What Is Outbound Email Marketing - Strategies, Tips & Best Practices

ByJyothiikaa Moorthy


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Remember the last time you opened your inbox and found an unsolicited generic email from a stranger pitching you their product/services? We feel attacked seeing such irrelevant emails in our precious inbox.

But what if the subject line says your name, and when you open it, the email feels familiar even though a stranger has sent it?

That's what a good outbound email should feel like. So, to help you write such emails and master outbound email marketing, we've written this guide.

Table of contents

What is outbound email marketing?

Outbound email marketing is a form of advertising that involves sending promotional messages to individuals who have not specifically requested them. It allows companies to reach a wider audience and generate leads, but can also be seen as intrusive or spammy.

The goal of outbound email marketing is:

  • Initiating a business conversation with prospects

  • Building awareness

  • Establishing a connection with prospects

  • Acquiring new leads and customers

All the emails sent to people who have not opted in will come under outbound email marketing, for example, cold email, follow-up, re-engagement, and demo emails.

That said, spam is also an unsolicited email; the only thing that doesn't make outbound emails spam is who they are being sent to. Spam emails are typically sent to everyone and anyone. But outbound emails are sent to a targeted group of people who match your ICP.

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Inbound vs outbound email marketing

Before we get into how to do outbound email marketing, let's first look at how it differs from inbound email marketing.

Category Inbound Outbound
Definition Inbound email marketing is intended to nurture prospects who have shown interest in your offering and get them to convert into customers. Outbound email marketing is intended to contact potential customers who are unaware of the brand and product/services and introduce them to it.
Type People interested in the company and its offering sign up and permit them to send them emails. Brands scour the internet to find email ids of potential customers to add to their cold outreach email list.
Speed of reach There is a much slower reach because brands have to build the email list from scratch organically, which takes time. Brands can get a larger reach in a short period as they use tools to get the email ids of their potential customers.
Cost The cost is less because there are limited subscribers. Fewer contacts mean the ESP subscription cost will be lower. The cost will be higher because a bigger email list means the ESP subscription cost will also be high.

So, I think you get the gist. Some might benefit from inbound and some from outbound; it depends on your needs and priorities. If you want to try out inbound before trying outbound, check out the guide mentioned below👇🏼.

How to send an outbound email?

Let's look at what you must do to send outbound emails step by step.

• Collect email IDs

Since you are not collecting email ids directly from leads, you'll need to scour the internet to find the email ids. You can use softwares like Apollo and Dropcontact to find the email ids of potential customers.

You can also use tools like Clearout to ensure the email ids you collect from Apollo are valid to avoid any bounces when sending your emails.

• Choose an ESP

You need to find an ESP that will work for your outbound email marketing needs.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Do they have a high daily email sending limit?

  • How many contacts can you send to?

  • What is the price of the plan that allows the number of contacts you need?

  • What personalization features do they provide?

  • Can they help you segment your contacts?

Pick one that allows you to send a high volume of emails to a larger number of contacts.

Disclaimer: Mailmodo isn't the ESP for cold emailing.

• Set up a new domain

There are chances that your outbound email marketing efforts can get you blacklisted and marked as spam. When that happens, all emails sent using your domain will go straight to the spam folder. So, it's important to use a new domain for outbound, separate from the one you use to send important emails like transactional emails.

• Set up email authentication

You must set up email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to authenticate your identity and avoid getting marked as spam by mailbox providers.

  1. Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

SPF helps you control who can send emails using your domain, preventing spoofing.

  1. Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)

DKIM helps ensure the email's content is original and hasn’t been tampered with.

  1. Domain-based Message Authentication (DMARC)

DMARC helps you take action when SPF and DKIM fail.

Once you have set up these protocols, you will be able to verify your identity and thus move on to the next step.

• Warm up your domain

Now that you have a new domain and have verified your identity, it's time to warm up your domain. Warming up is sending a small number of emails daily and slowly building to the volume you need to send. It is necessary to warm up your domain because it shows service providers that you are not a spammer or robot.

• Write the outbound email

Now, it's time to create the cold email you want to send to your list. Usually, outbound emails are in plain text rather than HTML or AMP emails. But you can also send HTML or AMP depending on your brand and needs.

As for the content of the email, you should start by introducing yourself and the brand, followed by the objective of your email, and then end with a CTA telling them what to do. Here's what our in-house Sales team at Mailmodo recommends.

Use an interest-based CTA and make it easy for them to respond. For example, instead of writing something specific like 'Do you have time at 3 pm on Friday?' you can write something simple like 'Open to exploring this?'.

Don't get fancy with your CTAs. 9 times out of 10, they're not responding because of your CTA. It's the rest of the email that got them to respond.
- Sales team, Mailmodo

Ensure you don't sell to your readers in the first email; try to initiate a conversation and establish a relationship with them. To get promising results from your outbound email, personalize the copy for the people you send it to.

• Segment your contacts

Apart from personalization, another way to get better results from email marketing is through audience segmentation. The list of email ids you collected previously can contain emails from all over the world in various sectors. So it's essential to segment them based on demographics, geography, psychographics, or behavior to send relevant emails.

• Send the outbound email

You have done all the work necessary in the backend; now it's time to go ahead and send your email. You can either send it manually or schedule it to be sent to certain segments at the right time.

• Follow-up

It's always better to send a follow-up email as they could have missed the first email or forgotten about it. And follow-up emails can increase the number of replies you receive by 65.8%, according to a study by Backlinko.

Read our guide on follow-up emails to get some tips on how to write an engaging follow-up email.

• Analyze and modify your outbound strategy

Outbound email marketing is not a one-and-done process; you must constantly assess your analytics, figure out what is wrong and make changes to your strategy.

