The Ultimate Guide to Cold Email Deliverability
Hey there Lead Engineer!
Are you scratching your head trying to figure out how to send more emails in a day without going to spam?
The most obvious answer is to load up on domains - but this can get out of hand quickly as you start to ramp up and buy dozens of domains and constantly try to monitor which ones are going to spam and which ones are still generating leads.
It's a huge pain - if you don't believe me try for yourself!
But it turns out if we use the right tools and spend a little time learning about email deliverability, we can send thousands of emails per week from one domain without having to worry about going to spam.
First things first - if people hate your email it really doesn't matter how you send it. You can use the highest powered email deliverability server in the world to send a crappy email to the wrong people and they'll report it and you'll wind up right back in the spam folder where you started. So if you are getting more angry replies than warm replies, it's time to stop and ask yourself:
Are the people complaining my target customer? If not, you need to fix your targeting - Lead Engines' targeting is powerful enough that you shouldn't be getting many complaints about a wayward email bothering an unintended recipient. You might need to check out my targeting guide if you're still having issues.
If targeting isn't the issue, then you probably have bad copy. It's okay, I write tons of bad copy - the trick is to identify bad copy and stop sending it and instead replace it with the copy that is working.
It you don't have any copy that is working, then (no offense) you probably aren't familiar with the niche art of writing a high converting cold email. That's of course no fault of your own because it's not like they teach this in school (maybe they should - it's THAT useful) but there's usually a few mistakes people make when sending cold email.
Mistake #1) "The Me-Mail." This one's pretty self explanatory. Is your cold email about you or your customer? Do you think your customer cares about you, a stranger who sent them a bad cold email, or themselves? If I had to guess, I'd pick the latter.
Mistake #2) "The Feature Dump." Imagine you're drinking your morning coffee and reading your favorite news site or checking out what your friends are up to on social. You get an email and you open it and its just a 4 paragraph list of features for a product you've never once heard of. Do you care? Honestly, you might, especially if you had been thinking about how badly you needed something with those features, but honestly you probably don't care.
Mistake #3) "The Marathon." Nobody has time to read a 5 paragraph email from a stranger. Nobody.
Mistake #4) "The Hard Sell." Please don't tell me how much your product costs or that I can get a discount if I sign up within 24 hours. Nobody is interested in the price when they haven't explored the product.
Does any of that sound like your email? Great! Now that you've found the problem you can fix it!
Instead, focus your email on these things to drastically improve conversion rates and reduce the number of complaints you get.
Priority #1) Convince your reader you know who they are.
A lot of people go about this with hyperpersonalization and it flops. For example, I get emails like "Hi Ryan, I saw on facebook you like mint ice cream and the San Diego Chargers. Me too! Will you please buy my SEO services?" I'm not going to buy your service just because we went to the same school or had a similar experience. Even if I talk to you just because we went to the same school doesn't mean I want to buy your product - maybe I just want to complain about the cafeteria food or general ed requirements with someone who knows my pain.
However, you can "personalize" your message based on business needs (businessalize?) and get a great response. If you told me "Hey Ryan, other Tech founders of SaaS companies have told me that making beautiful logos just isn't in their skillset - but they also know their users judge them by it at first glance!" I would think "hey this person knows a little bit about my professional background, a common problem people like me have, and how it impacts my business." And if I got on the phone with you it would be because I resonated with the issues you mentioned and wanted you to help me solve them.
Which lead would you rather have? The disgruntled diner from the college cafeteria that wants to commiserate about pizza Tuesdays or the SaaS founder that thinks you can solve his problem?
Business-relevant personalization at scale is called "Segmentation" - and when you're doing cold email at scale segmentation is king.
Now that you have a killer cold email, you're ready to send it to thousands of people. Even if you have the best cold email in the world Gsuite is still going to block you after a couple hundred emails in a day - so we need a better tool that's going to let us scale up a bit
That's where MailGun comes in. MailGun is a powerful high-deliverability email service that's great at making sure your emails don't go to spam. Without getting too into the weeds about how it works, MailGun uses their high-trust/high-reputation servers and IP addresses to send emails from your domain so you can hit the inbox at scale.
Mailgun is only useful for sending email - not receiving email - so you'll want to receive emails with Gsuite and send them with Mailgun. This sounds a bit complicated but it's actually pretty easy.
When you set up a domain - usually through Godaddy or Google Domains or Namecheap - you control things like emails and redirects by editing your DNS records. When you set up your Gsuite account you probably had to add some MX records and maybe some TXT records to your DNS so that Gsuite knows you own the domains and so you can receive email/redirect users to a wesite.
There's a few types of DNS records for sending and receiving email.
The first is MX records - MX records are the only DNS records that are involved in receiving emails. If I send an email to lead-engines.com, the MX records on lead-engines.com's DNS servers tell my email service provider where to send the email. MX records have absolutely nothing to do with sending mail from your own domain - only receiving it. They tell people who are sending you email where to send it.
The second is TXT records, of which there are a few types (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC). Without going too into the weeds, SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records help you prove that the email actually came from your domain. They have absolutely nothing to do with receiving email at your domain. They only serve to prove that emails are actually from you.
That means if you want to receive email with Gsuite and send email with MailGun, you'll need to set up Gsuite's MX records and Mailgun's TXT records. If you'd like to be able to forward/respond to warm leads that reply to your email with Gsuite you can set up TXT (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC) records that allow you to send email from both mailgun and Gsuite while receiving all of your email with Gsuite.
So - lets dive into it.
The first thing you're going to want to do is make sure you have a Gsuite account. If you have one already, you can add your new domain to your existing Gsuite account to keep things all in one place. If you don't have already, their setup wizard is really good and it'll walk you through setting up and email address.
For the purpose of this guide, you'll want to make sure you set up your TXT verification record as well as your MX records for Gsuite.
Next, you'll want to head over to mailgun. If you don't have an account, make a new one. If you do, I recommend keeping your domains on one account just like Gsuite. Follow the instructions on mailgun to configure your SPF and DKIM records.
After you successfully authenticate your account with mailgun, you'll want to replace the SPF record they recommend with this one. If you're wondering what this does, it basically changes the SPF record from "You can send email with mailgun" to "You can send email with mailgun and Gsuite."
Finally, you're going to want to connect this email to your cold outreach platform. Do not use the Gsuite one click setup because that will cause your emails to go out via gsuite (And you'll get spam listed) - you'll want to set it up using custom SMTP/IMAP settings.
SMTP is for sending email so you'll want to use the SMTP settings for mailgun. IMAP is for receiving email so you'll want to use the IMAP settings for Gsuite. It's important to note that Gsuite probably wants you to create whats called an "App password" (so you don't have your real password saved on lemlist) which you can only create after enabling Two Factor Authentication.
These are the SMTP and IMAP settings that I use to send email with Mailgun and receive it with Gsuite.
And that's it!
Now you can send 1,000 emails per day per account without having to worry about spam filters or getting blocked! Good luck out there!