How to Increase Cold Outreach Response Rate by 70%

How to Increase Cold Outreach Response Rate by 70%


When it comes to improving your reply rates, there are hundreds of ways to do that. Just try and google something like "increase email response rates" - you will get tons of awesome tips and tricks! And most of those tips will actually work. 

BTW, we’ve also shared some hacks on how to get replies in this article.

But what if you’ve already tried the most popular tactics, e.g. picking the right people to contact, personalizing your outreach, using short and simple subject lines and email templates, etc.?

Well, there’s one thing that is often overlooked by the cold outreach experts - timing ⌚️.

You will be surprised to learn how much it matters! So, let's see how it works. 

But before we start, here’s a disclaimer: 

To create this research and identify one key element that separates the top-performing sequences from average ones, our data scientists analyzed the anonymized data from over 60 million emails sent by Reply users over the past few months. 

Add City and Country to your prospect profile

Reply has a pretty cool feature that allows you to identify prospects’ time zone based on their location and tailor your email sending time accordingly.

reply prospect profile

So when you research your prospects, don't forget to add the city and country as data points and import them to Reply along with other important variables like First Name, Last Name, Email, Company, Title, LinkedIn, etc. Reply will automatically identify and fill in the Time Zone field once you import your prospects to the platform.

To prove that location and time zone actually have an impact on the campaign performance, we’ve divided all the prospects added to Reply within the last few months into 2 categories: 

  • prospects who have City and Country (and, as a result, Time Zone) fields identified and
  • those who have been imported without these fields and don’t have identified time zone.

And here is the result: 

an average response rate for prospects who don’t have a time zone is around 6.5%, while the prospects with identified time zone have an average 9.3% response rate.

reply rate bar chart

As you can see, there’s a pretty obvious tendency here. This means you can easily increase your response rate by around 70% just by taking into account your prospects' time zone when sending your emails.

Adjust your sending schedule

Reply is quite flexible in setting up your sequence schedule. For example, you can set up your sending window for your business hours - 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. PST.

If all your prospects are located in the PST time zone, there is nothing to worry about. All emails will be sent based on your schedule and since your prospects are located in the same time zone, they will receive your emails during their business hours as well.

reply schedule

But what if some of your potential customers are located in Australia or New Zealand? If you email them during your business hours they will get your emails at night 🌚 (which is not cool).

So how do you fix that?

Take a closer look at the screenshot above. Have you noticed a small toggle called "Use contact's specific time zone if set" at the bottom of the screen? Just activate it.

Once you do that, Reply will ignore your original schedule settings and will send emails based on the prospects’ time zone instead. This means your prospects from Australia and New Zealand will receive your emails within their business hours and not yours.

Needless to say that this little hack can also lead to a significant boost in email response rate with little to no effort.

To prove that, we’ve conducted one more experiment with over 60 million emails I’ve mentioned earlier. Namely, our data scientists analyzed 4 sequence types with 4 sending schedule options, i.e.:

  1. Use Contact's specific time zone if set, leads don't have a Time Zone field (i.e. City and Country fields lacking).
  2. Use Contact's specific time zone if set, Time Zone field identified.
  1. Use Contact's specific time zone if set turned off, leads don't have a Time Zone field. (Users that rely on this schedule option tend to have dozens of dedicated sequences for leads from each country with corresponding schedules, so that's why they don't need the time zone fields).
  2. Use Contact's specific time zone if set turned off, Time Zone field identified.

The first two options are the most common and used by almost all Reply customers. The latter two cases are quite rare and used mostly by advanced customers.

So here are the results (drumroll, please 🥁):

reply rate with and without timezone

Let's take a closer look at the results. Option #1 (the only one that doesn’t have the identified time zone, so the emails are sent regardless of the prospects’ time zone) has the worst performance - only 3.7%

On the other hand, just by adjusting your sending schedule to the recipients’ time zone, we can get up to 70% more replies - around 5.28% as in case of options number 2, 3, and 4.

The takeaway is pretty obvious here.

The takeaways

Drawing from the research above, here are some pro tips on how to adjust your Reply workflow for higher response rates.

  1. Don't forget to save the City, State, and Country info when researching your prospects - whether on LinkedIn or using a 3rd party lead generation software. 
  2. If you use the integration with CRM or Zapier, make sure to map those fields to your data flow as well.
  3. When you upload prospects via a CSV file to Reply, make sure the City, State, and Country fields are properly mapped.
  4. While importing the CSV file, make sure that the "Use time zone" toggle is turned on. Reply will match prospects timezone based on City, State, and Country in the background, while the import is in progress.
  5. If you have the list of prospects who are located all around the world, make sure to turn on “Use Contact's specific time zone” toggle when setting up your schedule. This will help you automatically adjust your sending schedule to the prospects’ business hours.

While it costs you nothing to fill in the prospects' City and Country data fields while making your research, this simple hack can lead to a 70% increase in your response (almost double it 📈).

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