If your open rate is low for outbound emails, your emails could be landing in the spam folder or promotion tab. Or it could also be that your subject lines were not compelling enough to get them to open. And if you have a good open rate but poor conversions, your content might not be good enough.

Outbound email marketing tips and best practices

Before you start your outbound email campaign, here are some best practices you should follow to make the most of your efforts.

  • Don't purchase lists to send your outbound emails as they might contain invalid email ids, which may or may not be potential spam traps.

  • Avoid sending contacts in your email list frequent emails as you can end up annoying them into marking you as spam.

  • Use a premade cold email template that others have found successful. It'll help you save time finding what works well and get good engagement and conversion.

  • If you get a hard bounce, immediately remove the email id from your list. You can use tools like Neverbounce to do so.

  • Give the option to leave your list either with an unsubscribe option or a preference center.

  • Follow the rules of anti-spam laws like CAN-SPAM and GDPR to avoid any legal complications in the future.

  • If you end up using HTML or AMP emails, ensure they are accessible and responsive on all devices.

We observed better conversions when we personalized the first line of the email with either the first name of the recipient or the company name. We also got more meeting bookings when we included a Calendly link in our outbound emails.
- Asma, Product Marketer at Mailmodo

  • For sales outbound emails, you can do thorough research about the recipient and personalize the message for them to increase the chances of getting a response.

  • Automate your outbound marketing emails with tools like, which will help you save time and automatically nurture leads.

Outbound email marketing strategies

Here are a few strategies to make your outbound email more interesting and get better engagement or conversions.

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• Start with a compliment

People respond well to people who praise them and validate their efforts, so start your outbound email doing just that. Tell them what they have been doing well so far. Then talk about a problem they might be facing despite their great efforts.

Finish by telling them how your brand or product solves that problem and adding a CTA urging them to try it out. You don't need to go over the top; just add one line or two appreciating their efforts, as shown in the example below.

Starting with a compliment in the outbound email

• Hook them in with a question or fact

To get the best results from your outbound emails, first, you need to grab their attention, which you can do by asking a question or beginning with a stat or fact. Then you have to get them interested enough to read through to the end of the email.

You can do this by personalizing the copy for the readers and telling a story that might interest them. Finally, finish by prompting them to check out your blog, website, product, etc., to know more about the story. You can use this strategy for both sales and marketing purposes.

If you've found something to personalize but can't figure out how to tie it into your value prop, stop stressing. Just throw it in a P.S.

For example, if I catch myself trying to relate how the prospect was an SDR earlier and connecting it to an email marketing tool… I'll stop. And put it in the P.S. instead of looking like a clown.

My reply rates are noticeably higher on emails with a PS. My hypothesis? Because it "humanizes" my email.
- Sales team, Mailmodo

• Play 20 questions to know more about your cold leads

When you are reaching out to people who don't know much about you, there are chances that they might not like what you have to offer.

So instead of aggressively trying to pitch something, you can try to learn more about your audience first. Include Google Forms or interactive AMP forms in your emails to learn the basics about your audience.

What's their name, where are they from, what do they do for a living, what's their favorite color, etc. Whatever you want to know about them. With this info, you can send them emails more targeted to them.

• Use social proof

Social proof helps people trust your brand or product, which increases the chance of them converting and becoming customers. So include social proof in your cold email, like customer reviews, user-generated content, case studies, etc.

Outbound email marketing examples

Before we finish, let's look at some good outbound emails we've seen or received and analyze why they did well.

1. Job/internship request cold email

Job/internship request cold email

Source: LinkedIn

Here's a person applying for a marketing position by marketing himself with an outbound email. Pure genius.

  • The question in the subject line is so good that it is enough to hook people and get them to open and read through the entire email.

  • The email is personalized with the recipient's first name.

  • The CTA is creative as it's a CV in a YouTube video.

  • The copy is concise and tells you the purpose in the first part of the email, and the context is given later in the email.

2. Sales cold email

Sales cold email

Here's one of the cold emails sent by our sales team to a potential prospect.

  • The email is personalized with the first name of the recipient.

  • Clear and concise copy with adequate spacing making it easy to read and not overwhelming.

  • It mentions mutual contact, which could help provide social proof and gain the recipient's trust.

  • At the end of the email, a small snippet is personalized to the recipient as they are also SDRs like the sender.

  • Social proof in the email signature.

This personalization helped us connect with them and get a demo booking out of it.

Wrap up

Sometimes, even if you do everything right in your outbound email marketing efforts, your emails still land in spam. This could be because you unintentionally used a few spammy words in your email. Read our guide on spam words to get a list of spammy words to avoid.

We want to hear from experienced email marketers what spam words they avoid to eliminate the risk of your emails landing in the junk. Comment below your most ridiculous spam trigger words, and we'll publish the best ones on our social profiles!

What you should do next

Hey there, thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:

  1. Talk to an email expert. Need someone to take your email marketing to the next level? Mailmodo’s experts are here for you. Schedule a 30-minute email consultation. Don’t worry; it’s on the house. Book a meet here.

  2. Send emails that bring higher conversions. Mailmodo is an ESP that helps you to create and send app-like interactive emails with forms, carts, calendars, games, and other widgets for higher conversions. Get started for free.

  3. Get smarter with our email resources. Explore all our knowledge here and learn about email marketing, strategies, best practices, growth hacks, case studies, templates, and more. Access guides here.

What should you do next?

Thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:


Get smarter with our email resources

Explore our email marketing guides, ebooks and other resources to master email marketing.


Do better email marketing with Mailmodo

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Talk to an email expert

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