How To Get 13%-17% Cold Email Reply Rates

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Many people ask me:

“Mark, how is it that you are so damn good at cold emails?”

Just kidding…

They don’t exactly say that, but they do want me to spill the tea about increasing their cold email reply rates.

So, in this edition of More Meetings, More Sales, I’m spilling all the PG Tips.

A lot of people think that it must be the amazing copywriting, the irresistible CTA, the clever subject line or the guaranteed primary inbox deliverability set up.

Or they think it’s the witty AI generated personalised icebreaker that a busy exec will drop everything after reading, drive to your office with cupcakes and shake your hand.

But it isn’t.

It’s far less sexy than any of these.

The secret to 17% reply rates

It all comes down to list building and segmentation (to increase relevancy).

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Of course you need to have your deliverability sorted, you need to write engaging copy and test things like subject lines and CTA’s.

But you can skip the trashy AI icebreakers for now though. Please.

Ultimately, how you build your lists, segment them into smaller lists and then write relevant copy to this smaller segment is the true key to 17% reply rates.

I call each segment a “campaign”, like these three:

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btw, don’t track open rates these days

The smallest campaign had only 82 prospects, the largest had < 400 prospects.

And the lowest reply rate was 13.2%. – not bad at all.

Outbound prospecting is a numbers game, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be a volume game! – Me, I said this yesterday.

Still today, I see Agencies and SaaS companies sending the same generic message to 2,000 contacts.

Whilst you would agree with me that this never worked, some companies did get away with it when Predictable Revenue first hit the shelves (12 years ago).

But those succeeding in the primary inbox wars today are sending relevant messages to smaller segments.

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Ok, enough fluff, let’s get into the (PG) tips. Below are the types of questions that I ask myself to build out my segments.

There are two ways to approach this:

  1. Triggers/Signals
  2. Segmentation



These are things that happen at an individual and account level (usually) on a recurring basis. Some examples are:

  • Did this person start a new role recently?
  • Is this company currently hiring in their department?
  • Did these people all attend a conference/online event?
  • Did these people all engage with an influencer who’s message aligns with my product or service?
  • Did these company start using a particular technology?
  • Did these companies open a new office recently?



Segmentation is usually straightforward. I think about the problems my product/service can help solve and ask:

  • Can I group prospects by industry that I have an existing case study about?
  • Is there a company size (in terms of headcount) that resonate with Use Case XYZ?
  • Is there a vertical that have a huge issue with ABC right now?
  • Is there a particular role who is being tasked with coming up with a solution to problem A?
  • Do these companies believe in a certain marketing channel?
  • Are these companies spending over XX amount on paid advertising?
  • Does this company have over XXXX website visits per month?


The triggers that occur and the segmentation options that you choose are dependant on your service or product and the market you operate in.

But for every client I work with, there are at least 6-10 different triggers or segments they can use to reduce their list size.

But Mark, how do I write emails to these without AI icebreakers?

Great question.

It’s simple, use this framework for each initial email in your campaign

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And there you have it, how do you get 13-15% reply rates?

  1. Build smaller lists and organise these into campaigns around triggers and segmentation
  2. Send a relevant message to the 200 or 400 prospects in the segment
  3. Make sure you’re following up over the coming 2-3 weeks
  4. Sit back, relax and keep an eye on your inbox…it’s going to get busy.


On and up!


What I do?

I generate pipeline for agency owners that actually increases revenue, not just booked meetings. Within 60 days – because I help you close deals too