In a world of inbound marketing, it’s shocking to find out that most companies don’t depend on inbound to bring in sales, at least not at first that is.
Interestingly enough, the startups surrounding you and competing for the same users, are cold emailing or cold calling (but that’s another blog post). They’re buying massive email lists, and getting their earliest and most lucrative deals, while you’re blogging away hoping for Google to notice you.
It sucks, you want to be authentic, not a pushy salesman. You want people to find you, because they are far more likely to buy, and this kind of sale takes advantage of all of the work you’ve already done.
But, at the end of the day, you need growth, you need sales, you need happy investors, and you need to pay the bills. So, you need to do what works. Enter purchased email lists.
Cold Emailing Works
Companies like Growbots, Datanyze and others focus on helping you find the right companies and people to add to your cold emailing campaigns. They are growing by large numbers every year, and they wouldn’t be successful if cold emailing didn’t work for their clients.
But here is more proof:
EmberTribe itself has used purchased email lists. In fact, we’ve helped companies just like you generate over 4,000 qualified leads in 90 days by offering webinars to cold email recipients. Couldn’t your company use 4,000 leads?
Here’s how we did it:
High quality UNIQUE content: We helped the client produce a webinar series that was based on primary research the client had conducted (i.e. you couldn’t get this stuff anywhere else). It’s something that the target audience would typically pay for to receive in person (and pay handsomely).
We made the recipient the hero. Instead of ignoring us or feeling interrupted, this became an opportunity for them to provide a valuable resource to someone in their organization. We encouraged this through forwards and created a specific sharing widget on the landing page. e.g. “Share this with your colleague”
We excluded people with our copy to get rid of unqualified folks. We tried to get as segmented as possible with the list first. But even then, we made it clear that our content was only for people of a certain caliber. Drawing a bold line in the sand leaves an impression on those you really want to reach and tends to spur them to action as they self-identify more quickly.
Ultimately, this email + webinar endeavor led to 7 figures of revenue for the client.
NOTE: But this was a pleasant surprise, and I can’t emphasize it enough, this approach is ideal for making as many first handshakes as possible when you’re starting out. It lets you learn “at scale”. This isn’t an ideal long-term strategy because it can become highly transactional and doesn’t focus on building relationships.
Or Just listen to Jason Lemkin, another SaaS Startup Expert.
Here he and his team discuss the sales email template that won 16 new customers.
Here he simply says Cold email works, even if the one he is sharing doesn’t.
Jump Into Cold Emailing/ Buying Email Lists
Now that we’ve finally convinced you to come to the dark side of digital marketing, let’s get you moving in the right direction. In the following steps, we’ll discuss how to choose a list provider, email provider and write emails that get results.
Let’s get started:
Start by buying a quality list. You don’t want the spam reports, bounced emails and complaints, that come from poor list quality. In some cases, poor lists have even caused email providers to dump a company altogether.
Tips for choosing a list provider:
Pay for a quality list. Inexpensive lists are old and have been sold multiple times, meaning they’ve been pitched relentlessly and are likely to report you for spam. A quality list (combined with your ability to sell) will produce effective results for the higher investment, and you won’t have to deal with all of the negative side effects of being considered spam.
A quality list should give you email addresses of decision makers. The list shouldn’t contain multiple people at the same company, and should be company specific domains. Essentially a good list is one that allows you to get in touch with right person to make a sale.
All lists are not created equally, and this is directly related to the amount of money you’ll pay to get the list. If you are given hundreds of emails and names with little other information, it is probably a low quality list. If, on the other hand, your list has names, company domain emails, positions, and company names that you can verify, you are on the right path.
You should be able to segment your email list to write personalized and highly specific emails that the decision maker will appreciate.
Focus on the quality and targeted nature of the list vs the quantity of names and emails. You should be able to take a few names from your email list and compare them to their companies and business information to verify the quality. You should be able to give your list provider a detailed description of the types of leads you are hoping to email, the more receptive they are to this, the more likely they are to deliver quality.
Pick the right email service provider. You’ll need an email tool that:
- Enables tracking of actions and link clicks
- Integrates with your CRM
- Allows purchased list imports, this is often in the fine print
- Has high deliverability rates
- Allows you to personalize your emails
- Allows you to design drip campaigns
- Automatic unsubscribe features
Provide an unsubscribe option at the end of every email. This should be a requirement of the email provider.
Create an entire drip campaign. This should include, at minimum, one landing page to collect more information, and schedule demos, among several emails.
Invest in email copy. Your campaign success will be directly affected by the contents of your emails and subject lines. Tips from past successes and best practices:
- Personalize the greeting and contents if you have access to the data.
- Be concise and to the point. No one wants to feel they are wasting their time.
- Don’t talk about yourself. Tell the person/company what you can do for them.
- Have a series of escalating messages from 3-6 emails long.
- Use copy hacks to get the email opened, entice the reader, and get their attention.
- Sound genuine, the more authentic the email seems as coming from a person rather than being part of a drip campaign, the better your chances of inciting a response.
Sales vs Marketing
Keep in mind what department of your company will be contacting people. If it is your sales department, your campaign will want to focus on setting an appointment. If marketing is contacting people, you’ll write a campaign around getting people to take other actions. Always consider your goals.
Tips for your Drip Campaign
For the first email- In this email you have 1 objective: introduce yourself as someone of value. You can do this by greeting the recipient, giving them a reason for your email, and telling them what you can do for them.
The goal of your first email is to build a relationship with the recipient. You want to establish yourself as someone who can help them, by sharing an experience or success that you can also offer to them, for instance:
I’m sorry to interrupt your day, but I hope it will be worth your time. I recently wrote a case study for XYZ company and was able to get them 35 new company contracts for their tool. I wondered if you would be interested in reading how I did it? Here’s the link: xxyyzzcasestudy.com
Be specific about the benefits you provide. All marketers and companies promise more time, more money and fewer headaches. Be different, and offer a benefit that speaks specifically to what your product does, for instance: Build content as a team, Stay connected with the contacts that matter most, Get your done automatically with marketing automation, etc.
In your last bit of the email, offer something of value; a download, webinar, podcast, or a cheat-sheet, where you’ll gather more information about them. This piece must be highly relevant to a benefit for the reader, such as the email sample above.
Send a Did Not Open (DNO) email- This email will go to those who haven’t opened your previous email. It should have a different subject. After giving recipients a couple of days to read this, if they have not opened either email you might consider dropping them from the campaign.
Follow up emails- In your follow up emails, you’ll want to share content and case studies that display your value to others in the industry. For instance, share a customer story about how your product helped their business.
In each follow up, offer your webinar, or another lead generating piece. And where possible, give them an opportunity to start a conversation with you.
Years ago cold calling was the way to get sales. Today, a better choice is cold email drip campaigns. The options that marketing automation and drip campaigns offer are immensely useful in helping startups and SaaS companies save money on what used to be expensive campaigns.
Buy a targeted list, and build out a campaign that delivers value to the problems they face. Turn those interested parties into sales, and secure income from your earliest deals. And, as you build momentum from your cold emailing campaign, you can invest in the type of content and inbound marketing strategy that more closely represents the type of company you want to lead.