Woodpecker.co Quickstart Guide: How to set up a cold email campaign (Updated)

Nifty cold emails work. Nifty cold emails with follow-up work miracles. But the sending cold emails by hand sucks because it takes way too much time. That’s not a made-up marketing scenario. That’s life. And if you’ve ever been sending your cold emails manually, you know that.

We created Woodpecker because we had been sending our cold emails by hand and it was a problem we needed to solve. Now you can use our solution to fix it up for yourself. Here’s how to set up a cold email campaign in Woodpecker to automate outreach in a few simple steps.

Go through these simple steps to get your email campaign ready:
Step 1: Connect your email with Woodpecker
Step 2: Create a personalized email sequence
Step 3: Set up daily limits & delivery times
Step 4: Add prospects to your campaign
Step 5: Preview and send the campaign

How to get your Woodpecker account?

If you want to try this out, first you need your login and password. To get those:

  1. Go to Woodpecker.co,
  2. sign up with your email address,
  3. we’ll create an account for you and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible with the login credentials.

Next, log in at app.woodpecker.co. Once you log in for the first time, you’ll see your first cold email campaign – as we call it in Woodpecker. Each campaign involves information on:

  • what to send,
  • where from and when to send it,
  • who to send it to.

Here’s how you set up all those info for your campaign step by step:

Step 1: Connect your email with Woodpecker

Woodpecker doesn’t use any extra servers to send your emails (as opposed to MailChimp, for instance). It uses your own email servers, which is why the first thing to do is to connect your mailbox with your Woodpecker account.

Read: How Woodpecker Sends Your Emails and Follow-ups >>

To do that, click the ‘Connect your email’ and follow the next steps of integration.

How to connect your email to Woodpecker

Whether you use Google Apps or an IMAP account based on your own server, Woodpecker will be able to integrate with your mailbox. Just choose the type of email account you’re using.

You can also opt for advanced integration in which you can use an external SMTP from Mailgun or SendGrid with Woodpecker. Wondering whether you need an external SMTP for?

Check out this guide: External SMTP for Cold Emails – Can It Improve My Deliverability? >>

How to connect your email to Woodpecker
When you connect your email address to Woodpecker, time for more settings. Set your ‘From’ line and your signature. Do it now, or set it up later in Settings.

How to add your email to Woodpecker

Next, click ‘Continue’ and wait a few seconds to let Woodpecker complete the integration.

Step 2: Create a personalized email sequence

Campaign creation is divided into 3 parts:

  1. PATH – this is where you create a sequence of emails for your campaign.
  2. PROSPECTS – here you import and add your recipients to the campaign.
  3. SEND – preview and send or save the campaign. Here you can also send a test email.

Create your first message in the Path – an opening email.

How to create email sequence in Woodpecker

 

IMPORTANT:

  • If you want to copy and paste the message, first paste it into a program like Notepad or textEdit (set on plain text) and copy the plain text from there to Woodpecker, to get rid of formatting used by text editors like Microsoft Word, Pages or Google Docs.
  • Always use the blue personalization buttons on top to put in custom fields like {{First name}}, {{Company}} etc. into your message.

Woodpecker snippets screenshot


By following the two rules above, you make sure your emails will render properly in your prospect’s email client and that they will look safe and natural.

To add a follow-up message, click ‘Add email’ underneath.
How to add a follow-up in Woodpecker

Here’s where your campaign Path may split into Path YES and Path NO if you decide to add a Condition. The Condition defines a prospect’s action that determines what message should be sent next.

How to add Condition to an email sequence in Woodpecker

For example, if you set your Condition to “If a prospect has opened an email more than 5 times”, you can create one follow-up that will be sent when the answer is YES (that is, the Condition has been met), and the other one that will be sent when the answer is NO (so the Condition hasn’t been met).How to add a condition in Woodpecker

You can create up to 8 messages in a sequence within a single campaign (an opening email plus up to 7 follow-ups). When creating a follow-up copy, make sure you follow the two important rules I mentioned above.

You can also set up a time gap between your opening email and a follow-up. That’s a number of days, or hours, that needs to pass after sending the previous email for Woodpecker to send a follow-up. By default, it’s set up to 3 days, but you can change it by clicking the clock icon.

How to set up a follow-up delay in Woodpecker

Step 3: Set up daily limits & delivery times

Each of the messages in the sequence has its own delivery time settings on the right.

For the opening email, set the maximum of messages you want to be sent a day: the default is 50 opening emails a day, but you may want to send fewer than that or more than that (up to 150). That depends on you, but remember that you’re sending the messages from your own mailbox and there are some limits established by your email provider which you have to respect if you want to avoid being blacklisted.

set email daily limit screenshot

Hint: 150 messages a day may seem not so many, but remember that in a few weeks, you may have some follow-ups to send on the same day. And if you set up 7 follow-ups, that means one day 150 x 8 =  1200 emails will be scheduled to be sent from your email address on the same day. And that is many emails.

