21 Email Growth Hacks (That Work)


Email Growth Hacks

I must have sent millions of emails since I first started doing SEO in 2002 (at the same time I was also doing everything within digital marketing). Anyways – in this resource, I’ve listed out a bunch of email marketing hacks that worked for me and I am sure will also work for you.

Email Growth Hacks 1: iPhone Signature (Classic Growth Hack)

This hack is an oldie and I’ve seen it mentioned a few other times online.

I used it all the time and frankly, it’s one of my favorite growth hacks. It works especially well with cold outreach emails.

Here it is: simply write “Sent from my iPhone” just above your signature when either sending out a bulk email or, even better, in your follow-up (automated) second and third emails.

Why is this effective?

Think about it.

It creates a more intimate sense of personalization.

It makes the recipient feel that you sent the email whilst in transit; it gives the impression you were sitting on a train or waiting at a bus stop and you’ve fired off the email.

It’s a small detail but as they say, God is in the detail.

It’s worth saying that Hotmail, the extremely popular email service which is now owned by Microsoft, owed some of its growth to this very hack albeit deployed with different messaging.

The team at Hotmail (when it launched back in 1996) added the following sentences to each email signature sent by a Hotmail user: “This email was sent with Hotmail, Join Hotmail now” and “Get your free email at Hotmail”.

These messages were seen by every email recipient, and the founders Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith were able to vastly scale the onboarding of their service. Hotmail has subsequently grown to over 380 million users today!

By the way, here’s another fact about Hotmail: the letters “HTML” appears in the word (or brand) and the founders liked that fact, hence the name “Hotmail”.

Email Growth Hacks 2: GMass For Cold Bulk Email

There are a million and one email delivery (SMTP) services and automation email campaign tools out there so why do I suggest this tool and what makes this an “email growth hack?’

The answer is because of Google and a concept known as “sender reputation”.

You see, inboxing email (the art of being able to get into a recipient’s inbox) is a fantastic skill to have.

Getting the recipient to open and take an action to that email, well – that’s golden.

Combining the two skills of tech and copywriting (which I consider to be an art form) takes dedication and practice.

The “tech” bit of sending a mass email to your cold or “warmed up” email list is done for you with this awesome tool called GMass. (It’s worth mentioning now that we will also cover another incredible email delivery tool called Lemlist further on which has a twist on this process).

Anyways, for the time being, let’s focus on GMass.

So, all you do is simply install the chrome add-on, register for a paid account, add and connect your contacts to a Google Sheet, and hit the send button.

Now, sending an email using “macros” is nothing new, but what is awesome about this email tool is its’ ability to inbox for three reasons:

  1. It looks totally natural. GMass sends email from your own personal account so as far as Google and your recipient is concerned you’re sending personalized email to.
  2. There’s no “unsubscribe button” which not only looks horrible in your outreach email but it also reeks of amateurishness. (Some local laws require this however).
  3. There’s a fantastic auto-send feature meaning that if the recipient doesn’t open the initial email after “X” amount of days, then the second and third email is sent and so on.

The tool allows you to send up to eight emails to individuals on your target list.

I use this tool a lot and, for example, I landed a contract with one of Hong Kong’s largest advertising agencies using it.

When I asked the founder of the agency why he replied to me he said that it was because my email was short, personal, and clear – and it looked legit.

Email Growth Hacks 3: “Reply For More Information”. Helps Your Reputation. See How.

Your inboxing success rate is dependent on many factors, for example, your domain and ISP reputation, the subject field, spam keywords, and other factors including whether the receiver marks your email as spam or simply deletes it.

Every domain has a ranking score and you can check yours via a site called SenderScore.

Just as much as your score can go down, it can of course go up – which is a good thing.

One way to vastly improve your score rating is to ask the recipient to reply to the email message for more information.

In other words, do NOT include a link to your offer, rather, invite them to reply to your email for more information thereby sending a clear and legitimizing signal about your domain.

I’ve found that this works really well the more personalized your email message is because it feels like you really want to talk to the individual that you’ve sent your outreach to.

This hack when combined with a good inboxing tool (like for example GMass, Mailshake, or Lemlist) will all help improve your sender score.

The tools I just mentioned are particularly good because they limit the amount of sent emails to “warm” the domain.

Email Growth Hacks 4: Send Email From A Real Person, i.e. “Personalize Your Brand

This growth hack is simple but it needs to be said.

Stop sending out emails from addresses like “info”, “me”, “sales” or any other noun or word.

