One of the articles I was meaning to write for a long time is an inside, first-person look into what a properly executed cold email campaign looks like.
What happens between organising a campaign and swimming in a sea of leads?(exaggeration intended)
I’ll give you a hint – a bit of grinding, disappointment with your initial results, a bit of iterating, and finally achieving cold mailing nirvana:
Knowing how to achieve predictable results, and understanding of the mechanics and limitations of this strategy.
Direct connection means direct influence
By providing a bit of value upfront, you’re aiming to positively influence someone to move towards closing a deal with you.
The “someone” is predefined – it’s your target customer, the direct decision maker from another B2B company that has buying authority.
Assume you have that already, plus:
- a list of contacts to hundreds of your target customers – or way to constantly generate new contacts
- insights into their professional pains
- knowledge how your solution can solve those pains
This is a lot of info, and it’s not easy to get. Enough to create the first, short, simple version of your cold email chain. Which, in a basic form, should look like this:
- introduction – first, main message that’s supposed to introduce you and sell your main value
- follow-ups (usually up to 8) – additional messages that remind someone of you, and give you an opportunity to show multiple benefits of working with you (or using your product)
Sending and maintaining the campaign – the grind
It typically starts by sending 100 emails. This initiates the email chain, and automated mailing software keeps sending messages every few days (in custom time periods) until the last follow-up to your target customers.
That’s except those that respond to one of your emails, of course. And each week you initiate the email chain to another 100 decision makers.
Your first email won’t tell you much about the performance of your campaign – anyone that’s ran cold email campaigns will tell you that most potential clients convert from follow-up emails. Everyone is super busy these days, so it’s not about spamming someone. You’re trying to hit the time window when they can see your email close to the top of their inbox.
You can really analyse your whole campaign only after you send the last follow-up. And that’s when you iterate – change your subject line, the contents, analyse what’s wrong with your emails and improve.
Additionally you’ve got to monitor the health of your email client. There are many mistakes than can direct messages towards spam rather than someone’s main inbox.
As you can see a lot of testing and improving goes into developing a proper email campaign. Here are some of the main things that regularly require analysing and improving:
- your target customer group – their location, type of business, company size, etc.
- <target customer pains that you mention in emails
- value propositions that show how you solve those pains
- email titles
- copywriting in emails – style, form, length
- CTAs (Call-to-action)
- time of sending
- length of email chain
At some point your target customers start replying to your emails. This is when you can work on closing a deal – it’s your main goal, but cold emails can also benefit you even if they don’t lead to a closed deal.
Your target customers are worth much more than cold hard cash
To me best cold emailing is not just about the sale (even though it’s the main goal) – it’s mainly about connection.
Play your cards right and connections made from cold emails can positively influence the way your run your whole company.
To strengthen the connection, you need to abide by a few cold mailing commandments once you’ve connected with someone (they responded to your email):
- Be nice – not an all-loving, Ghandi-type person. Just be nice – find a good balance between politeness, humor, and professionalism
- Stay online – use that smartphone of yours. Mobile email notifications are a must, it’s best if you respond to emails within 20 minutes or less
- Always write back – take responsibility for being the first one to write. They don’t like that you wrote? Say “I’m sorry” and stop sending them emails, problem solved. Just don’t ignore someone that you started a conversation with
- Make a point of connecting closer – email is the start, it’s the best way to initiate a relationship and pre-qualify potential clients. Magic happens when you convert emails into calls or meetings
- Don’t send offers (pdf or other format) – you’re aiming for a human-to-human connection so ask yourself this: would you send someone a pdf about how awesome you are if you wanted to befriend them?
When there’s a good connection, that’s when you can offer your solution and expect a decent response.
That’s also when you can ask for something in return – there’s huge value in asking for feedback and referrals. You can get new clients from cold emails (do it to the best), but also ideas for improvement and additional connections.
You can’t ask for everything though. Your main goal is to close a deal – work on it until you get a definite “no”. Once you know closing a deal at the moment won’t be possible, you can switch focus to ask for feedback or referral to a friend.
Profit from cold mailing
To get new clients you need a plan. And there aren’t many bad strategies – I know this cliche is getting old, but – there’s usually just bad execution.
It works in case of every marketing, sales or product development strategy. Your plan can be a few sentences long, but you’ve got to follow it to the letter if you want to achieve predictable results.
There are a lot of potential benefits hidden in cold email campaigns, but you need a defined plan and, most of all, refined execution.
You’re connecting with people in one of the most direct ways possible online. Your emails are a reflection of who you are – and have a chance to show your best side.
Enough effort and smarts will get you new clients, connections and valuable feedback without leaving your desk.