Mailshake Review

Mailshake Review

Powerful tool to streamline and optimize your cold email outreach campaigns.

Pros

  • Automates the sending and follow-up of cold email outreach campaigns
  • Large library of proven templates
  • Real-time analysis of your campaigns to improve effectiveness and reduce likelihood of being marked as spam

Cons

  • Primarily works with Gmail or Gsuite accounts
  • Limited report customization
  • Limited support options

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

This is a guest post from Kaitlin Little.

Mailshake Pricing

  • Basic Plan starts at $29/month per user
  • Pro Plan (most popular) costs $49/month per user
  • Discounts available for yearly payment, and users can receive a 30-day refund guarantee

Table of Contents

Email outreach can be one of the most effective ways to grow your business.

In my business, cold email has helped generate leads, improve sales, and build meaningful relationships with others in the industry.

However, the downside to cold email is that it can also be extremely time-consuming to manage and difficult to do well. With inboxes becoming more crowded, it can be challenging to find a way to cut through the noise and reach your prospects. This makes it imperative to generate a strong subject line to get your email opened, personalize your email to each recipient, and follow up in a non-spammy way to get a response.

You'll also need to track your metrics and test different variations to improve your strategy and campaign. Trust me when I say this is a lot of work! It used to take me hours to send small batches of highly-personalized emails, and then even longer to manage the follow-ups in a spreadsheet. If you're trying to do this at scale, it's inevitable that some tasks will start to fall through the cracks.

This is exactly where Mailshake can prove immensely powerful. Mailshake helps you manage all of this and more on auto-pilot.

What is Mailshake?

Mailshake is a cold email tool that helps businesses improve their sales and marketing. If you've ever used cold email to generate leads, build links, or promote your content, you know how time-consuming the process can be. Mailshake automates the sending/follow up of your campaigns, allowing you to scale your customer outreach with less effort.

Before we go any further, I want to clarify what Mailshake doesn't do. The software is not a CRM (customer relationship manager) tool, and it won't help you find leads or contact information. You simply plug in your prospect's information and the software will automatically send emails at set intervals from your account.

Is Cold Email Spam?

Let me clear up the distinction. Cold email often gets a bad rap and is frequently mentioned interchangeably with spam. If you're sending hundreds of generic unsolicited emails to random lists, then yes, you are likely sending spam.

However, cold email is entirely different. Cold email involves sending a personalized message to a highly targeted audience with a valid business reason for contacting your prospect. While it is an unsolicited email, you're showcasing a specific value proposition that your recipient might take you up on. Sending cold email isn't illegal, although you need to make sure you comply with CAN-SPAM rules to avoid any violations.

How to Use Mailshake

Mailshake has a simple step-by-step approach to setting up your first campaign. Below, I'll discuss how to use Mailshake and start automating your outreach.

Connect Your Account

To send emails using Mailshake, you will first need to connect a Google Account to your Mailshake account. This is the email you will be using for outreach. You can connect other email accounts, although you will still need to make sure the email is set up as an alias within your Gmail account.

Mailshake Review Connecting With Gmail

Create a List of Prospects

As mentioned above, Mailshake is solely a marketing automation software system, and not a lead generation tool. This means you will still need to find the recipients' email addresses that you plan to reach out to on your own, either manually or using another tool, and add them into a spreadsheet.

While Mailshake only requires your lead's email address to get started, you're going to want to find more information about them. For example, I always include the recipient's name, company they are associated with and their website URL. Once you have added this information to your spreadsheet, you can include it as a text replacement within your template. This will allow you to send highly personalized emails at scale and significantly improve the effectiveness of your campaigns with an increased response rate.

Mailshake Review Creating Leads Spreadsheet With Google Drive

Building a targeted list is one of the most important steps, as the accuracy of the information you collect will be vital to the success of your campaign.