Why? Because it reeks of spam, it’s impersonal and less authentic.

Remember, we are trying to successfully inbox our cold leads and therefore we need to score every point we can from ISP’s to treat our emails as “safe”.

Instead, all emails should be named and personalized and include a personalized photo which GMail allows, as do many other providers.

I’d suggest having two email accounts. For example, I use “henry.dalziel@” for my business email with clients and vendors, and for mass emailing I’d simply use my first name “henry@”.

It’s a simple hack but one which I need to state because I’d argue it’s of vital importance with regards to all outreach.

In addition, I’d suggest having another domain to send out an email that is very similar to your “money domain” or main domain.

Email Growth Hacks 5: Create An Effective Email Signature In 5 Mins

Email signatures are often overlooked and can be used to maximum effect if they have an effective Call To Action on them.

In mid-2021 Google (and Google Business email) introduced a really fantastic feature of being able to create and select a specific signature dependent on the email you’re writing.

The truth is that these days we all wear multiple hats and our email signatures can reflect those roles.

So, for example, if you were writing an email with a strong chance that you’d convert the recipient then you could switch on the appropriate email signature. Perhaps the signature would stipulate your refund policy, or awards that you’ve won, etc.

The tool I use that takes five minutes to create amazing and effective (free) email signatures is called “Mail Signatures”.

The final tip is to add a tracking URL for your CTA.

I use and recommend www.bit.ly.

Email Growth Hacks 6: Notify Users of Bug Fixes They Haven’t Reported

This is a funny one but if you have a SaaS MRR Model (Software as a Service for Monthly Recurring Revenue) then you should consider your churn metric as one of your true growth signals.

If you are churning users faster than acquiring new ones then you’re in trouble.

Here are two neat hacks, both driven by psychology.

The first example is to send a message like this: “Please expect downtime from 02:15 – 04:45 whilst we upgrade our backend and implement extra security checks”.

This just sounds good and shows that you’re actively updating the software with the intention of helping your customers as much as possible, in other words, “you care”.

The second message hack is similar to the email message of, “Ooops I forgot the attachment” is to issue a “bug fix apology”.

The “bug fix” apology sets out an excuse to contact your members and within your message, you can state that some users reported a bug that has been fixed, and whilst you have their attention you can let them know of new features.

This hack might best when you’re just starting out and need more engagement from users.

Messaging outside of expected patterns is what works here.

Saying that you’ve fixed “problems” for example elicits more interest than a simple newsletter.

Try it and see, your mileage may vary.

Email Growth Hacks 7: Email Warming Is Vital. Here’s How You Do It.

One of the challenges of email marketing is inboxing.

I’d always suggest when starting out to have two domains.

One domain is your “money-domain” that you protect at all times, and another is your “email testing” domain that ideally has similar branding to your “money domain”.

ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) and email clients will determine whether or not to inbox email on a bunch of criteria.

One of the measurements that the ISP will use is the “sender reputation” of the domain that is associated with the email message.

A sender reputation is a number determined by, for example, how many times the domain (i.e. the sender) has received spam complaints or has been blocked or emails deleted.

This tool, called Mailwarm “warms up” your email domain in a positive way by tricking ISP’s into an inflated positive sender reputation score.

The tool does this by simulating perfect responses to your emails through interaction.

The way it does this is by having your email account automatically send dozens of emails to +1000 Mailwarm’s accounts that get replies.

The (positive) daily interactions are sent according to the schedule you set.

The net result of this is that your domain will have a positive sender reputation.

Now, when you’re ready to launch your cold EDM campaign, your chances of inboxing will be much higher.

Email Growth Hacks 8: Best Email Inbox Time. 99.99% Proven

Tuesday at 10.25 am. That’s it. That’s the hack.

That, apparently, is the best time to land into your target’s inbox.

From my own research and testing, I can confirm that this time has worked best for me too!

Try it and see.

I suspect the reason for this time is that your prospect still has high energy and expectations for their week and by 10 am Tuesday they should have made a decent attempt at clearing their inbox – and that’s when you land right on top of the pile.

I wouldn’t email on Monday because your prospects will be likely swamped with other work, and from Thursday afternoon onwards we all tend to slope off.

However, as with all of these growth hacks, timing and testing are vital.

Test what works and keep trying!

Email Growth Hacks 9: Add A Photo To Your Outgoing Email Increase Open Rate

If you use Google Business email then you’ll love this.

