Best Practices

This article gives advice on best practices to help you get the most out of SourceWhale.

Soumya Jud avatar
Written by Soumya Jud
Updated over a week ago

It is easy to be drawn into adding large numbers of people into campaigns, but this can lead to poor email deliverability, decreased open, reply rates and not to mention unhappy recipients who feel they have been mass-mailed. Your time is much better spent focusing on refining an extra level of personalisation which will ensure that you get the best results possible from your campaigns. The key metric to focus on is the reply rate as open rates are not an exact science. A reply rate of 10% is what you should be aiming for and is a good indicator. Here are some points on best practices to incorporate into your outreach efforts:

Subject Lines

Subject lines are the first thing your recipient will see in their inbox. Stand out by using variables such as a {{first name}} for candidate sourcing or {{company}} for business development. Since most people open emails on their phones, subject lines can be cut off after 40 characters. Due to this, we recommend adding the personalised part first as it may not be viewed if the subject line is too long and to keep subject lines under 40 characters.

Email Copy

Writing a personalised sentence in each message sequence increases the reply rate from an average of 18% to 34.5%. But don’t overthink it! It only has to be a sentence that references something from their profile or CV or mentions a particular piece of content they have interacted with recently (on LinkedIn or any social site - found through the SourceWhale extension).

It is best to have this personalisation in the first line of the email, so the reader engages straight away and more inclined to read on. In addition, we recommend using three or more {{variables}} in each step to ensure there is personalisation throughout the entirety of your campaign.

We advise against using message templates from the internet or that don't originate from your own business. This is because if a template is being used by anyone else who has spammy behaviour and is going into the spam folder, your emails with the same pattern of words/template could also be picked up for spam, even if you don't have content that is at risk of spam. You should always write your own copy as far as possible and hence why SourceWhale doesn't provide message templates.

For guidance on the copy you have written, try using our content checker/suggestions box feature by clicking on the red circle located on the bottom left corner of the campaign step text box.

A/B Testing

For every campaign step, you have the option to create two different messages by A/B testing (i.e. Step 1A and Step 1B) in order to test which messaging resonates more strongly with your contacts.

When creating two different versions of a step, we recommend only changing one sentence/variable so it is easy to measure which part of the email yielded more engagement. Example: use a different subject line for each version.

Once you have tested the different step versions, you can use the most engaging version in future outreach.


Follow-up emails are absolutely key to success and lead to 70% of all responses. We recommend having between 3-4 email steps in your campaigns (depending on your region's formalities) by utilising SourceWhale's auto-email follow-ups. Increase chances of replies by using multi-channel outreach such as augmented Linkedin and phone call steps.

By default, all email steps are sent as a reply. We recommend keeping this setting on, as it bumps the first email message to the top of your recipient's inbox and views as if you have an ongoing conversation with them.

The best follow-up emails are natural, short in length, and refer again to the personalised content in your first email. Try using the {{previousStepDay}} variable in your follow-up to accomplish this.

Finding Value

Clarify the value you can offer each target individual that would make them want to respond. Getting a response should be the main aim of your outreach as this will also improve the credibility of your email domain. Replies are a recruiter’s gold dust to avoiding spam and hitting inboxes.

Offering something of value to that person, either now or in the future, is often a great way to elicit a response. This can be a great opportunity, career benefits, a referral fee, a common interest, or networking for the future. Break down what you have to offer in a bullet point list to present the information in an easy-to-digest manner. Avoid mentioning the job compensation amount, as this could be picked up by spam filters.

Call to Action

The end of each email or InMail step should include a direct call to action to encourage a response. Phrase your call to action as an open-ended question or give two options to prevent the recipient from saying 'No'.

Use the {{SenderCalendarLink}} variable in your email steps to auto-populate your calendar link and give your contact a way to book time in with you if they prefer to not respond. If the contact books a meeting on your calendar through your calendar link, this will stop outreach for the contact the same way an email response does.

You can set up your calendar link by clicking on your profile icon in SourceWhale > Profile > Calendar Link.

Message Shape

We recommend writing your messages in the shape of an 'F' by having a longer first line in the message. Following this, we suggest shortening the sentences as the message progresses, finishing off the outreach with a short call to action sentence. This enables you to bring the recipient that is reading the message to a close.


Make sure you diversify your outreach type. Rather than just sending email after email, try adding communication over other platforms, such as a Connection Request or InMail. This is important, as the contact may check one platform more frequently than another.

Note: US and Canada-based clients are able to use SMS as an automatic outreach type in SourceWhale.


Make your outreach entertaining and funny. Making someone laugh is more likely to get a response and using your own content shows effort. You can create custom images with personalised text from the campaign editor (see below).

We recommend not putting images or GIFs too early in your sequences. We usually reserve images or GIFs for our breakup (last) emails, so they have the least impact on deliverability. Keep in mind that prospects are receiving lots of similar outreach messages every day, it is important to make yours stand out from the rest.


Creating a targeted and well-researched list is mission-critical in order to maximise your open and reply rates and maintain strong email domain credibility. Essentially, have some certainty that the people you are reaching out to will be interested in what you have to offer.


Take action to avoid your emails from being marked as spam and improve your email deliverability. If you are starting with a brand new domain or email address, take a look at our advice page on avoiding spam issues.

For deliverability purposes, the daily email sending limit defaults at 150 emails per day with a minimum time of three minutes between emails. Although you are able to change these options in your SourceWhale profile, we do not recommend sending out more than 200 emails per day, as this could increase your chances of going into spam.

Activity Icons

Keep an eye on the activities icon next to each contact. You can hover over each grey icon to see what the activity is, and when it happened or when it is scheduled to happen.

If you notice a hand symbol in the activities column, this means an email has bounced. We recommend actioning bounce backs immediately by going to the Bounces section in the To-Dos page of SourceWhale. This will prevent any extended disruptions in your outreach.

Here is a list of icons you may find next to each contact:

Additional suggested resources:

Stuck or need some help? Click on the chat icon at the bottom right-hand corner to connect with our support team! 💬

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