My two favourite outreach channels, two separate platforms constantly changing, evolving… Email vs LinkedIn – the battle of the giants!
“We may stumble and fall but shall rise again; it should be enough if we did not run away from the battle.” The one and only – Mahatma Gandhi. I respect and often evoke this quote from my childhood memories, back in the days when my grandfather was telling me about this remarkable civil rights activist. I admire him, not because of the role he played throughout his life and the lives he touched, but because every word he had said – makes perfect sense. These words dwell in my heart ever since I started my outbound growth journey. Why, you ask?
Because they are a perfect reminder to never give up. And I didn’t. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about persisting. Being determined to pursue your passion. And my passion is growth. Growing my business and upgrading my solutions.
For a long time, email was my best friend. My main source of B2B leads. We had a long and prosperous relationship together. And we still do, but things did cool down lately (shh, let’s keep this between us). As time went by, I decided to spread the word. I started using social media as a way of incorporating a multichannel approach.
That’s how I discovered LinkedIn. And soon, I was hooked.
When we first started our business, email was already booming and blooming. We knew we had to get our hands on it since it was an obvious choice for marketers and salespeople around the globe. It was fast, effective, low cost and with the highest ROI. No wonder it was the unrivalled king of sales for so long. But why do we speak in the past tense? Isn’t email even more advanced now?
It certainly is. In fact, email isn’t going anywhere. It is, and it will be, a starting point for digital marketers in their cold outreach venture. The reason I talked in the past tense is because other mediums popped up. And not because email is flawed or outdated.
In order to better understand email outreach, let’s get through its advantages and disadvantages.
Email outreach advantages
- Looks professional – When you get to compare cold calling and cold emailing, it’s more than evident that email looks and feels more classy and professional. Since its early days, email was a synonym for business. Even though you are technically able to send personal emails to your friends or relatives, nowadays we have social media channels for that particular reason. That’s why email is still primarily for doing business.
- Time to perfect your pitch – With cold calling, salespeople tend to learn their sales pitch, and after the prospects pick up, they recite it as it was poetry, or maybe even a rap song. Well, not everyone does that, but you catch my drift. 🙂 With emailing, you can work towards perfecting your message, editing, formatting, personalisation – all with one purpose – to contribute to a more pleasant experience. It’s always better in writing, isn’t it?
- Emails are generally easy to find – That is because email addresses are meant to be visible. Businesspeople want to be contacted. They even sometimes serve their email address on a silver platter (yes, business cards), so you can message them. Of course, exceptions exist. As well as many fake or no longer valid email addresses. That’s why there are people like us dedicated to finding and verifying any email address, no matter how difficult it is to find.
- The recipient replies at their convenience – This could be one of the biggest advantages of email. After you’ve sent your cold message, there is not much you can do but wait. Your prospects (if they want to) can reply whenever it suits them. Meaning, there might not be a fast response. But it’s okay because this way you’re not bothering them. Having your phone ring is becoming weirder with each passing day. And even more so by a stranger. 😱
- Automation tools – Whether we like it or not, it’s an automation era. If you are leaning towards spending less time writing emails manually, consider getting an automation tool. The reason is beyond simple. These tools help you delegate the process of writing, sequencing, and sending emails, while you focus on more important things, like closing deals. As a result, you save a tremendous amount of time and effort on sending emails to a large database of prospects.
Email outreach disadvantages
- It’s cold – A cold email is an email sent to a person with whom you had no prior relationship. If done properly, this could be a truly inexpensive way to acquire new customers. But on the other hand, it can be ignored and marked as spam. If you don’t want this to be the case, it’s crucial to take some time crafting a relevant message, one that will resonate with the prospects, and not chase them away. And to have a neat database of relevant prospects, of course.
- Wrong folder – Deliverability is an area that needs some focus too. It’s definitely not an easy task to deliver an email to someone’s inbox. We wish it was, but it’s really not. In fact, according to SendGrid’s email statistics, 21% of opt-in emails never make it to the inbox. There are a lot of factors that determine whether your email will be delivered. But, a few key points to be considered are abuse reports, volume, blacklists, too many images or links, etc.
- Spam – If we’ve been putting 1 cent away for every cold email ending up in a spam or promotions folder, we would be all rich by now. Yes, it’s that common. As I wrote in the previous point, emails very easily end up in spam if you are not careful. Getting no replies is a red flag. Try emailing friends or coworkers (warming up the email) to increase your click and reply rate.
- Requires copywriting skills – Anyone can write an email, for sure. But how would it look and feel? Not to belittle anybody, but writing emails has its own share of rules, as well as structure. Crafting an email that gets delivered, opened, and read, or even replied to, is an art by itself.