It takes five minutes (really more like 20 seconds), it’s free, and it increases the open rate of your emails by about 20% from my experiments.

Simply add your personal image to your emails!

By an image, I mean the personal photo that Google Business email appends to the left-hand side of the subject field of your message.

It’s simple. It’s neat, and it’s effective.

Why does it work?

Because it’s personal.

If the image matches the subject field then you’re more likely to have your (cold) email opened.

A catchy subject message with an image will increase your chances of having your email read which all helps to the positive signals that you send to ISP’s about the sending reputation and authority of your domain and IP.

The main positive of adding your image to your outgoing email is that it personalizes your message and therefore enhances your credibility and trust.

Everyone who works for you, either Virtual Assistant, colleagues, and partners should have the same consistent email signatures with personalized photos.

Email Growth Hacks 10: Send Email Subjects In Lower Text (And – Don’t Use Logos)

I’ve sent literally millions of emails since 2001 when I first started in Digital Marketing.

Simplicity is the key.

I’ll explain this hack by discussing a bunch of mini-hacks that have worked for me over the years.

Avoid including your logo, images, and too many links in your emails. Why? Because they act as negative signals to spam filters that you’re sending business or commercial emails.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with sending out business emails of course, but the point is that we’re trying to eliminate all (potentially) negative signals.

Think about it this way: ISP’s will raise awareness of emails that contain images, links, and other “tell-tell” signs that commercial emails tend to have.

We want our cold email to look natural, friendly, and appear that it is sent by someone known to the recipient.

There are certain “rules” that you need to follow when sending emails to achieve a high inbox rate.

The two that I’d bet are the two most important email sending criteria are as follows. Firstly, always use a first-named user handle, for example, henry@example.com will do a lot better than info@example.com. Henry is a person whilst “info” is a generic, nameless, and impersonal label. Sounds obvious but many forget.

Also, make sure you include a profile picture in your email (something which Gmail allows you to do), this will further enhance the personalization of your email.

Try to make the email subject short, sweet, curious, and – this is important – keep it lowercase.

Why should this last tip of lowercase subject fields be important?

When you receive an email from a friend, does it have a subject written with capitalization:

“Shall We Meet For Dinner After Work?”

No, it doesn’t.

You see, the more friendly, personal, and ‘human’ you make your email outreach, the more you’ll have success in having your outbound (cold) email inboxed and read.

I’ve done this for years and have sent millions of emails and I know that text-only email with 100-150 words with a (very) short subject field works best.

What about including a URL in your offer?

I’d say, sure, try it, but for potentially even more success in the long term I’d advise not including a URL and instead try to get your recipients to reply to your message for more information.

Why?

Because this creates positive signals which add to your credibility and rating with the ISP’s so you’re inboxing will only get better.

Replying to an email is of course a positive signal.

Furthermore, it also encourages you to learn more about your audience and target market. By receiving an email back from your newsletter you’ll learn about your audience’s hopes, fears, and aspirations and you can adjust your messaging accordingly.

Try it and see!

Email Growth Hacks 11: Download Gmail, Upload To LinkedIn

Once a month go ahead and download all your Gmail contacts.

Then, upload the emails to your LinkedIn account and connect with everyone whose email matches a Linked Account.

We need to have multiple ways to be in front of our prospects so this will ensure that everyone you’ve been in contact with via email also becomes a LinkedIn connection.

Once you’ve uploaded your emails to LinkedIn the backend will see if there’s a match, and if there is then you’ll be offered the chance to connect with them.

You could automate this so that every time an email hits your inbox it populates a row in a Google Spreadsheet, and then all you need to do is decide as to whom you’d like to connect to.

The service that you need to use for the automation is provided by Google and is known as “Google Takeaway”.

One of the neat things about this hack and the Google Takeaway service is that it can be automated so you get an email with a zip containing all your contacts once a month.

I’d suggest creating a folder and filtering it so that when these backup emails come in it will act as a reminder to upload your emails to LinkedIn.

Email Growth Hacks 12: Ways To Improve Your Cold Email Inboxing

This is a great little tool you can use to see whether or not your emails are being delivered, or better said, the probability of them being delivered.

Go ahead and hit up Senderscore.

When there, drop the email address that you use when sending out newsletters or offers and you’ll get a report back giving you your “reputation”.

“Email inboxing”, as it’s known by email marketers, is the ability to get past dozens of spam and monitoring filters to land in your target’s inbox.

This tool measures this by using its own process called “the Return Path Sender Score”.

