. It's essential to ensure you reach out to prospects genuinely interested in your offering and fit your ideal customer profile.
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Factors That Help Improve Cold Email Open Rate

Sender’s Reputation

Your sender's reputation is pivotal for the success of your cold email outreach. It significantly influences your cold emails' deliverability, ultimately determining whether they land in your prospect' inboxes.

To strengthen your sender reputation, stick to best email practices, avoid spammy behavior, and maintain a clean and engaged list of recipients. This proactive approach significantly increases the likelihood of your cold emails reaching their intended destination and being noticed by your prospects.

A robust sender reputation is built on a foundation of trust and reliability. By consistently following email etiquette, respecting recipient preferences, and ensuring that your emails add value to your audience, you enhance your email deliverability and establish a positive and lasting impression that can lead to more successful cold email campaigns.

Clear Subject Line

Creating an engaging and relevant subject line is a pivotal aspect of your cold email strategy. It can captivate your prospect’s interest and resonate with their needs or pain points.

The subject line is often the initial point of contact, and its effectiveness can decide whether your email gets opened or dismissed. Personalization and clarity in your subject lines, in particular, can yield impressive results.

A well-crafted subject line previews your email's content, offering a peek of its value for the recipient. Personalizing the subject line with the recipient's name or specific details can make your cold email feel more tailored and less like a generic outreach attempt.

Also, clarity ensures that your message's purpose is easily understandable, reducing the likelihood of your email being disregarded or marked as spam. By perfecting your subject lines, you significantly enhance the chances of capturing your prospect's attention and encouraging them to engage with your email.

Timing and Frequency

Testing the timing of your cold email sends is a valuable strategy for improving your outreach success. Research has shown that different days of the week and times of day can deliver better results depending on your target audience's behavior and preferences. For instance, sending emails during typical weekday work hours may be more effective for B2B outreach, while sending during time-out hours could be better for reaching consumers.

However, it's essential to strike a balance. Avoid bombarding your prospects with too many emails in quick succession, as this can overwhelm them and mark your emails as spam.

Instead, establish a consistent and respectful sending cadence that aligns with your audience's expectations. This approach enhances your open rates and demonstrates professionalism and consideration, which can contribute to building positive relationships with your prospects.

Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Defining a clear, ideal customer profile (ICP) is crucial for successful cold email campaigns. Your ICP outlines the characteristics and attributes of your most valuable prospects. By tailoring your cold emails to resonate with this specific audience, you increase the likelihood of your emails being opened and engaged with. It's a strategic approach that boosts open rates and ensures that your outreach efforts are efficient and effective.

Also, a well-crafted ICP goes beyond open rates; it enables you to target the right prospects or companies, personalize your messaging, and ultimately improve your response rates. It forms the cornerstone of a successful cold email strategy, guiding you toward meaningful interactions and conversions with prospects who align with your offerings.

A/B Testing

Continuously refine your cold email strategy through A/B testing.

This method involves experimenting with various elements of your emails, including subject lines, email content, sender names, and email templates. Doing so gives you valuable insights into what captures your prospect's attention and drives engagement.

A/B testing reveals which variations perform best and empowers you to make data-driven decisions that can substantially improve your cold email campaigns. Over time, you can fine-tune your approach to align more closely with your audience's preferences, leading to higher open and response rates.

Additionally, A/B testing enables adaptability, allowing you to stay agile and responsive to evolving market dynamics and changing customer behaviors.


To sum it up, the email open rate is a metric that determines how many people actually opened the cold emails you sent.

It’s a barometer of how successful your campaigns are and can tell you what’s working when it comes to getting new leads and customers. A good open rate for cold email campaigns should be around 20%, but this could vary depending on certain factors, such as quality content or GDPR regulations.

Ultimately, the higher your open rate, the higher your response rate will be.

Fortunately, various techniques out there can help improve your success - like personalizing each email message and segmenting leads into different lists or by using automated email warm-up tools like Unfiltered.AI.
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