Have you ever played one of those games called ‘Spot/Find the difference?’
Quite a mind wrecker, isn’t it? You can spend hours, days even, trying to find just the one tiny, little different pattern in the most colourful wallpaper in the room. And as Murphy would have it, it’s usually right under your nose, poking your eyes.
So you keep telling yourself, just this one, and I am off to bed.
And another one, and another one more, the next thing you know, it’s 3 am, and you are staring at your screen, trying to solve just this ‘last’ one.
Marketing is a different pitch, but the game is the same.
In some ways, marketing is a simple business. The biggest challenge is generating traffic and leads.
But in other ways, marketing is incredibly tough. Although the objectives may be similar, the means at marketers’ disposal for achieving them are constantly changing. What was up-and-coming trend last year is standard practice this year. And who knows, maybe today’s marketing practices will not work in six months.
So, as a digital marketer, you hold the cards. You are on the move. Everybody’s waiting whether you’ll raise the stake or fold.
Make sure you raise the bar for everyone.
What’s important is that you never stop testing whatever approach works best with your future clients. That would be the equivalent of ‘shooting yourself in the foot.’
Try, make an effort, reach, but do it smartly.
Don’t just fly around, wasting your buzz, trying to find the perfect flower.
Many companies, especially those outside the marketing and the sales world, who want to attract clients, can easily mix email marketing with email outreach.
And let me say it, one should never confuse these two. The consequences can be deadly to your business.
In this little B2B reading, I’m going to put an accent on two of the most confusing approaches – email marketing and email outreach.
Let’s all be marketing-wise and choose whatever works best for our brand.
So, the core question here is: what’s the difference between email marketing and email outreach?
What approach is the smartest to choose?
Let’s start by answering two simple questions.
What is email outreach?
The first thing that probably comes to mind when thinking about email outreach is spam.
As marketing superheroes, we say this is just a vicious rumour. Thinking that all content visiting your digital mailbox is spammy couldn’t be further from the truth.
Some of it has real value. The process itself is built to help get in touch with people via email. Your goal is typically to promote some content, request a backlink, or try to make contact with a prospect.
As you are probably aware by now BizzBee’s speciality is email outreach for lead generation purposes. And I must say, that is the most laborious one, but brings in the sweetest results – potential clients for your business.
So, it’s no surprise that these mails have to be done the right way, not to make you look spammy or pushy. Bear in mind that you are sending these emails to people you don’t know yet. You don’t want to push them away by being needy and trying to oversell yourself. If you send the right kind of emails, sparkled with a neutral and friendly tone, the chances are that the fish will bite. It would be best if you had the right hook.
Being highly-skilled at email outreach is a virtue you’ll have to master if you want to stand out from the rest in the vast ocean of B2B SMEs. Needless to say, it is also an integral part of your initial sales efforts.
It is a many-times- tried-and-tested tactic to land new clients without having to worry too much about your content marketing efforts and your ad spend. The chances are that you are not ready time or money-wise to endeavour on the expensive content marketing quest.
But there is a lot more to prospecting than first meets the eye. If you thought that you could just simply download some email database, find a cold messages template online, and send it round to everybody, you couldn’t be more in the wrong.
If it was that easy, everybody would do this job.
Email outreach is how you make yourself seen, how you are letting people know why you stand out from the crowd.
So, let’s say a few words on how your outreach should sound and look like if you want to schedule some relevant meetings with your potential clients.
First and foremost, always put quality over quantity. This is a general life rule, but outreach is where it applies the most. Putting quality over quantity makes up the fine line between being informative and courteous and being spammy and pushy.
Focus on people who you find to be potentially interested in your solution. Do not take a ‘spray and pray approach and focus on sending to as many people as possible and hoping that someone will buy.
There were times when you can pitch directly with your email outreach, but not today. People are so used to cold outreach in the B2B world nowadays that their guard is up like never before. And you need to adjust your strategy accordingly. What do our bees recommend? Aim for building relationships. You can’t go wrong with authenticity and empathy. Even though we are prospecting in the B2B world, we should aim for humanlike person to person (P2P) communication.