Your Sender Score, as these folks call it, is like a bank running your credit score to gauge your credit history but measures the health of your email program.

Sender Score is a number between 0 and 100 that identifies your sender’s reputation.

Mailbox providers take a lot of metrics into consideration to determine your sender’s reputation including spam complaints, mailing to unknown users, industry blacklists, and more.

Of course, aim to improve your number and you’ll inbox more.

We cover quite a bit of the art and science behind email marketing throughout my site for one fundamental reason: email marketing continues to beat every other form of marketing when it comes to ROI.

SMS comes close, but a well-written and welcomed email converts the best.

Email Marketing 13: Create Pre-Written Emails (Design To Convince The Boss)

If your target audience requires approval from management to purchase a product or attend an event, make it easy for them by providing pre-written email templates that they can submit to obtain approval.

I had success with this tactic when a client asked me to help promote an event that they were hosting. I simply placed some swipe copy on the landing page of the event and dozens of delegates used it.

I know it worked well because I was copied into several emails from line managers asking for additional information regarding the event that their employees have cc’d in from.

Email Growth Hacks 14: Email Extractor Tools That Work

Scraping emails for growth marketing is as old as the hills, in fact, I’d even wager that it might even be “the” original growth hack.

There are hundreds of solutions to effectively scrape emails but in this resource, I’ll share two personal favorites.

The first one is called Scrapebox.

Scrapebox is an ‘old school’ classic growth marketers’ tool, mostly used by SEO experts.

Using Scrapebox (and proxies) you can easily find emails that are published on any website or directory.

You’ll need to watch tutorials on YouTube to fully understand how it all works but essentially it really is a ‘plug and play’ solution.

The “issue” with the above Scrapebox approach is that a lot of the emails will be generic, i.e. “info@” addresses so I’d advise to not set too much expectation on getting results from those addresses.

The other, easier solution, is to use the Phantombuster pre-made scraper and email matcher.

All you do is connect a Google sheet with two columns, column one, the prospect’s full name, and column two, their company website. Phantombuster will work with other tools to enumerate those email handles and ping the associated servers to see whether they are valid emails and if they are then you’ve got a match.

For the above hack, aside from an account with Phantombuster, you will also need an account with either EmailHunter or with Dropcontact.

Personally, I prefer Dropcontact because they’re cheaper and their support is excellent.

So, it’s simple: once you’ve got going with this hack then it will become easy to automate and bake into your workflow.

There are multiple variations to the above but if you’re keen to experiment with an idea or to see how your market will reply then this hack might work well.

Between these two approaches, I’d favor using Phantombuster for personal highly-targeted outreach, and I’d use Scrapebox for scraping emails from Instagram (for example), something which we also cover in my site.

Email Growth Hacks 15: Last Chance Saloon…

If you have a subscription model business then you’ll be adamant to keep your churn (cancellation) rate low.

This hack, which is purely psychological, can help reduce that churn.

If a customer actively clicks “cancel subscription” then clearly that person has made a decision to cancel their relationship with you and stop paying.

As a parting message, you could ask them for feedback, and one of the dropdown questions could be, “I’m canceling because the service is too expensive”.

If the customer selects that answer then you should offer them a financial incentive to stay, for example, 50% off the next month for a “cool-off” period.

The LinkedIn Premium Account offers this when you try to cancel.

Since that person has decided to leave then you may as well try and persuade them with one last chance!

Sure, the cynic amongst us might say that your customers might use this hack against you and they’ll all try and get a free month, but in reality, they probably won’t. They’ve got better things to be getting on with.

As always, try it and see!

Email Growth Hacks 16: Get 50 Free Email Leads To Test An Idea Or Project

There are a million and one ways to get the email addresses of your prospects for cold outreach, but they can be time-consuming to manage.

This service has a neat and tidy approach: called Voila Norbert, you can get personal with anyone, at scale.

The tool claims to have a 98% success rate so if you want a quick way to generate leads then this might be the fastest approach.

They have an offer whereby you can create an account and get 50 Free Leads without a credit card so if you need 200 Leads to experiment with you can spin up a bunch of accounts to see if your idea or project has legs.

Email Marketing 17: Use First Names In Your Subject Line

Using a user’s name in a subject line is one of the easiest ways to increase your email open rates.

This can usually be done through most email service providers using a function called a “merge tag.” Of course, this assumes that you’ve also collected a name field from your leads at some point.

One of the most successful subject lines I ever used was this: “H is for Henry, P is for Plum”.