Start a New Campaign and Upload Recipient List

Once your recipient list is ready, you can start creating your campaign. To do this, you simply need to name your campaign appropriately (e.g. Guest Post Outreach Feb 14th, 2019), select your desired email address to send emails from (if you have multiple accounts set up), and upload your CSV file with recipient information previously collected. Mailshake will then ask you to map your CSV file and confirm the corresponding columns to ensure all data pulls through correctly.

If you're on the Pro plan you will also have access to 5,000 list cleaning credits a month (you can also purchase separately). This list cleaning runs your prospects' email addresses through an email verification tool, so that you can make sure the email addresses in your list are valid. Cleaning your list is important, as undeliverable email addresses can damage your sender-reputation and cause your email address to get marked as spam.

Mailshake Review Importing Contacts

Compose your Message

Now it's time to add the text for your messages. Mailshake has a range of different email templates that cover broken link building, cold sales outreach, follow-ups and more. If you do use a template, make sure you customize it accordingly and ensure that you have collected the required data for text replacements. You can also create your own emails from scratch and save them as templates.

Mailshake Review Creating Email Template

Add Follow-up, Drip, or Email on Click

This is where Mailshake does some serious heavy lifting. The application allows you to build advanced email sequences by sending a follow-up email, drip email, or trigger-based emails. Each of these emails has a specific purpose and can help you engage with your recipient at the right time.

  • Follow-up Emails: Sent at a specific interval (e.g. X days after your initial email), and will continue to be sent until a recipient becomes a lead (e.g. replies to your email), or opts out.
  • Drip Emails: Delivered continuously regardless of the action a recipient takes. Drip messages are always sent as a new email.
  • Trigger-based Emails: A specific email sent when a recipient clicks on a link. Tracking clicks can be very powerful, but it can also impact your spam rate. It's highly recommended that you set up a custom tracking domain to protect your account when tracking links.
Mailshake Review Follow Up Template

Preview and Send your Campaign

Mailshake includes an option to preview your emails and campaigns before sending. This is where you can make any final adjustments, but understand that the changes you make here won't impact your initial template. It's important to quickly look over every email, as the last thing you want, is a spelling mistake or text replacement field missing. Nothing loses trust from a prospect more than an email which says "Hello {name}".

Once you're ready to go, you can schedule your campaign to go out at a specific time, or send it immediately. Mailshake also has advanced options, such as the ability to set the time zone for your send (e.g. EST or PST) and send in batches.

Mailshake Review Campaign Customization

What I Like About Mailshake

There's a lot to like about Mailshake. Below, I'll cover some of the key features that have helped me save loads of time and improve my outreach campaigns.

Pre-written Templates

The software also comes with several pre-written templates to suit a range of different purposes (e.g. guest posts, lead generation, link building, etc.). These are excellent starting points, but you'll need to make sure that you customize each template before you send anything. Personalization is the key to success, and Mailshake helps you do this at scale by incorporating text replacements. You can use any column of your spreadsheet as a text replacement.

Mailshake Review Selecting Outreach Template

Sending Calendar Feature

What I really like about Mailshake is that you can easily manage all of your upcoming emails directly in a calendar format. You can space your emails throughout the day, ensuring that each message hits your recipient's inbox when they're most likely to respond, and limit the number of emails you send each day, which is necessary to avoid getting flagged or marked as spam. For example, Gmail has a sending limit of 500 emails per day.

Mailshake's visual calendar also allows you to adjust sending rules to block out certain days (e.g. don't send on weekends), space out emails (e.g. 5 minutes between sends), and limit the amount you can send per batch and per day. The software will intelligently structure all your campaigns and build a sending calendar according to your rules.

Mailshake Review Outreach Calendar

Lead Catcher

When you're trying to send emails at scale, it can be challenging to find and keep track of all your correspondences. However, for every response you receive, Mailshake will automatically add the recipient into a Leads inbox. This keeps everything organized and allows you to quickly find a lead and respond accordingly. You can view the entire history (messages, link clicks, opens, etc.), add a status for quick reference (ignore, won, lost), and reply directly in Mailshake. If you work in a team, you can also assign the lead to another user, though they will need to have an active Mailshake account.

