The Definitive Guide to Outbound Email

Today email is the primary way professionals communicate. And as the business world gets more and more digital, outbound email is playing an increasingly critical role in B2B sales and the ability for companies to connect with prospects.

Statistics show that right now, nearly 90% of companies are using email as a primary lead generation tactic and 93% are using it to distribute content.

In other words: if outbound email isn’t a central part of your strategy, you might be getting left behind. In this article, we’ll cover why outbound email is so important, it’s core principles, and templates you can use to get started on your own outbound efforts.

Quick Takeaways

  • Email is the most-used and most-preferred method of communication across all user demographics.
  • Cold emails are initial outbound emails sent without an established prospect relationship.
  • Outbound emails should always be targeted, personalized, and authentic.
  • On average, it takes 6 email touches to get a response from a cold lead.

Outbound email: what it is and why it’s important

Outbound email is a tactic used by B2B companies to establish connections with prospective customers. The goal is to build relationships with these prospects and demonstrate how your solutions can be valuable to them, ultimately converting those relationships into sales. 

Outbound email is usually part of a larger outbound sales strategy, and to truly understand the purpose behind outbound email, it’s helpful to know how this larger strategy works. 

Outbound sales, by definition, encompasses any sales strategy that involves reaching out to the prospect to offer information about products and services. It’s the opposite of inbound sales, which utilizes tactics that pull prospects in, getting them to approach your company first. Today, inbound sales are all the rage while outbound sales get a bad rap. Many say that outbound is outdated, equating it only with tactics of the past like excessive cold calling. But we’re here to tell you that outbound is still relevant. It just requires the right approach to be effective.

The key to good, effective outbound sales is to be three things: targeted, personalized, and authentic. You can be all of these things in your outbound emails, and we’re going to cover how. But before we do, let’s go over why outbound email is so critical to outbound sales strategies.

The first reason? Everyone is using email. The average business professional receives 121 emails every single day. Nearly 90% of adults in the United States check their email every day, and more than 20% check it at least 5 times per day. 

graph showing most americans check email at least once per day

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Second, email is overwhelmingly the most preferred method of communication for consumers across all demographics. In fact, one recent study found that they rated it more preferred for brand communications than all other channels combined. They also reported that it felt more personal than other channels.

graph showing email is most preferred brand communication channel

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The takeaway: not only is everyone using email, it’s also the way they want to communicate. Outbound email, then, presents a massive opportunity for companies that want to connect with their target audience and fill their funnel with high-potential prospects.

Cold email: getting past the first outreach

A cold email is an outbound email sent without an established relationship with that prospect. Cold email outreach is less intrusive than traditional cold sales methods like phone calls or even knocking on doors, and people typically don’t mind receiving them. But they also have full inboxes and don’t want to read messages that aren’t relevant to them. B2B decision makers specifically are hearing from many companies at any given time.

That means your first cold email has to stand out. It should grab your prospect’s attention, show your brand voice and personality, and demonstrate the value your solutions can offer.

Some tips for creating cold emails that succeed:

  • Write a subject line prospects can’t ignore
  • Be clear and concise, making your main point prominent
  • Personalize your email whenever possible
  • Send to real people, not “about@” or “info@” addresses

Check out the video below for tips on writing cold emails or read our guide to cold email outreach for a deeper dive on this topic.

Principles of great outbound email

So what makes for a great outbound email? You might remember earlier in this article we mentioned that your outbound emails should be three things: targeted, personalized, and authentic. Let’s spend some time exploring each of these in greater detail.


Outbound email is definitely not about casting the widest net possible and hoping for the best. In fact, taking this approach can result in a lot of time wasted and a detrimental impact on your brand. People who receive too many or totally irrelevant messages often mark the sender as spam. When this happens, spam filters may start to flag most of the emails you send, making it impossible to know if your recipients are ever really getting them.

Fortunately, you don’t have to risk it when you take a targeted approach. Take the time to source high-potential prospects who fit your ideal customer profile and can truly benefit from what your company has to offer. When you do, you’ll find that your emails earn better results and you’re able to create much more meaningful connections.


People are more likely to open and read emails that are designed specifically for them. Some personalization tactics are easy and obvious, like using people’s first names and company names. Others take more effort, like demonstrating how your solutions can be valuable for each prospect. Even this, however, doesn’t have to be too difficult. Simply mentioning something you know about the company or why they caught your attention can be really effective. A good CRM system and prospect tracking process can be helpful to this end.


Ultimately, you want your outbound email outreach to turn into a sale and a long-term working relationship with your prospect. This means you want your brand voice, personality, and value proposition — the things that make your company unique — to stand out from your very first outreach. This is one area where marketing and sales collaboration is beneficial. While sales reps are the experts in navigating prospect and customer interactions, your marketing team can help you develop content that’s authentic to your brand and effective at catching the attention of your audience.

Bonus: Persistence

If you’re in sales, you know persistence is key. But did you know that even sales reps who think they’re being persistent are often giving up too soon? Research has found that ideally, outbound email campaigns contain 6-8 emails. Most of the time, it takes 6 touches to get a response from a cold lead. But most sales reps never stick it out!

it takes 6 email touches on average to get a response from a cold lead

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Does that 6-8 email sequence sound daunting? We’ll leave you with this sample outbound email sequence that shows the kind of content you can include:

sample outbound email sequence

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Outbound email templates to help you get started

Outbound email is one of the most-used sales tactics by sales teams across every industry and market. That means it’s a competitive landscape out there, but it also means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We’ll round out our guide with links to some extremely valuable resources for outbound email templates you can use right away.

10 Sales Email Templates with 60% or Higher Open Rates

This guide from marketing guru brand Hubspot includes really valuable templates for all different scenarios you encounter in your outbound email efforts (ex: cold vs. warm lead, follow up vs. introduction, etc.). Here’s one for emailing a prospect who has already visited your website:

outbound email template for warm prospect

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15 Sales Email Templates to Close More B2B Deals

This article from Lemlist is a great resource for templates that include ways to make your outbound emails more personalized, including the one below.

lemlist outbound email templates

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The 6 Best B2B Sales Email Templates for Cold Email Outreach

This template resource from Leadfeeder focuses specifically on that tough first hurdle: the initial cold email outreach. They show you how to take several different creative approaches. The example below leverages social proof to build trust with the prospect:

leadfeeder outbound email template

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Our outbound email software and lead generation services are custom-built for startups, consultancies, marketing agencies, and other B2B organizations. Schedule a quick call with us and find out how we can help you win more clients.