Getting Started With 41% Open Rate For Oncobox

Open Rate
Email Deliverability
Andrew Garazha
CEO at Oncobox

The easiest way to secure a high open rate and great mailbox performance is to start building your email outreach with the assistance of professional email marketers. Following the guidelines is one thing: you still may not be prepared for sudden pitfalls or obstacles, so it’s always good to be able to consult someone who can instantly break the situation down and tell you what you can do to avoid the worst-case scenario and make the best-case scenario happen. 

Following the guidelines is one thing: you still may not be prepared for sudden pitfalls or obstacles, so it’s always good to be able to consult someone who can instantly break the situation down and tell you what you can do to avoid the worst-case scenario and make the best-case scenario happen

The owner of Oncobox did exactly that. Oncobox is a company created by a group of medical doctors, molecular biologists, bioinformaticians, and other world-renowned professionals who dedicated themselves to studying cancer and its molecular mechanisms. They seek to design new ways to treat late-stage cancer patients, expanding their options. The goal of this group was to reach out to research centers and universities in order to attract scientific minds and investors willing to fund their research for innovative cancer treatment. Wanting to get high deliverability without worrying about friction, the team reached out to Folderly. 

Breaking point

This was the case when the client turned to Folderly not to get rid of outreach issues but to prevent them. The Oncobox group wanted to build their email campaigns from scratch, and they needed these campaigns to perform flawlessly. Therefore, they wanted Foldelry experts to oversee the process of building campaigns from the very beginning. 

The Folderly team was happy to oblige. 


1. Creating a new domain. Since the client approached us before building any outreach, we started with the most basic steps, such as registering a private named domain for Oncobox on Gmail. 

Some entrepreneurs (such as small startups and one-person businesses) make the mistake of registering a free @gmail domain instead of paying for a private, named one. They believe that by doing that, they save up on their much-needed funds and that getting a named domain is something medium-sized companies or large enterprises should do. However, the truth is that a named domain is much more secure and trustworthy than a free domain. It’s not even that your human recipients take you more seriously when you use a named domain - spam filters consider you a legitimate sender and don’t react with animosity when you start sending large volumes of emails (which is the essential part of a B2B email outreach). 

2. Generating email authentication protocols. To be more precise, we tweaked the DNS records that were generated together with the new domain in order to match the client’s outreach goals. After making sure that the client’s DKIM signature is generated correctly, we made a list of mailing services and apps Onbobox intended to use for email outreach, determined the best sending policy, and used our Folderly SPF record generator to create the SPF record that was perfectly tailored for Oncobox campaigns. 

Default DNS records aren’t always perfect for your email marketing. When you send a large volume of emails, you need to establish specific policies that receiving servers can follow when processing and authenticating your mail. Also, you must be very attentive about the service you use for outreach - if they aren’t mentioned in your SPF record, they won’t be authenticated properly. 

With both DKIM signature and SPF record in place, we were able to go forward and work on the DMARC policy necessary for making the client’s email marketing safe both for the Oncobox team and the intended recipients. We went for a “quarantine” policy instead of the basic “none” police, i.e., instructed all receiving services to send all mail that failed authentication checks to junk folders. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, not all senders understood the importance of DMARC policy. Only after phishers started spoofing legitimate domains en masse due to the lack of a DMARC signature, did companies and businesses realize that they needed to apply all necessary layers of protection if they wanted to avoid data theft, identity theft, and reputation damage. So, without a DMARC policy, there is no system for authenticating your emails and separating suspicious messages from the legitimate ones. 

Last but not least, we helped the client add a BIMI record that displayed the Oncobox company logo in the recipients’ inboxes. When it comes to such areas as cancer treatment research (and when you pursue the goal of finding investors), it was imperative to prove that Oncobox was a legitimate organization, completely honest in its intentions of researching cancer and helping late-stage cancer patients. BIMI was a greeting card that allowed the recipients to instantly identify the company and remain confident about any further communication. 

A BIMI record is going to be a must-have for many brands and companies soon. It can’t be forged, and it serves as the extension of the DMARC policy. Therefore, when someone has BIMI, they have other email authentication protocols in place - something no spammer or phisher won’t bother with. This is why dedicating some time to creating a BIMI record and an inbox icon will reward you handsomely in the long run. 

3. Template check. After laying down the foundation for Oncobox email outreach, we looked at the content. We put the Oncobox templates through Folderly audit, scanning them for spam trigger words and misplaced links, making sure that the recipients could see the full sender bio.