Second, do not ‘knock and sell’. Make your way first.
What’s essential here is that you show the link between yourself, your solution and the person that you are reaching out to. This is the most important thing you should bear in mind if you don’t want to have ‘the door slammed in your face.’
Next, you need to be clear about your intentions. You want to be sure that they got your message and they know what further action you want them to undertake upon receiving your mail.
And last but not least, please, please, don’t spam!
There’s nothing worse than spamming. It may sound like it goes without saying, but many companies still think that the more sales pitches they get out there, the more leads they’ll cultivate.
You have to give people a real reason why you are reaching out to them. Make them feel like they are the chosen ones to make the most benefit out of this email.
You cannot just appear at someone’s door and not say why you are here for. Not in real life, let along in outreach.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a whole different approach. It’s a strategy that helps you send emails to the clients and prospects on your subscribers’ list. So, sending these emails will mean that you will provide your subscribers with your company’s latest news, advertisements, newsletters, some special offers or discounts that you may have on your products, or it can be a simple request for a sales meet up.
It’s an excellent strategy for the long-term since it will help you tremendously to catch the eye and to nurture the relationship that you have built with your subscribers.
Good email marketing is about much more than sending a few messages and waiting for the leads and sales to come pouring in. We wish it were that easy.
To do it properly, you need to be segmenting your email lists. That’s right. Every marketer needs its list(s). And if you opt for email marketing being your approach, you’ll need a long, segmented list of subscribers.
These people have chosen you. They want to hear your voice. They want to read your content. And (fingers crossed) they wish to buy what you are selling, be it a service or a product.
It would be best if you excelled at this. It would help if you gave these people a good reason to knock at their digital door. What most people do when they want to build an email list to put an option form on their website and hope that people sign up. Unfortunately, this strategy usually doesn’t work very well.
In order to grow your email list, you need to attract people with a compelling offer—a lead magnet.
You need something super awesome you’ll give away for free in exchange for an email address. Something that will (possibly) bring you the desired feedback.
A thing that is easily-consumed, relevant, digestible and informative. Something like an ebook, white paper or an insightful case study, a free of charge webinar, free trial, quote of the day – kind of reminder, maybe even a short free consultation, some quiz or a self-assessment test to see how good they are at something and so on. The pool of options you have here is limitless.
However, this is time-consuming, and it can cost you a fortune until you get what you want.
The right time to use email outreach
Have you ever asked yourselves who has had the most significant impact on your business?
Your clients? The sales team? Your parents? The Queen? Your dog?
Nah. Make another guess.
It was the invention of email.
This nifty invention made many lives easier, especially those of fellow marketers.
Email outreach is the best tool in your arsenal when it comes to connecting with potential customers.
You know, the people who haven’t yet realised that they want to give you their money.
These leads are dead cold.
They have no clue who you or your brand are.
Keep in mind that you target people who haven’t interacted with your company by sending these cold emails. It is the first stage of lead generation and the first step to leading prospects down the sales funnel.
Your target: New prospects
Your objective: Introduce yourself and interact with your potential prospects
The right time: Every time. The thing about email outreach is that it could be beneficial to an entrepreneur, a start-up, SME, but even for a corporation.
Necessities: Qualified prospects database, amazing outreach copy, email automation tool.
- Expands your brand’s reach
- Boosts your contact lists
- Leads people into your sales funnel
- Possible conversion of customers who are currently using competitor services
Bonus tip: When it comes down to writing cold emails, make sure you compose a short, plain, and easy-to-read text that triggers call-to-action (CTA).
The right time to use email marketing
Email marketing is one of the best channels a business can use when building a connection with customers. It’s the right symbiosis of sales and marketing manoeuvres.
Marketing emails or warm mails target specific leads with whom you have already made friends with. These would be the people who chose to receive emails from you. These leads are warmer, and they usually want to know more about your services or brand.
Your target: Existing leads
Your objective: To give info, boost your brand’s credibility, nurture, and convert leads
The right time: When you have a subscriber list in place.
