How I Email: Hugues Bugilimfura, Founder, Email at Scale

Email is a non-negotiable part of everyday life. For some, it’s an unruly time suck, but enlightened email users have systems to ensure they’re not a slave to the inbox. We’re asking smart thinkers to give us a peek inside their inboxes, share tips, ideas, gripes, and everything in between.

Hugues Bugilimfura is an email marketer who specializes in creating welcome sequences, abandon cart sequences and newsletters. He runs Email at Scale, a done-for-you newsletter service to drive sales. He generously shared some of his most effective strategies for creating email welcome sequences that get prospects to make a purchase.

What’s your daily approach to email? 

I use labels and folders to keep my inbox in check and help determine which emails get opened first.

Customer emails are top priority then comes everything else.

I maintain Inbox Zero by sorting my mail at the end of each day. If something wasn’t important enough to open today, it probably won’t be important tomorrow.

I also carry out a lot of outreach with Gmail, which is great because I get a notification or “nudge” to remind me to get in touch with prospects on my list.

What are your favorite email tools? 

I like to keep things as simple as possible.

I use ActiveCampaign for email marketing and GMass for cold mails [Editor’s note: Heck yeah on the GMass use!]. has also been great for verifying long lists of emails that I get from VA’s working on our cold outreach. I’ve never had them verify an email address that didn’t work.

What are some good ways to boost open rates for cold email?

My biggest tip would be to test different niches before you tweak subject lines.

For example, if you serve e-commerce stores, test your cold email against different types of stores like dropshipping, pet stores, supplements, etc. This will help build a very targeted intro message and initial offer in your cold email.

I sent 18 cold emails to 3 different types of SaaS companies.

The worst performing group had a 10% open rate while the best performing had a 72% open rate!

Which one do you think will be easier to optimize for in the future?

Effective targeting is the most important part of a cold email strategy.

Walk us through the top-level strategy for creating a welcome email sequence that helps increase sales. 

Here’s an optimal 5-day welcome email sequence. I have used this exact framework for a client which resulted in a 20% increase in signups and an average open rate of 35%.

Day 1: Welcome Email

✔️Intro (no more than 2 paragraphs). Introduce yourself and your mission behind this product

✔️Thank them for joining the list and tell them what to expect over the next 4 days. Describe the 2 big pains that you are going to solve over the next couple of days.

✔️Call To Action. Remind them to take the first step with in your onboarding process (activate free trial, bonus material, set up new account, etc.)

Day 2: First Big Win

✔️Describe the biggest pain that your product solves

✔️Show them how to solve that problem with your product

✔️Call To Action. Tell them to go and solve that pain right now and email you if they need any more help or information solving that one specific pain point.

Day 3: Second Big Win

✔️Describe the other big pain that your product solves (most successful products solve at least two big problems)

✔️Show them how to solve that problem with your product

✔️Call To Action (Same as Day 3)

Day 4: How your product will change their lives

✔️First proof

Show them what life looks like after you become a customer. Now is the time to sell the dream.

✔️Second proof

Add a customer story or case study that shows the results your customers have gotten with your product.

✔️Build Anticipation

Mention the special offer that you are going to make in the next email.

Day 5: Close the Sale

✔️Re-state all the benefits of your product

✔️Add a short testimonial

✔️Describe the special offer and when it will end. Add a countdown timer at the bottom to give them a sense of urgency (MotionMail has a free countdown timer that works with most ESPs)


Every email has a call to action which allows you to focus on a single message per email and makes it much easier to segment them in the future.

By focusing on one major pain per email you will begin to see which one resonates with your audience most and which action step leads to the most sales. Both of these bits of knowledge will help you tighten up your sales messages and value proposition.

If solving one big problem would be giving away the whole farm then solve a small problem in each email, the main goal is to deliver practical value in every email.