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Not getting replies? Here’s what you should do

13 min read
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After spending considerable time on your outreach, if you’re not getting good responses, take a moment and rethink your approach.

Cold emailing takes time, you can always take advantage of the existing data from your outreach to improve. To figure out why your reply rate is low, let’s look at the data.

We analyzed over 5M+ cold emails sent through Saleshandy and found that the average response rate hovers between 5-10%. In some cases, sequences received response rates as high as 15%.

Now, it’s time to look at your own cold email campaigns. Do you receive less than 2-5% of responses?

If so, it’s time to find the reasons to and make your outreach strategy better.

In this blog, we’ll cover the most common reasons why your outreach isn’t getting results. And the best part is, we’ll show you how to fix it. 

Let’s get started.

Reason 1: You may not be targeting the right audience  

It is possible that you are doing everything right. You may have compelling subject lines and clear calls to action in your emails but get few responses.

Then what can be the reasons for a low reply rate? 

Prospects may not be interested

It is most likely that you will receive a low reply rate because the people you are cold-emailing are uninterested. It’s not relevant to what they’re looking for.

Even if your email is relevant to them, it may not be the right time.

Here’s what you should do. 

Fix: Create a “buyer persona” for your ideal customer

Take a moment to review and think about what in your offering is game-changing.

Find out which companies – based on size, industry, and job role – are most interested in what you have to offer.

You can start by creating a buyer persona for your outreach.

What is a buyer persona?

In simple terms, a buyer persona represents your ideal customer. You need to understand the challenges your target audience faces and then identify the right solutions.

With a buyer persona, you can quickly sell to your audience. All you have to do is map their pain points to your solutions. As a result, they are more likely to initiate a conversation with you. Let them know how much you care for them.

We’ve created a buyer persona template to help you get started (make a copy to download). Additionally, we recommend you read our Ultimate Guide to Creating Your ICP before you start.

Targeted companies aren’t a good fit

Suppose you already have a targeted persona to whom you want to sell your services. The simple reason you might not see results is that you’re selling the same way to everyone or not a good fit. 

The needs and budgets of every company in the market will differ.

For instance, a small startup may have a limited budget and prioritize low-cost solutions. On the other hand, larger enterprises may have a larger budget and be willing to pay more for a solution with more features.

You cannot target both companies with the same message and solution and expect the same response.

Fix: Group your target market

While crafting your buyer persona, you will find various differences. At the end of the day, not every company which is your target can pay you the same amount. Although they have similar needs, their budgets to buy solutions differ.

Select personas or companies in order of their ability to pay and the effort required to reach them.

  • High-value contracts (HVC): These are the companies that will pay you the most. Their ticket size is the highest. They should therefore be your top priority.
  • Mid-value-contacts (MVC): These companies spend a moderate amount of money to solve their problems.
  • Low-value contracts (LVC): Low-paying contracts should be given the least priority when outreaching out and keeping messaging relevant.

Dividing your target audience into segments helps you calculate your efforts to chase them. For example, if you wanted to reach HCVs and get a response, you’d have to put in the most effort.

When prospects aren’t ready

Cold emailing success requires a buyer persona, but that’s only half the story. It is also important to send your outreach at the right time. 

You are less likely to get a response from your potential customers if you send them an email when they are too busy. Or it is possible they don’t need the solution right away due to multiple factors – urgency, budget, priority, etc.

You should consider when they might be in a position to hear your message. Before you contact someone, you can research these indicators of intent.

  • When a company is hiring: This refers to the process of a company seeking to bring in new employees to join its workforce. This can be a very good time to reach out to decision-makers. 
  • When someone changes role: By offering them opportunities that relate to their goals, when someone changes roles in the same or a different company, they may be receptive to receiving them.
  • The company raises a fund: When a company raises a fund, it’s the right time to invest in hiring, technology, or growth. Make relevant offers to them.
  • The company raises a budget: A budget increase is a direct indication that the company is willing to spend more to achieve its goals. Nudge decision-makers with a related cold email.

You must nurture your targets’ intent. Even if the prospects are not ready for your solution, keep them in a separate sequence, and never hesitate to follow them up. 

Reason 2: Cold emails may not be framed correctly 

What if you find a cold email in your inbox one random morning, greeting you with just a “Hi” without your name?

The cold email feels like a stranger.

There’s a high chance, the email would be marked as spam. 

Here are the main reason why prospects don’t reply due to lack of personalization.

Prospects may find your emails generic

Let’s take a look at two different messages sent by Saleshandy to support this claim. One sequence has a plain email body, generic, and no tags at all.

The other one is a mix of personalized tags, with a deep level of personalization.

Based on our testing, impersonalized had a reply rate of 0% and an open rate of about 47%.

Similarly, the winning sequence had a 67% open rate and a 2.5% average response rate.

Therefore, we can fix your low reply rate problem.

Fix: Use advanced merge & spintax tags

It is valid for any user not to reply if they feel it is too generic. Saleshandy’s personalized tags make it easy to create unique messages for each prospect.

There are two tags – merge tags and spintax.

You must use both tags in the right combination to create unique messages for every prospect on your list.

Check out this detailed article on how to use spintax.

Prospects may leave reading the first line

Let’s say the cold email passes the greetings test, including your {{First Name}}. Unfortunately, it will be in spam if the following first line is as generic as listening to a stranger. 

No one can relate to this cold email. It might give a feeling that you may be just one of the thousands who receive this email every other morning!

How to address this problem?

Fix: Create icebreakers

Icebreakers can make it unique! Icebreakers are the one-liner introductions in your cold email that can make you stand out from the crowd. 