One incredibly useful feature of Mailshake's Lead Catcher is the ability to change how leads are captured. By default, anyone who replies to your email is defined as a lead, although you can customize this according to your requirements. For example, you might want to consider a lead as a someone who "Replies to your email 1 time and Opens 4+ times" or perhaps someone who "Opens 3+ times and Clicks on a specific link". Using different conditions, you can ensure only qualified and interested recipients make it to your Lead Catcher for follow up.

Campaign Reporting and Activity

To see results, you need to be constantly tracking and optimizing your emails. For example, are people opening your emails? Are you getting a positive response rate? Tracking this type of information will ensure more effective campaigns and help you improve your outreach ROI.

Mailshake allows you to track opens, link clicks, replies, and bounced emails for each campaign you create. You can compare results as an overview (e.g. assess if one campaign outperformed another), or click into individual campaigns to see how each email performed at different stages of your funnel.

While Mailshake provides some excellent analytics, I would love to see the ability to build more customized reports and compare campaigns based on a date range. At the moment, you can only view analytics for the last 30 days on a graph or do this by exporting the data to a CSV file.

Mailshake Review Campaign Reports

What are Mailshake's Drawbacks?

Mailshake doesn't pretend to be something it's not. The software is all about simplifying your cold email capabilities, and every feature has been built to support this overall goal. Mailshake is also continuously improving the product with new updates. However, there are still some drawbacks (or more personal gripes) I've found when using the product.

It Can Be Pricey

When I first started using Mailshake, it was only $19/month, which for the amount of available features, was amazingly good value. The company has since raised the price to $29/month for the entry-level plan and $49/month for the pro version. Compared to Gmass, which starts at $6.95/month and has similar core functionality, it can be a bit pricey.

However, Mailshake includes some additional features that can make it worth the extra few dollars. For example, you can preview/customize each email prior to sending (instead of using drafts in Gmass), make live campaign edits, and utilize a range of pre-written outreach templates. In addition, Mailshake has a dedicated user interface (as opposed to being a Chrome extension like Gmass), which makes it much easier to manage multiple campaigns on the go.

Limited to Gmail and Gsuite Accounts

One problem you might run into with Mailshake is if you're using an email provider other than Gmail (for example, Outlook). While it is possible to use Mailshake with nearly any email provider, it does require extra technical knowledge, as you need to set up an alias in Gmail. There is also an option to send emails with SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol), which allows Mailshake to connect to your email provider, and can be used for most addresses. However, this feature is still currently in Beta testing and has sending limits of 100 emails per day.

The easiest and most effective way to use Mailshake is to utilize a business email with Gsuite. You can get a branded email address (e.g [email protected]) for only $5/month, which will work seamlessly with Mailshake and has higher sending limits.

Limited Support

While it may not be a big deal for some users, it's worth mentioning that there is no live chat or phone support with Mailshake. The company only offers email support, so you won't get an immediate response if you need urgent assistance. However, response times are generally fast (typically within a day) and customer service has been pretty reliable. They also have a helpful video library section that walks you through the set-up process and an in-depth knowledge base, where you can find answers to common questions if you get stuck.

Mailshake Review Support Videos

Is Mailshake Right for You?

With over 22,000 customers, it's clear that Mailshake is effectively solving an important problem. Cold email is time-consuming, challenging, and often discouraging when you're not seeing results. The software offers a simple solution to streamline and improve your campaigns through automation, templates, and training.

I've used the software for generating leads, but it's also highly effective for building links or automating PR outreach. The interface is easy to navigate and the templates are extremely helpful for beginners, allowing you to use proven email copy and add personalization through text replacements. If you're looking for simple, tried-and-tested software to automate cold email, analyze campaigns, and achieve results with your outreach, then Mailshake is a top solution.

Kaitlin Little is a Freelance Writer who helps Health and Wellness brands grow their audience online. She's an Exercise Sports Scientist, Health and Physical Education Teacher and has a background in Physical Rehabilitation. Kaitlin is an active traveler and blogs at Balanced Abroad.

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