How Your Emails & Followups Will Be Sent by Woodpecker

I have sent a test campaign from Woodpecker, but it looks like it sends the emails very slowly…,” said Till – one of our beta testers. He sounded disappointed. We were surprised that he saw it as a drawback. We didn’t realize that we see it as an advantage because we know exactly how Woodpecker works. Once we explained to Till how the emails are sent and why, he found it very interesting and he said that would be a great topic for a blog post.

So this one’s for you, Till! 😉 And for all those who are not really sure how it works right now, I’m going to explain how Woodpecker sends your emails and follow-ups, and why it works this way.

I’ll do my best to put it in simple words. Recently when I tried to explain this, in response to my longish and carefully crafted email I got this (thanks Monika, you made my day then!):


… and that email was written in Polish, which is my native language.

So, yeah… 🙂

To make it easy for you (let’s hope so), I’ve made a list of assumptions we followed while creating Woodpecker and its sending algorhithms.

Before you go on, here’s a short manual:

  • If you’re a technology geek and you need to fully understand how things work, because it’s fun to know – read the whole thing. There’s some savvy details you may find interesting.
  • If you’re not a technology geek and you just want to know in general how the emails are sent from Woodpecker, you can just skim the headlines and read those points that need additional explanation.

Click here to try out automated follow-ups free for 14 days >>

1. Woodpecker does NOT send your emails like MailChimp or other tools for sending newsletters.

Woodpecker does not use its own servers to send your messages, like MailChimp, or GetResponse, or other great email marketing automation tools do. Woodpecker has been designed to send personal messages to specific groups of carefully chosen prospects, not to a 10K-group of subscribers.

All your emails and follow-ups are sent from your mailbox, which you integrate with Woodpecker at the very beginning. That’s why it’s important to remember about the internal sending limits of your email provider – Woodpecker is designed to send no more emails than you would normally be able to send yourself from your mailbox (well, assuming that you’d be able to send your emails exclusively and continuously 24/7 😉 )

2. Woodpecker sends planned emails automatically, but not all of them at once.

Woodpecker sends the emails like you would do yourself. Would you be able to send a hundred of individual emails at once? No. Would you be able to send 10 separate emails to 10 addressees at the same moment. No, you wouldn’t. Would you be able 2 separate messages from your mailbox at the very same second? Not a chance. Woodpecker won’t do it either.

Instead, while sending your opening messages, Woodpecker will consider two things:

  • the time frame you plan for sending,
  • and the number of prospects you’re going to send the emails to.

Then it will divide the given time frame for smaller time frames – so that each of the planned messages had it’s individual little time frame to be sent. Also, the messages will never be sent more frequently than every 60 seconds. For a real person, a minute for sending an email is a reasonable time, isn’t it?

3. The emails are not sent every 5 minutes or so, either.

The frequency of sending the emails is randomized. So the emails will not be sent every 10 minutes, or every 5 minutes, or every 4 minutes 37 seconds. Instead, they will be sent at a random moment of their little sending time frame.

So that’s why Till’s emails were being sent “slowly”. If he set the delivery time for, say, 10AM to 3PM (so 5 hours), and he planned to send the test email to 10 people from his team, it’s probable that the first person got their email e.g. at 10:07, the second at 10:42, the third at 11:15, and so on.

Why the randomized time of sending is so important?

Because sending your awesome personalized messages you don’t want to appear as a bot. If you were sending the emails by hand, would you be sitting with a stopwatch and trying to send the emails exactly every 5 minutes or so? Even if you were trying, as a kind of a weird challenge, you wouldn’t be able to do that with a second-to-second precision.

And, as I already said in #2, Woodpecker sends your messages like you would do it yourself by hand, provided that you had a whole day and night reserved to do only that. So your emails will look like you were literally sitting there and sending.

IMPORTANT: That’s not something we did for fun. Randomized sending time actually boosts the deliverability of your messages and protects your email address from being blacklisted or classified as a source of SPAM.

4. Woodpecker sends your follow-ups only on the days of the week you choose and within the specified time frame.

That means NO messages will be sent on weekend (or any other day of the week) if you don’t wish them to be sent then.

