The ultimate cold email checklist

All the things you need to know before you start sending your first cold email.

At, we know quite a bit about cold emails and not only did we learn a shit lot about it, we designed our tool to help you ensure maximum deliverability!

1. Never use your own domain

You are going do things wrong and the risk is too big to screw up your professional domain.

You could use G Suite with a new domain.

When getting a new domain, you could be put into a spamlist (fresh) automatically. It’s only to mention higher risk of spam and it last about 1 month before being automatically delisted. You can use less known extensions than .com to avoid that as not all extensions are monitored.

2 Never use a free email account

Free gmail account ( are blocked quickly when a mistake is made, with no possibilities to re-open them.

With professional accounts like G Suite, you have access to business support in case your account is blocked.

3 Calculate your email within G Suite limits

Sending follow-ups will increase your volume quickly, so do plan that in advance.

By default, all G Suite accounts are limited to 500 emails per day until you reach $30 in billing.

Pre-pay $30 to unlock 2,000/day to avoid bounces from gmail when your volume will increase with follow-up.

4. Make sure SPF and DKIM are set for your domain

You’ll go stright to the junk folder if you don’t.
SPF with G Suite
DKIM with G Suite

5. Check your deliverability

Use services like to determine your deliverability score. Then look how it could be improved by addressing all their recommendations.

6. Make sure emails do exist prior to sending

It’s of utter importance to make sure the email addresses you have won’t bounce. Google and other mail provider will block your account quickly. Bounce = spammer. So make sure you have the right emails.

Never buy lists, and make sure you always use services like BriteVerify or Kickbox to clear your list first.

7. Avoid similar content

Similar content gets flagged as spam. Use custom attributes to make sure each email is unique as well as a few email variations (like A/B testing, not for testing but to ensure enough variations in what you send).

8. Delay message sending

By default spaces emails by 30 seconds (you can increase this number). The higher the number, the less chances of being flagged as spam.

9. Don’t add images on first email

Don’t add images in your first touch email if you can. Usually the text on the first email is short. Adding an image has a bad text-to-image ratio and spam filters don’t like that.

Tracking pixels (to determine open rate) are images. So to increase delivrability, you would need to disable tracking of open rate.

When follow-ups will kick in, there will be enough text so the ratio is not completely off, so you limit disable open tracking to just the first touch email. So you can still have an idea of your open rate with your follow-ups emails.

10. No more than 1 link per email. Don’t mask links

If you track links, make sure those are not coming from a shortening service (e.g Those are likely to be listed in spam lists already. Spammers uses that as obfuscation techniques.

Use description instead of URL. E.g. if your link is, use “My Domain”, don’t put in the text “” as the tracking link will point to another address and some service will think it’s a phishing attack. Either write the url without making a clickable link or disable click tracking.

11. Don’t contact more than 50 people/day

If you do it right, you’ll be having around 20% reply rate.

No need to use the max limit of gmail:

– It’s hard to find 2k valid emails that won’t bounce each day

– You don’t have the bandwidth to seriously engage with 400 replies anyway

Don’t go for quantity, you’ll be punished in many ways. Try to nail it down with a low volume first.

12. Avoid unusual burst of emails

It’s way better to send each day 50 emails, than sending 250 emails one day a week.

Spam filters pay attention to things out of the ordinary. So to fly under the radar, have a continuous amount of emails sent daily rather than a one time event that will be caught.

13. Only send to individuals

Send to individual addresses, not groups such as marketing@, info@, sales@ … if you do, you’ll run more chances of getting flagged as spammer.

14. Don’t sell on first email

The goal of cold emails is to engage in a conversation, not to get a sale on the first email. You can sell once you got a relationship, not before.

People trying to sell get flagged as spammer super fast and future emails will end up in junk folders.

15. Don’t repeat yourself in a follow-up

Include previous email for context instead and/or provide a different call to action. But always add value with each follow-up

16. Type as if it was text only

It’s not a beauty context. Write as if you only wrote text. Not color, no bullet points, not bold, no custom fonts…

17. Use business emails, not personal emails

Avoid, and other free type of emails as they are more likely to be personal emails and not Business type. Those leads to greater spam complains. E.g. launching a Kick Starter campaign with cold emails should be avoided.


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