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: Write your personalized messages
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.

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 the 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? >>

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.

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

Step 2: Write your personalized messages

Create your first message in the sequence – an opening email. You can do this by typing the message directly in Woodpecker, or you can copy the message from your file.

campaign editor screen



  • 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. 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 the copy of follow-ups, make sure you follow the two important rules I mentioned above.

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
Additionally, for each of your emails – both the opening and the follow-ups:

  • set up the days of the week,
  • the hour time frames at which you want the sending to take place,
  • and choose the time zone appropriate for your prospects.

schedule emails at woodpecker

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.


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 two ways:

add prospects screenshot

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.)


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’.
  • 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.


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 to.

  • 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.

The little blue link-like buttons allow you to easily search prospects or filter groups of prospects, e.g. by imported file, tags, country, etc. – that’s useful when your prospects’ base grows bigger.


Step 5: Preview and send the campaign

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.

1. Click ‘preview’ to see in a browser what the emails will look like.

2. Click ‘Send test email’ and 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).

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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