To help you get read by your recipient, we have laid down some easy ways to create ice-breakers using ChatGPT. Use the following prompt to generate a unique icebreaker for your prospects.

Write a personalized first intro line for a cold email based on

Prospect info-

{{Company Name}}
{{Type}}
{{Position}}
{{Bio}}

  • Give your CSV a unique column name, like “Icebreaker”.
  • Place the icebreaker content beside every prospect’s detail in the relevant column
  • When uploading your CSV, make sure “Icebreaker” is added as a custom field.

Let’s see some real examples:

We created ice-breakers on different levels. The first one you can see it on the company level,

We found many targets have cold emailing as their priority channel to acquire leads. Therefore, we used to break the ice by addressing their actual wants.

The second one you can see it on a personal level. While prospecting for ideas, you should check for recent company updates and news. The illustration below shows several C-suite people in the companies discussing their expectations for the upcoming period. It was an excellent opportunity to cold-email them!

Reason 3: Your offer may be insufficient or less lucrative 

Always remember that your cold emails are like real-life conversations. If you’re talking too much about yourself, the other person will find an excuse to get rid of your self-promotion.

The same applies when you only talk about your services or product. As a result, it will not invoke any call to action, resulting in poor response rates.

If you’re getting a low reply rate because of your offer, these can be the reasons:

When prospects don’t find value

Most sequences we observed that received less than a 2% reply rate offered only products and services. The pain points of the prospects were not addressed.

Here’s an example of a self-promoting cold email with no value.

As you can see, the cold email only talks about selling its product or service from the beginning. Is there no value for the prospect? Does it solve any problem? 

If one does not know what he will gain from spending, why would anyone be interested?

Fix: Create prospect-focused messaging

You’ve to understand that better selling needs better client relationships. And a business relationship always starts with a “give-and-take” – let them know how they’re doing and their real pain points.

Have a look at this email we send to our potential clients.

  • Taking the time to show your appreciation for their business will catch their attention. 
  • Knowing their problems and pain points relates them to high engagement. 
  • This CTA clearly intends not to sell, but to help them get quick value.

When prospects want to know more 

You should always try to know what your prospects are interested in. Pushing the solutions would get your prospects away from your cold emails. 

There are times when we actually push solutions instead of addressing the real pain points. Give them time to realize the value and let them know more about your offer.

Along the same lines, asking for a meeting in the first interaction might not get a reply in the first place.

Fix: Create a CTA that has value to get a response

As we have already discussed above, cold emails are like real-life conversations. So when you’ve built up a warm interaction through your intro and their pain points, ask them if they want to solve their problem. Or are they willing to make the next move in the form of the call-to-action you place? 

Here’s a cold email that got us a 75% open rate and a 14% reply rate.

  • We first tried to explore the prospect’s interest, not pushing for the solution.
  • The ending doesn’t ask for booking a meeting. Instead, it focuses on getting a reply to take the conversation further.

Reason 4: The email deliverability setup might be incorrect/incomplete.

Outbound marketing methods have changed drastically over the years. It is essential to follow the best cold emailing practices if you want to break through to new markets and penetrate them. 

The below reasons may be responsible for a low reply rate. 

Prospects are not touched multiple times

We all expect quick results after sending the outreach. But, we often lose more than we gain in haste. We have found many of the sequences don’t follow up enough.

If you leave prospects half-baked and mark them as lost opportunities after your first or second cold email, you won’t succeed.

For your reply rates to rise, you have to consistently follow up and nurture their intent.

Fix: Create at least 4 follow-ups

After analyzing a thousand sequences, we found that users received the highest reply rate after the fourth follow-up.

The first follow-up should be made three days after your first cold email, and the second should be made a week later. Prospects respond based on many factors. They might be busy or didn’t catch your offer. Perhaps they’re waiting for you to remind them (nudge them positively!) 

Remember, the opportunities remain in the follow-ups. Just keep in mind to increase the interval as you reach for the third and fourth follow-ups.

Cold emails landing in the spam

Cold emailing is the game of deliverability. All your efforts may sink like a ship if you land in spam. 

Spam filters may trap your high-personalized emails. So your recipients would never know you exist!

Fix: Do a deliverability audit

You will get no responses without deliverability. Follow this checklist to rectify and fix your deliverability rates.

  • Do an Email Reputation audit to check. Neither your domain name nor server IP should be blocklisted.
  • Check Saleshandy’s health score and verify if you’ve authenticated your domain records. 
  • Make sure you’ve got a clean email list to reduce bounce rates.
  • You’re not sending more than 40-50 emails per email account daily.

For a complete assessment of your deliverability and steps to improve it, see this article.

Let’s recap what we discussed

You can benefit from this blog to fix your outreach day-by-day, week-by-week. You’ll definitely start receiving replies from 1% in the upcoming weeks. It’s all about consistency.

Here’s a simple flow of what’s discussed above:

  • Target the correct audience 
  • It is recommended to keep your emails and intros personalized. Use unique ice-breakers in every cold email
  • Frame your cold emails to give value to the prospect in the introduction. Talk about customers covering their pain points
  • Create a CTA that shows your prospect’s interest  
  • Create multiple follow-ups (Remind them you exist) 
  • Ensure your landing in the inbox with high deliverability (Don’t let your ship sink)

Getting a reply is a sign that you’ve made a successful relationship with your prospect. This indeed converts into handsome booking and sales numbers.

Take this blog as a checklist. If you don’t receive responses following this, you can connect with our experts for a detailed discussion. We’d love to hear from you.

Happy sending!

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