Published on
January 20, 2021

Email outreach is one of the greatest ways to raise brand awareness and generate new sales leads for your business.

While cold calling still has its place in a sales team’s arsenal - email campaigns are the way to go for companies needing a direct and scalable method of sales outreach.

Yet, that’s not to say that the spray-and-pray approach to email outreach will pay off any better than cold calling switchboards will. 

One recent study by Woodpecker found that emails without advanced personalization resulted in a 7% response rate, whereas highly-personalized emails resulted in a 17% response rate (on average). 

Quite the difference, don’t you think?

Despite all of this, nothing matters more than ensuring your emails actually get delivered to your prospects. Because if they don’t, your average response rate will be right around 0%.

In this article, we dive into some of the most important factors to consider before beginning your email outreach campaigns.

What’s Your Domain’s Reputation and Why Does it Matter?

Your domain’s reputation plays a vital role in your email deliverability.

Email service providers (ESPs) - for example, Gmail or Outlook - essentially score your domain based on how your email messages end up performing in the inboxes of your recipients.

In addition to the content - or hygiene - of your emails, your email’s authentication status, as well as any assets attached to your emails (which use your domain name), are also scanned by the ESP that determines your domain’s credibility.

The better your domain reputation appears in the ‘eyes’ of a respective ESP, the more likely your emails will stay out of the spam folder.

If your emails are detected - or are flagged by the recipient - as spam, then the credibility of your domain will be hindered, which could severely damage the success of your future emails to that ESP.

And be mindful that if you have configured or purchased a new domain or subdomain, any emails sent within the first 14 days are likely to be marked as suspicious.

Quick Tip: You can check your domain status here to make sure it hasn’t been blacklisted anywhere.

The case for setting up a new domain

If the idea of using your main domain for your cold email outreach is causing you sleepless nights, then you could consider setting up a separate domain to avoid the risk of damaging it.

This could be a slight variation on your original domain name, and which you can redirect to your main domain. 

For example, if your company’s domain is productly.io, then some alternatives could be:

  • tryproductly.io
  • getproductly.io
  • productlysolution.io
  • productlytech.io
  • productlycompany.io


You get the picture. Basically, a domain name that is closely related to your main domain.

Avoid Your Domain Becoming Blacklisted

Whether you decide to use your main domain for your email outreach, or to set up a new one - remember that, if your domain does become blacklisted, it’s not only your prospects who will stop receiving your emails directly into their inbox. 

All of your emails could begin showing up in spam folders, regardless of the recipient, including:

  • Your proposals to prospects
  • Your communication with existing customers
  • Your requests to suppliers and service providers


Thus, here are 5 ways to keep your domain off blacklists. 

1. Make sure you warm up your domain

Set up your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC if you haven’t already done so. These measures authenticate your email server and verify to mail servers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that your emails have been sent by authorized users of the domain.

Opinions range from 4-12 weeks when it comes to the optimum warm-up period before starting outreach from a fresh domain/subdomain. If it’s brand new, wait at least one week then begin with one email address to manually send, receive and reply to a few emails per day. 

Monitor your reputation and consistently increase the number of emails sent. You can add another email address after about one month.

2. ...And warm up your email address

Even from an established domain, it is good practice to warm up a new email address before commencing with sales outreach campaigns.

Again, send, receive, and reply to around 5-10 emails a day for about a week before beginning small-scale outreach campaigns (and while continuing to warm up your email). Signing up for a few newsletters can also help.

3. Work with good data

A red flag for email service providers is a high bounce rate (i.e. anything higher than around 5%).

Therefore, make sure your contact list is high quality, updated regularly and email addresses are verified. There are plenty of paid and free methods of verification out there.

4. Avoid prompting ‘spam complaints’ from recipients 

Every spam complaint from a recipient is a black mark against your domain (and IP address, for that matter).

Ensure your email content and subject lines appear genuine to avoid the perception that your outreach is spam. Try not to use trigger words like ‘free’, ‘limited offer’ or ‘winner’.

5. Be consistent with your outbound emailing

Incrementally increase the number of outbound emails over time. A dramatic increase in volume can look suspicious and is a red flag to email service providers.

Ready to Reach New Prospects?

If you need a new pair of hands to help with your outbound lead generation, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with the Discoveroo team here and let us know how we can help.

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Joe the author

By Joe Ogden, founder at Discoveroo. Joe has worked in enterprise sales for Autodesk, Snow Software, and in business development on behalf of Dell Boomi.

You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.