The startup I was working with was called Plum, which was a food delivery company in Hong Kong.

The personalization and oddness of the subject line worked well because it did what every Digital Marketer is trying to achieve: evoke curiosity.

As ever, combine this with other hacks such as inboxing at 10 am on a Tuesday, using a good email delivery tool like GMass, Mailshake, or Lemlist and not including links in the email, removing logos, and making the header “normal case”, i.e. removing Capitalization.

As ever, testing is key.

From my experience including first names in the subject field works best in B2C and less so for B2B.

Email Growth Hacks 18: Increase Cold Email By 200%

The highest open rate and reply rate I have ever experienced is when I used a tool called Lemlist.

Cold email can be difficult to inbox and generate a reply but this tool can increase both of those metrics.

Here’s how it works: you maximize the personalization of your email outreach by having a quirky and cool image of yourself with your prospect’s name on the image.

For example, I used a template they suggested of me holding a coffee mug smiling and pointing to the mug. On the image is the text that reads: “Go For A Coffee Jack?”

Jack was the first name of the person I was targeting (taken from my cold email list).

This highly personalized approach works great.

The magic, however, comes in with the automation, because my second follow-up email has the same image of me holding the mug but this time I look sad, and the caption reads: “No Coffee?”

The response rate to this email was a staggering 80%

Another reason why this growth hack is so amazing is that I used a very catchy neat email subject that simply said: “Hi Jack, coffee and catch-up?”

The simplicity of the subject line which evokes curiosity and the quirky, original image of me holding a coffee mug really hit home.

The tool uses Google Business email which from my experience brings in extremely high levels of deliverability.

Email Growth Hacks 19: “Sorry! Forgot To Add The File” Hack

When trying to increase your email campaign open rate, try a realistic “human error” hack.

As well as the famous “Sent from my iPhone” hack that I’ve often blogged about, I will often slightly misspell words or capitalize the initial two letters like this:

“JUst wondering if you received my email?”

Why would I do that?

Because it looks highly personalized and natural, and I look human.

OK, I’m not advocating to bake typos into ALL of your outgoing emails, I’m saying try it out on a particular campaign and see.

The more human you are, the more people will relate to you.

For example, try sending one email with an offer or an update to your business that would be of interest to your audience, then five minutes later send another with the message: “Sorry! Forget to include the link!” or “Sorry! I forget the attachment – here it is” or even simply, “sorry!”.

This will evoke curiosity and that’s what we are trying to achieve in our recipient’s inbox.

As ever, try this hack – it might work for you!

Email Growth Hacks 20: Use Emojis. Always And Often

OK, this is probably one of the more basic growth hacks but it’s worth including it because it works.

The use of Emojis in subject lines will increase your open and reply rates.

Now, of course, your audience and your niche will determine how “appropriate” emojis are but Generations Y, Z, and Millenials use them constantly.

The greatest success I have had was when I used the weather emoji (the umbrella) and I have no idea why that was! Just test it and see if it improves your open and reply rates.

I’ve discovered that the shorter the subject field with only one (maximum two) emojis, works best.

When combined with all the other email growth hacks I’ve outlined you ought to see a significant uplift in your (cold) email outreach.

Furthermore, you can also use emojis in the title tags of your website; this can really help with increasing your CTR (Click Through Rates) which is a positive signal for Google.

By “title tags” I am referring to the blue title text that you see on Google Results, i.e. your emoji can be displayed to the left of the text.

So, in summary, if you aren’t using emojis then experiment with them and you’ll likely see an increase in your email open rates and engagement.

Email Growth Hacks 21: Dummy Account Email Enumerator

We’re asked to enter our email countless times a day and with this hack, you’ll be able to submit your email address without getting a ton of spam emails.

This hack lets you create accounts on the fly without being blocked for using a “fake throwaway email”.

Here’s what I mean and here’s how it can help.

Say for example you want to try a service and they have a free option. Rather than use your own email you might be tempted to use a “disposable email account”, however, these days using such emails will likely get you flagged and your account creation will be terminated.

Gmail lets you create dozens of usernames within your account.

In other words, adding a letter or work and the symbol “+” will still inbox mail into your account and therefore you’ll be able to create accounts for services in a much easier way.

So, in summary, rather than using a fake email generator (which is a temporary address), you can use a purposely created Gmail account that you can use exclusively for free access to trials.

Henry "HMFIC"

I'm Henry, the guy behind this site. I've been Growth Hacking since 2002, yep, that long...

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