Cold Email Open Rate (ULTIMATE GUIDE 2023)

Cold Email Open Rate (ULTIMATE GUIDE 2023)

Table of contents

Cold Email Open Rate | Breakcold

What is the open rate?

The open rate is a metric to know how many of your emails have been opened out of how many you sent.

The open rate is useful because it gives you some data on the performance of your cold email campaign. It's also a good indicator of your email deliverability.

Cold Email Open Rate Meme | Breakcold
A little cold email open rate meme

What is a good cold email open rate?

A good open rate for cold emailing is anywhere above 60%. Generally, top cold emailers easily achieve 70% up to 88% like it's the case with Breakcold.

People with this kind of open rate usually have an excellent email deliverability and a top notch email copywriting.

Good cold email open rate | Breakcold
A good cold email open rate starting point

What is an average cold email open rate?

An average open rate is between 40% to 60%. Although it doesn't seems high, it's still way better than the average open rate in email marketing which is between 15% and 25% according to Mailchimp.

People with an average open rate usually have good email deliverability but lack of copywriting skills.

Cold Email Open Rate Average Rate | Breakcold
Example of average open rate

What is a bad cold email open rate?

A bad open rate for cold emailing is below 40%. What's the point of cold emailing if you end up with open rates similar to email marketing, none.

From our users at Breakcold, we noticed that people with bad open rates have a terrible email deliverability, they go to the spam folder a lot. They also don't know their ICP and have a bad sales pitch.

Bad Cold Email Open Rate | Breakcold
Example of bad open rates

How to increase your cold email open rate?

There are basically 4 points to work on if you want to increase your cold email open rate.

1. Iterate on your cold email subject line

Personally, I don't believe that the subject line makes that a difference on open rate. I'm more a believer on preview text as we'll see just after.

Nevertheless, if you have a poor subject line it can costs you a lot (like minus 20% in open rate).

Cold Email Open Rate Work on the subject line | Breakcold
This cold email subject line is judge by an AI email tool

Here are a few subject line tips:

  • use the name of your prospect; or
  • use the company name of your prospect
  • keep your subject line to 4/5 words maximum
  • use a unique subject line for each prospect that contains something they mentioned on social media

2. Optimize your email preview text

When you receive emails on desktop or mobile phone, there's always a preview of the email.

The preview of the email is composed of:

  • the subject line; and what is called
  • the preview text

The preview text is the first few sentences of your email. It's basically your intro lines, also known as email opening lines.

Cold email open rate preview line to increase | Breakcold
The preview test is highlighted in red

If these lines are generic or not intriguing enough, prospects will not even bother to open your email.

Therefore, the preview text is more important than the subject line as people will se quickly if your email is not tailored to them with rise of automation tools

3. Deactivate open rate tracking

Tracking the open rate is known to reduce your email deliverability (more chances to go to the spam folder). That way, it will technically reduce your open rate.

Only deactivate your open rate tracking once you are familiar with cold emailing and that all of your campaigns perform at around 60% open rate minimum.

Cold Email Open Rate Disable Tracking Open Rate | Breakcold
This how you deactivate open rate tracking in Breakcold

4. Use an email warm up tool

Email warm up tools allow you to stay out of the spam folder. If you don't go to the spam folder, your emails will have a chance of being opened.

How to increase cold email open rate with email warm up | Breakcold
Example of an email warm up tool dashboard

What can decrease your open rate?

Custom domain tracking or basic open rate tracking can decrease your open rate. Indeed, to track the open rate, cold email softwares need to use an invisible pixel in the code of your email.

Cold email open rate decrease with custom domain tracking | Breakcold
E_xample of custom domain tracking in Breakcold_

This pixel by nature, reduce your deliverability a tiny bit like any type of HTML structure such as links and images.

Cold email open rate vs inbox placement: which one is the most important?

A difference should be made between the open rate and the Inbox Placement Rate (IPR).

The IPR is a percentage that determines how many emails actually reached the primary inbox instead of going to the spam folder.

Cold Email Open IPR Rate | Breakcold
IPR wins over cold email open rate

Cold email open rates usually don't have any breakdowns including inbox placement rate compare to email marketing softwares. The IPR is definitely a more realistic metric to measure your real open rate.

Indeed, maybe your cold emails went to the spam folder for deliverability issues but would have been opened if they reach the primary inbox.

Social Selling Software | Breakcold

Cold email open rate vs cold email reply rate: which one is the most important?

Cold email open rates could be considered as a vanity metric as they're not a 100% reliable. On the opposite, cold email reply rates are 100% accurate.

You can have a cold email campaign with a 90% open rate but 0% reply rate, meaning your offer sucks or your targeted the wrong people. The reply rate tells you more about your performances.

Cold Email Open Good Open Rate | Breakcold
Reply rate wins versus open rate

Is the cold email open rate a reliable metric?

As mention above, the cold email open rate is not a reliable metric and for a few reasons:

  • some cold email softwares have not adjusted their softwares since some Google and Outlook updates that fake an open of emails when they preload them.
  • you don't know which emails actually landed in the spam folder

Reviewing Cold Email Sequences | Breakcold

Some softwares are also known to inflate their open rates to look good but people now have started to realize it so those softwares adjusted since early 2022.

My method to always secure a good cold email open rate

When I'm sending cold emails, I always have at least 60% in open rate, I'm averaging +70%. I have a simple process to achieve this kind of results.

1. I use an email warm up tool

I warm up all my sending email domains using Breakcold. It guarantees me to always land in the primary inbox to achieve at least 40% to 60% open rate.

Email Warm Up | Breakcold
Example of Breakcold email warm up tool

2. I deactivate the tracking of my open rate

Breakcold allows me to deactivate the tracking of my open rate. As I'm quite familiar with the cold emailing process, I always deactivate open rate tracking and focus on metrics that really matters like reply rate.

3. I hyper-personalize emails manually (Option 1)

I use Breakcold social selling feed to get inspired from my prospects new activities in order to hyper-personalize my email opening lines as well as my subject lines.

That way, I secure an amazing preview text that jump my open rate to +70%.

Cold email open rate company news | Breakcold
I use a social selling software to personalize faster my cold emails

4. I segment well my prospects and use a semi-personalized first line (Option 2)

When I don't have time to personalize each opening line, I segment my prospects by location or industry and craft an intro line that is generic but personalized to the group I want to reach out to.

5. I use AI first lines to break the ice with my prospects (Option 3)

If i'm really lazy and need to send a cold email campaign to a large volume of prospects, then I will use AI first lines to boost my open rate.

1/ I import a CSV inside Breakcold

2/ I generate in bulk the first lines using AI

Generating Opening Lines | Breakcold
AI first lines boost open rate up to 30%

3/ I pick my favorite lines out of the 4 generated, it takes me 1 hour per 200 prospects.

Picking the best cold email first line | Breakcold
By default, the first lines is the best performing

4/ I insert the lines in my cold email sequence using the variable Icebreaker.

Cold Email Open Rate Opening Lines Icebreakers | Breakcold
This an example of Breakcold editor

Conclusion on Cold Email Open Rate

Open rates are exciting metrics in cold emailing. However, when you have more experience you realize that they're not that important and that you'd rather focus on key metrics such as reply rates.

Try Breakcold!

Ready to boost your Cold Email Open Rate?