Focus on the quality of your outreach, not on its quantity.

For each of your follow-ups, set up the number of days after which you want the follow-up to be sent.

schedule follow up woodpecker screenshot
Then, for each of your emails – both the opening email and follow-ups you can:

  • set up the days of the week and the time windows when you want your messages to be sent,
  • choose the timezone appropriate for your prospects manually or have it detected automatically by Woodpecker.

How to set up delivery time in Woodpecker

You can choose up to three time windows a day when your emails will be sent out. To add a time slot you need to click the ‘+’ symbol right next to the day of the week name.

If you don’t want any emails to be sent on weekends, untick Sat and Sun in the delivery time settings. If you want to send your emails before noon, set the time frame at e.g. 7AM – 11AM.

To schedule your messages to be sent in your prospect’s timezone tick the “Use prospect’s timezone if available” box. Woodpecker will then detect a prospect’s timezone based on their country. 

Here’s more how your messages will be sent from Woodpecker >>

Step 4: Add prospects to your campaign

As you scroll down below the messages, you’ll see the Prospects section. You can add prospects to your campaign in three ways:

How to add prospects in Woodpecker

a) Type in their data manually – if you have just a few prospects to add:

  • Click ‘Add prospect’ on the right above the prospects spreadsheet.
  • You’ll see that the first field in the spreadsheet is ready to be filled manually.
  • Type in the prospect’s email address (required).
  • Use Tab to go on to the next editable field in the spreadsheet (First name, Last name, etc.)

How to add prospects manually in Woodpecker

b) Import their data from a CSV file – if you have more prospects to add at once:

  • Make sure you have a properly prepared spreadsheet, that has been saved as UTF-8 encoded CSV  including the data you want to use as personalization custom fields in your emails, for instance:
    Example CSV Prospect Base Woodpecker
  • Click ‘Import prospects’ on the right above the prospects spreadsheet.
  • Choose the previously prepared CSV file.
  • Decide if Woodpecker should update the duplicates or ignore them (don’t worry about that when you import your first contact base).
  • Click ‘Upload and import’.
    How to add prospects in Woodpecker
  • Woodpecker will ask you to match the columns in your CSV to the columns in the prospects spreadsheet. Email will be recognized automatically, but please remember to match the rest yourself. The unmatched fields will not be imported.
  • As you match the fields, click the blue ‘next>’ button to preview some data from your CSV.
  • If your CSV spreadsheet involves labels in the first row, tick the checkbox at the bottom to ignore the first row.
  • Click the green ‘Import’ button.

How to add prospects in Woodpecker

As you have some prospects typed in or imported from a CSV file, tick those prospects who you want to send the emails from this campaign.

  • You can tick them one by one,
  • or use the ‘Select all’ button to tick all on the page,
  • or click ‘Select all’ once again to mark all filtered prospects on all pages.

c)Add prospects from your existing database in Woodpecker

Click “add prospects” and then choose “From database”.  Select prospects that already exist in your database, and click “Add” to add them to your campaign.

How to add prospects from database in Woodpecker

Please remember that you can filter your prospects by Status, Campaign they are in, Contacted (YES/NO), the file they were Imported from, or by Tags.

Step 5: Preview and send the campaign

How to preview a campaign in Woodpecker

Before we send any emails, we usually want to check if everything looks as it should. There are two ways to preview the campaign before sending it.

Click ‘preview’ to see emails in both Paths.

If-campaigns in Woodpecker

When Path YES is underlined in green and also marked in the outline, you will see emails from this path only. The blue rectangle symbolizes the Condition. Similarly, when you click ‘Path NO’ you’ll see emails from this path. It should be underlined in blue and marked in the outline. Below the outline, you can see a preview of your opening email and all the follow-ups in both Paths.

You can also preview your campaign by sending a test campaign. If you click ‘Send test campaign’, Woodpecker will send the whole sequence at once to your own email address, so you could check how the emails render in your email client.

If everything looks ok, you can click the green ‘Save and send’ button to start sending the campaign (it will be sent according to delivery times settings, of course).

How to preview your campaign in Woodpecker

Or if you want to save it without starting yet, just click ‘Save as draft’.

You will be able to view and edit all saved campaigns on your list of Campaigns in Woodpecker.

***

So that’s how to set up your cold email campaign in Woodpecker. That’s the first part of our quickstart guide. You can do much more afterward when your campaigns are already running. See how to use campaign stats and how to access particular prospects’ engagement, Part 2:

Woodpecker.co Quickstart Guide: How to use cold email stats >>

Cathy is the Woodpecker blog’s creator & chief contributor. She used to spend lots of time contacting prospects, especially via email. One of the 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.

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