It’s quite possible that you would have to adjust your email templates more than once. However, you should always remember not to add more than 3 links per email (1 link would be optimal), not make a long-read out of a short 1,5-minute message and avoid making your content look too corny or salesy. The latter can be avoided by omitting any spam trigger words from your emails - that can be done with the help of the latest spam trigger word list. 

4. Warm-up campaigns. When we settled the matters with templates, we were able to launch our first warm-up campaigns for the Oncobox domain to prepare it for massive email outreach and make sure that the client’s emails won’t be sent to junk folders. 

Warm-up campaigns are the only way of helping a new domain to gain strength, reputation, and credibility. They allow for building up a steady and consistent activity that was appealing to internet service providers and spam filters, showing them that you’re a law-obedient sender and won’t abuse your domain or the trust of email services.  

Our teams worked together with the Oncobox team to pinpoint the best time slots for sending mail. Based on our insights, we created a schedule for delivering messages. We made sure to send emails every day at the exact time, creating a regular and solid mailbox performance. 

The warm-up emails were sent to a specific list of email addresses that already had a high engagement rate with the client and guaranteed a good fraction of responses and interactions with the sender. It helped the client's sending reputation grow by showing that the conversation between Oncobox and its recipients is genuine and dynamic.

5. Monitoring and maintenance. During the warm-up campaigns, we instructed the client on the best practices for sending emails, outlined all the red flags to keep an eye out for, and provided the email marketing roadmap. 

Email marketing isn’t a static process. It’s full of pitfalls and rapid changes, requiring constant attention, regular analysis, and troubleshooting from your marketing team. So even if you manage to launch your email outreach campaigns, you must still watch them closely for every drop in performance. 

6. Working on issues. In several months of our cooperation, we saw a slight deliverability decrease. 

For an entry-level sender, this change may not seem alarming, but an experienced email marketer knows that it’s a cue to instantly dig through DNS records, email templates, and other components of email outreach. 

We didn’t wait for the issue to fester and immediately responded with a Folderly domain health check and mailbox audit. The latter revealed the issues with email templates - after the lists of spam trigger words got updated once again, spam filters started finding Oncobox content too spammy. Therefore, the receiving servers began redirecting the client’s emails to spam folders. After rewriting email templates and checking them with our Folderly tools, we could see that the deliverability started slowly going back to its former levels. 


  • Smooth performance from the get-go.  Because we started building the cold email outreach from scratch, the client didn’t see any setbacks or issues with the email campaigns. It meant that in several months after the warm-up campaigns, the Oncobox performance was stable and productive. 
  • Instant 41% open rate. After Oncobox rolled out its official campaigns, it was incredibly easy to secure a high amount of opens. The client started out with a 41% open rate - it was a very positive KPI that was growing dynamically during our monitoring process.

  • Great growth potential. Currently, the client’s campaigns are going steady, delivering an adequate amount of responses and interactions from the intended target audience. The client was successful in reaching the relevant industries and areas, which allowed the Oncobox team to plan on expanding to new locations and specialists.
  • Templates updated to match the latest email marketing trends. We kept reviewing the client’s templates to make sure that their content remains valuable to the potential target audience and can always be distinguished from the harmful content sent by spammers and phishers.

Key takeaways

  • Don’t settle for generated DNS records. When your goal is massive email outreach, you will inevitably have to tweak your SPF record and your DMARC policy in order to secure the best performance without clashing with spam filters and email service providers. So, you must know in advance which outreach services, tools, and third-party apps you will be using for email marketing - and be able to make sense of reports generated by your DMARC policy. 
  • Always start with warming up your new domain. Good introductions can take you a long way. Keep that in mind after creating a new named domain. Email service providers and spam filters are apprehensive about any newcomers in the email outreach process, so you must soothe their fears and take all the time necessary to prove that you’re a credible sender.
  • Stay vigilant after launching your first outreach campaigns. No matter how good things look in the beginning, anything can change in a blink of an eye. Use monitoring tools and run domain audits to stay on your course to success and be ahead of the curve, not letting minor deliverability issues mutate into the large ones.
  • Involve professionals at the earliest stages of building email outreach. The sooner you employ professional assistance, the better it would be for your campaigns. A competent expert will help you with laying down the foundation for your domain and productivity, let you keep your eyes on the prize, and make it clear where you are on your roadmap and how far you are from your desired goal. Such an approach will let you gain max visibility while saving as much of your nerves as possible. 


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