Necessities: Subscribers, content, marketing automation platform.
- Build trust between your company and your contacts
- Gives you a perspective on what people think about your image and brand
- Pushes leads into sales qualified leads down the funnel
- Converts leads to customers
Email marketing is used by some of the largest businesses in the world. However, email marketing isn’t just for big brands with deep pockets.
It works perfectly well for SMEs with more restricted budgets, too.
So let’s dive a bit more into the benefits of using an email marketing strategy for SMEs:
It helps you nurture strong B2B relationships
Sending emails is the best (and the least intrusive) way to reach out to your prospects. These people have already subscribed to hear from you. Assumingly so, they want to know about your latest product or service launch, your next big event, and any news about your business. These are all great topics for regular newsletters.
People in the business world check their emails before they open their eyes. The chances are high that they’ll see your mail first.
Point out what makes your business/brand unique
Regular updates give you an excellent opportunity to create a unique voice, style, and image for your subscribers.
What are you offering? What’s your company all about? Create a brand guide and follow it with each email you send. Not only is each email an opportunity to connect with your subscribers, but it’s also an opportunity to further cement your unique brand identity in their minds. There’s nothing wrong with boasting about your company culture and authenticity.
Deliver an exquisite, first-rate content
Let’s say you have been recognised as one of the highly-esteemed professionals when it comes to your area of business. Everyone in your vicinity knows that.
But is your vicinity enough? Don’t you want the world to know about you?
Well, first, you start with your content. Your content is how you present yourself.
Make sure it’s not rugged, wrinkled and copied.
If you want to be ‘la crème de la crème’ you need expert content.
Boost credibility as an SME.
One of the hardest things that every SME has to overcome is to build credibility with the fierce competition that is out there. Why on Earth would anyone give their business in the hands of a no-name?
The reason people trust big names mainly comes down to marketing. People have seen their names out there. They sound familiar. And people like familiar things.
We can’t blame them for being cautious, of course. People are familiar with these names, so they allow these brands more trust.
That’s why you need to stay in contact with your existing and targeting clients. You need to keep them up to date about your business. They need to see that you are trying, growing, building your throne.
Make your name heard, thus build credibility.
Email marketing doesn’t have to just be about delivering coupons and sale information. In addition to emails designed to drive traffic to your business, you can use email marketing to provide unique content that your subscribers will enjoy reading—or watching.
So, email marketing and email outreach. I think the question kinda imposes itself here: Which email marketing strategy should you choose?
The ball’s in your court.
Before making the final cut, make sure that you have the answers to all of these questions:
- Who’s your target audience?
- What does your lead pipeline look like?
- Which growth stage are you at?
- Do you have subscribers?
- How does your product/service provide value?
- What makes you different? (What is your USP?)
- Do you know your KPIs?
- What is your budget?
Once you have the answers to all of the questions mentioned above, you can make your decision and start building your strategy.
After all, you didn’t come this far to fail.
An intelligent marketer or an entrepreneur would not leave any leads behind.
What you’ll opt for will mainly depend on the length of your subscribers’ list.
With SMEs, the case is that this list is, of course, not so long.
They are digging, building, and growing it.
However, they first need to start cold to get warmer.
They need to reach out there in the unknown, show who they are and get quick results.
While both email marketing and email outreach have their pros and cons, the smartest and the safest way you can go here when expanding your business is to go cold.
Going cold will help you save some bucks, enlarge your contact list and build credibility in your brand.
It will give people the chance to see who you are, get familiar with you, and get you a bit further out there into ‘the known’.
What always works best is synchronising these two approaches. Even if it is down the line. Just be smart with your resources. You need to get some clients and a number of subscribers to get your email marketing efforts up and running. You can even use cold outreach to grow your subscriber list.
Danco is a serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of BizzBee Solutions, proud father of a 3-year-old and a burger enthusiast. He is inspired by growth and goes above and beyond to make it possible – whether it comes to his 300+ clients or his people. Eager to learn more? Follow Danco on LinkedIn and Facebook.