At the very beginning, we had designed Woodpecker delivery time settings to send the follow-ups after a specific number of days. “Follow-up after # days.” Fullstop.

But that wasn’t a perfect solution, because many companies don’t want to send any emails on weekends, or on Mondays, or on Fridays, or another day of the week for various reasons. And if you set up your opening message to be sent on Tue, Wed, Thu, and your follow-up to be sent 3 days after the previous message, there was a good chance some of your prospects would get the follow-up on weekend.

We’ve heard out our testers feedback, and we’ve added the delivery day and time frame settings for the follow-ups as well. That changed a bit our randomized sending assumptions. Now it’s “Follow up no sooner than after # days.”


How it works now with the days of the week and follow-ups

Say, you set your follow-ups to be sent after no sooner than 3 days from the previous message, but only on Tue, Wed, and Thu. That means the follow-ups to the opening emails sent on Tue will “want to” be sent on Fri; the follow-ups to the opening emails sent on Wed will “want to” be sent on Sat; and the follow-ups to the opening emails sent on Thu will “want to” be sent on Sun. But you don’t care about what your follow-ups “want”. You just don’t allow the follow-ups to be sent on Fri, Sat and Sun.

And Woodpecker won’t send any messages that you don’t want to be sent. That’s why the follow-ups that “want” to be sent on the “unallowed” days of the week will be sent with the highest priority on the first “allowed day”, in this particular example case on Wed (7, 6, and 5 days, respectively, after the opening messages).

And because those follow-ups waited so long for their turn to come, they will be very “eager” to be sent. That’s why Woodpecker will send them in a randomized way but no more frequently than every 60 seconds, and no less frequently than 120 seconds. Then it will send all follow-ups planned for this day. And then it will send opening messages planned for this day.

5. The follow-ups have the priority to be sent before newly planned opening messages.

That’s pretty much described in the last three sentences of the previous paragraph. Basically, if there are some follow-ups crowding around because they would have been sent earlier if only the “earlier” were an allowed day – those follow-ups will be sent first.

Then, there are the follow-ups planned for the present day, and if the present day is an “allowed” day for them to be sent, Woodpecker will send them next.

And then, there are the opening messages (#1 Emails) planned for the present day, sent only after all the follow-ups have been sent first.

So if there are all those three types of messages planned for the same time frame, they will be sent in the following order:

  1. Follow-ups that have been impatiently, yet humbly, waiting for an “allowed” day to be sent.
  2. Follow-ups planned for this day.
  3. Opening messages planned for this day.

6. The frequency of sending particular messages (opening emails and follow-ups) depends to a great extent on how you set the delivery times and days.

Considering all the above, you need to take care of the proper delivery time settings when scheduling your campaign to be sent. So if you don’t want to many followups to be sent too frequently, make sure the delay settings (“No sooner than after..”) cover the days of the week set for the delivery (the “allowed” days).

Further development of delivery settings

We’re currently considering an extention of the delivery time settings. We hear from some of our users that they would rather set up emails and follow-ups for specific dates.

If you have some experience with the delivery time settings in, or some ideas considering those – please feel free to share them here in the comments section or via our contact email.

If my description of the sending process still doesn’t clear all your doubts and you still have some questions, please ask here or drop us a line – we’ll be more than happy to help.

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Used to spend lots of time contacting prospects, especially via email. One of few people on Earth who read crappy cold emails from start to end and analyze them – for purely educational purposes. Taking care of this blog, reporting Woodpecker’s journey on the pursuit of happy openings, successful closures and all the new skills we acquire in between.
  • Yeah, I was really wondering why that happened. But it totally makes sense now. Thanks for writing up this article.

    Idea to add value to your service: find out the twitter ID of the prospect, find when that person is tweeting (with the twitter web / mobile app, not scheduling) and send the email then. OR send the email after they tweeted next time. That’d be creepy but it could work.

    Anyway, great software. Keep going!

    • Thanks Till! And thank you for sharing the idea, I’ll definitely bring it up for discussion with the team 😉