We are still at the early stages of growing our Content Marketing Agency, and like any new business finding new clients is one of the hardest tasks. I’ve been testing different marketing tactics over the past few weeks, but the results are still inconclusive about which tactic has the best ROI. I’ll write a post on my findings.
This post is a breakdown of my cold emailing strategy. A strategy which many service-based business owners are understandably very nervous to use.
Cold emailing is a touchy subject. We are all victims of bad cold emailing campaigns. We naturally think that a spammy attitude is the only way a campaign can be run, and an “I WOULD NEVER HIRE YOU”, is the only response to one.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I could get it to work myself when I started. But, I knew that it’s a tactic that if you can get right, could be a funnel which can be executed on repeat, week over week, and bring in as many clients as you could handle. Now that is worth a shot, right?
My first cold emailing campaign has put me in contact with several of my absolute ideal clients, one of whom said “I NEVER, answer cold emails, but there was something about yours which meant I just had to speak to you”. What a fantastic response, and I feel so blessed just to have spoken with her!
So, it's a tactic I am going to continue using, it can be done right if you follow this non-spammy approach. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty and I’ll tell you how I run my cold email campaigns.
The first stage is targeting. There is literally no point in launching a cold email campaign to a group of people you don’t want to work with. Hopefully you have some idea of your ideal client. If your ideal client is from one industry, say Web Designers, then you have an easier job. If, like me you are targeting a business at a certain stage of it's development, it’s a little bit trickier.
My ideal clients are female entrepreneurs who are making 6+ revenue per month from either a product or service-based business.
Apart from the stage of business they are in, this is still very vague targeting for a cold emailing campaign.
My first job was to get this super, super specific.
To help me narrow down my target audience I thought about what I wanted to sell and who it would benefit the most.
This is important - Which Group Of People Within Your Ideal Target Audience Will Benefit The Most From What You Have To Sell?
My product, (technically a service but I am thinking about everything in terms of product at the moment it makes it easier to sell), is a campaign for driving 600-800 warm and very happy leads into your business.
The method is influencer, partnership marketing and I designed the campaign for one of my business coaching clients. This kind of lead gen campaign is perfect for a business coach who has an informational product, group program or high value physical product to sell.
This helped me to narrow down my targeting for this campaign. I didn’t target only for female business coaches, I targeted for female business coaches who were making 6+ figure monthly revenue in their business.
Make sure you get as specific as possible before you start your campaign.
Gathering Your Targets
I write about the different ways you can gather targets more in 6 Steps To Launching A Guest Posting Campaign.
In this post, I am breaking down how I executed this campaign so I will focus on the tool I used, Ninja Outreach. If you don’t have this tool and don’t have the money to spend then please check out the post where I give some other ideas for you to gather your targets.
With Ninja Outreach it is super, super easy. I went to the Content Prospecting tab and entered “Business Coach” into the search bar. I can search up to 5000 contacts which I did. From here I used the filter options to narrow down my search.
I’m looking for business coaches that are making 6+ figures. There is no really easy way to find this out in a matter of minutes. What I did here was made an assumption. I know for sure that this has left a huge ton of interesting coaches out but in this case I just want to build a list of 200 people relatively quickly so that’s okay.
I use the filter tabs to filter by linking domains. I only want to see websites with over 100 linking domains. It is very likely that a website with around 100 links pointing to it has been around for two or three years perhaps even more than that.
In the end I have a list of over 2000 potential targets I can save to my coaching list.
Cleaning The List
Ninja Outreach is good for gathering contacts quickly, filtering by stats and location. But I have found that the contact details and name scraping is not very accurate. So, there always needs to be a manual list cleaning stage.
I advise you to ALWAYS, ALWAYS do this stage.
The secret to launching a cold email campaign without looking like a spammer is accuracy.
Poor accuracy is why so many campaigns fail. There will always be a little bit of error but you want to mitigate and reduce that as much as possible, this is your business reputation on the line!
So, spend time on this stage. For a list of 200 targets it usually takes me about 2 hours to go through and by the end I have around 150 left in the list.
Step 1: Sanity Check
Spend about 20 minutes going through your target list and clicking through onto any websites you want to double check. Delete anything which is spammy or irrelevant. You might have Huffington Post in their for example, or a company which once wrote about something you searched for but isn’t your target. This is the stage where I deleted any male led businesses / business coaches as this wasn't my target.
If you are just starting out this might take a bit longer than 20 minutes, you might feel the need to click onto every website. But, over time you get to know the different domain names and get a lot better at knowing what should stay or go.
Step 2: Compare Email Addresses Against Domain Name
This step is to check the accuracy of the email addressed that has already been scrapped. A quick way to do this is to line up the column for email address and domain name side by side. From here you can see if they are correct! Anything that looks dodgy or incorrect delete.
Step 3: Split Name Column
Never send an email using both the first and last name, it immediately looks like you’ve scraped it from a database. So split the name column using text to column function in excel. This will very quickly leave you with just the first names. Copy and paste that into the name column.
Step 4: Check Names Against Email
Go down the list and check the names against the emails. Sometimes you have an email for email@example.com and then the name is Bob. Delete or change any names which are incorrect.
Step 5: Find Missing Email Addresses
You will now have missing fields where Ninja Outreach hasn’t been able to find an email address. Use an email scraper to find the email addresses for the missing websites. If you still have some that cannot be found manually check yourself by going onto the website. Still can’t find it, delete from the list. As you go, add in the names for any firstname.lastname@example.org email addresses.
Step 6: Fill Blank Names with “there”
The only fields missing now should be some names. So for these just add “there”. You’ll know why when we come to pitching.
Now you should have an accurate list of around 150 targets. It’s always a balance here, and I urge you to test the balance out. You could spend a little less time on the accuracy for slightly worse results, you could spend a little more time and get better results. It’s really down to you & what fits your business!
You have your list, so now you need to craft the email which is going to get you that all important sales call.
I did some research and watched quite a few tutorials on this before I launched my campaign. I’m used to pitching content, not services. One tutorial in particular, used by some of the top agencies in the world had some fantastic advice.
The summary of it is this; don’t pitch your service, provide value.
And this is how you can launch a cold emailing campaign without looking like a spammer.
Instead of writing hey I’d like to sell you my lead gen campaign. I wrote hey I’d like to share my campaign formula for getting 600-800 leads in 24 hours.
Immediately this person knows that they will at least get some value out of accepting a call with me. At least they will hear about this formula I have. What is most interesting is that the people that got back to me on this was actually some of the best targets out of my list.
It really peaked the interest out of the entrepreneurial characters who are curious.
So, when writing your pitch think about how you can add value to the person in your sales call with them.
And, by the way actually add the value in the sales call. The first thing I said to every single person was “I’d love to share with you my formula, so you know you are going to get some value straight away from this call, then you can tell me if you would like to hear more about me and what we do”
This gave me the opportunity to go through the Case Study of the campaign I ran and the results it got. I was totally honest about what we achieved, improvements that could be made as well - it wasn’t perfect and I was clear about that.
This means in your sales call you’ve immediately given value and proved you have done what you say you can do.
I’m not going to write the pitch email here. If you want to see the exact pitch email I used then send me an email / message and I will happily forward it over to you so you can break it down even further and launch your own cold email campaign without looking like a spammer.
The secret sauce is the value you provide.
I hope this has helped you to feel more comfortable with cold pitching. If you've had an experience with it before, or have some tips to share, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Director Of Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)