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Rethinking Sales Emails: Are They Still Effective?

by Mike Sullivan

Do Sales Emails Even Work?

Is Cold emailing dead?  Some will say yes, other will argue no.  I will land somewhere in the middle saying that cold emailing is wounded, crawling to safety as it tries to survive.  It is not as viable as it once was, but it handled properly, it can still be effective.  Additionally, in certain markets, it is more effective than in others.

Consider someone trying to sell you a television through a cold email.  That just won’t work.  A television is a bulky and expensive product.  You’re going to want to see it hands on.  You want to look at the picture quality and compare to other versions.  It just doesn’t make sense to try to sell through a cold email. 100% of those will end up in the trash or spam folder. 

Domain names, although they can be expensive, are intangible.  You don’t need to hold it, kick the tires, or feel the quality level of the assembly.  Instead, you can find all the quality information you need online.  The buyer doesn’t need to leave their home or office to determine if the product is right for them.  That said, there are still some major obstacles in our way.

When we look at the fact that 293.6 billion emails are sent and received each day (source: Review42.com), you can easily see how quickly we can be desensitized to its effectiveness.  45% of those emails can be considered spam.  We each send about 40 emails per day and receive about 121 emails per day just for business purposes.  That’s an average.  I can tell you my inbox sees around 300+ emails per day.  It’s overwhelming. It’s time consuming. It’s ridiculous.

“What gets measured, gets managed.”  – Peter Drucker

There is an entire industry built around email marketing.  There are metrics and studies, all intended to make improvements, but sometimes all that information gets tripped up and confusing so let me do my best to simplify it for you.

Mailchimp conducted and published a comprehensive study and published the results.  The reason I like this particular study is that they reviewed only campaigns that went to 1,000 recipients or more.  But even better is that it covers a great sample of industries and includes businesses as small as 1 person startups and as large as Fortune 500 companies.  Here are some of the results.

21.33% Average open rate of an email

Average open rate is exactly what it sounds like.  It is the percentage of people that open your email.  That means if you painstakingly research your prospective buyers and came up with a list of the top 100, only about 23 of them will even open your email.  The other 77 end up somewhere between the spam folder and the delete key.  Well that just sucks.

2.62% – Average click through rate

The average click through rate indicates, on average, how many recipients were interested enough to click a link within your email.  That’s right, 2.6%.  Almost no one.  

Fear not, this too can be improved.

There is a rapid-fire bombardment of information, good and bad, that we all receive every day.  So much that if we were to take it all in, it would be miraculous.  This presents us with a challenge: If you want to market your domains by email, your emails need to stand out amongst the masses.  We’ll address this challenge shortly.  But before we do, let’s do a little bit of prep work.

This is a question I asked early on in my domaining career.  Surely, someone has compiled the data, crunched the numbers, carried the decimal and figured out the most successful time to send a domain sales email.

According to Omnisend.com, the best dates to send emails are on the 5th, 7th, and 12th of the month.  The best days of the week for open rates are Thursdays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, in that order. 8:00am is said to be the “perfect” time.  If you spend time researching, you will find varying statistics from different organizations. 

All professional statistics and analysis aside, I have found that sending emails in the mornings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday have been most effective.  I haven’t pinpointed a time as my results were all at various times in the morning.  Is there really a science to this?   I don’t know.  I think the most important thing is that you are taking the time to research prospects and send the emails when you can.

Most email software has a scheduling feature.  If the only time you have to work on your domaining hustle is after your day job or on the weekends, this is a great feature to take advantage of.  You can prepare your individual, customized email communications to your prospects and schedule them to be sent at the ideal time. Keep track of your sending time and any responses you receive.   This will help you fine tune your sending and find the best time that works for you and the type of domains you are selling.


Ask yourself this question.  “Is the domain name I am about to attempt to market through email worth the time and effort I need to invest in order to sell it?”  You should have a value in mind for the name before you get started.  If you don’t have an idea of what you will settle for as far a buying price, you need to take a step back.  But let’s assume you have a price in mind.  Simple decision tree here.  If the answer is “Yes” then carry on.  If “No,” then stop what you are doing, go to your registrar and turn off the autorenewal.  Move on to the next name.

But wait, how do you know how much time and effort it is going to involve?  Assume the answer is “a lot,” because it is.  If you think, on average, you’re going to send out 10 emails to the top candidates for your names and score the sale you are looking for, you are mistaken.  Let’s just all get on the same page right now.  It will make the rest of this process so much easier. Domaining is not a get rich quick shortcut any more so than following the career path and study habits of an actuary.  Sure, you can make a lot of money. But it is going to take a lot of work.

When weighing the question here is the number 1 item to consider.

  • Is this a good name?

This maybe a subjective question, but if you don’t know for sure, ask around.  It’s also a question you should have tried to answer before you pulled the trigger on the buy.  Would you use this name if you were to run a business on it that provided the one source of income for your family?  Ask others if they would.  I’m not going to get into the details of what makes a good domain name, but it is a critical detail to your success.  The best email in the world will not sell a domain name that has no value to anyone.  If it passes the sniff test, then let’s continue.

Another good question to ask yourself is…

  • What is my time worth?

You have a price in mind for the domain name you are selling, we have established that.  How much of that will be profit for you?  Are you targeting $10,000 or looking for a quick $500 profit?  How much have you already invested in the name?  How much is the annual renewal?

Sending out emails, as you will see, is not as simple as hitting send.  How much time are you willing to invest in finding your target audience (which we will talk more about in the next chapter)?  Consider the number of hours you are willing to invest to sell the name and the profit you expect to make.

Targeted Profit / Hours of Work to Invest = Your Hourly Rate

For example, if you are looking to make $500 and spend 8 hours researching, building your contact list, crafting your email, and sending, then you’re looking at 

$500 / 8 = $62.50 

Are you happy with that number?  If so, great, have at it.  If not, you may want to reconsider how you go about selling the name (is email the best medium for this name?).

Even if you are happy with the hourly rate, there are no promises that a) you will get the profit you seek and b) that you won’t have to invest even more time trying to sell the name.  In fact, the name may not sell at all.  On the flip side, maybe you have great contacts, you have a super refined email, and you sell it in less time.  Now you have increased your rate.

You want to keep track of all your sales and all the time and money you invest in the process.  This will help you develop your average rate and also you will have a tracible record of what works well for you.  This will help you to improve your craft over time and become a more profitable domainer.

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