- It takes time – After you purchase a plan to automate the process of outreaching, the results are not just behind the corner. It takes time, monitoring, analysing, testing, adjusting, etc.
Should we raise a statue for this worldwide proclaimed king? I would honestly love to. Once I bootstrapped my company, after perfecting email outreach, we needed to find other outlets too. Somehow, email wasn’t enough. LinkedIn was the obvious, reasonable choice. Especially when it comes to B2B. As we are already here, let’s look at some statistics. Straight from the horse’s mouth: In Q2 of 2020, LinkedIn’s revenue increased 21 percent year-over-year. In 2019, LinkedIn was voted the most trusted network, according to Business Insider. And when it comes to LinkedIn’s lead conversion rates, they are 3X higher than other major ad platforms, including Google Ads. And there are many more, but it’s not our goal to bother you with stats and maths.
Of course, back then, when we started using it for outreach, the stats were slightly different, but we all knew where all that leads. It became the most prominent business platform that ever existed. Ever since its beginnings, LinkedIn has evolved. It’s no longer a social corner for entrepreneurs and people with executive corporate roles only. Now, everyone, within any industry, can find their place on LinkedIn. The reason for that is because the network became so broad that you can easily find like-minded professionals, targeted industries, and key demographics that fit your ideal client profile.
Doing B2B outreach on LinkedIn is like getting trapped in a pot of gold. And every time you look, there are golden B2B leads everywhere. Waiting for you to approach them. Now, let’s discuss some advantages and disadvantages of using LinkedIn for outbound outreach. Because we all need this Email vs Linkedin comparison done well.
LinkedIn outreach advantages
- Networking – As you start expanding your network, and adding new connections, you will eventually meet new people. Not just as a thumbnail on LinkedIn, but you can engage in conversations with them. New people mean broader perspectives. You will learn more about other industries and the current state of the market. You can even ask for their opinions and get some fantastic feedback.
- Professional reputation – Reaching out to people and regularly adding content will result in better engagement, networking boom, and quality professional reputation. Of course, have in mind that the content and messages still need to be relevant and genuine. Please don’t pitch on the first message. And don’t even think about pitching in the invitation. And be aware that posting false information and building a fake profile can only damage your reputation overall. Sometimes irreversibly.
- Business opportunities – The more connections you have, and the more relevant messages you send, the more opportunities will come knocking. All of the previously mentioned things are essential credibility boosters. And credibility opens many doors. But, you have to do some knocking first, don’t be afraid to make the first move and send that invitation and follow-ups.
- More natural – From all of the outreach outlets you may want to use, LinkedIn is usually the most natural. That is because LinkedIn is intended for business communication and outreach is expected, even desired. You just have to go in with the right mindset. Don’t try to sell to as many people as possible. Try to genuinely help them with your service or solution.
LinkedIn outreach disadvantages
- It’s a gradual process – Creating the account with all the needed sections, regularly updating it, building the network, sending invitations, crafting relevant messages, remembering to follow-up, starting to receive responses, replying to them – it is a long process. The max number of connections you can have on Linkedin is 30,000. But that limit can not be easily met. LinkedIn even recently increased their connection requests limit by 66%, but be careful while sending invites. Keep in mind that you will be required to enter a CAPTCHA for each invite over 100 sent in a 24-hour period. And it’s far easier and stress-free to keep under the 100 daily limit.
- Fast changes – As it happens with technology, everything’s moving with the speed of light, and social media certainly isn’t lagging behind. Sometimes, there are changes because the market requires them, and sometimes for better customer experience. Whatever it is, changes happen really fast and often without an announcement, so it’s good to be on your toes at all times. Keeping up with LinkedIn is not an easy job.
- A lot of competition – Taking everything into consideration, LinkedIn is the go-to spot where every business and entrepreneur wants to be. Well, almost (once I had a client that refused to be on LinkedIn because all of his competitors were there). And that’s the thing. Leading battles with the competition can be ruthless, as there is often only one winner. And to make sure that that is you, you need an outstanding outreach strategy. You don’t want to be regarded as just another boring salesperson. Being friendly and kind is always in and can make you stand out from the crowd.
- Spammy messages – One very important stumbling block that we need to be aware of is spamming. If you want to be a successful outreach expert and seller, you need to know when to stop. And how to start on the right foot. Sending too many invitations to random people can result in them declining your invite, which in turn can set up LinkedIn’s spam alarms. And no one wants to have their LinkedIn account restricted. So be sure to follow LinkedIn outreach etiquette.
Email vs LinkedIn – which one is more spammy? I would say both if we are not careful enough.
So who is the winner of the cold outreach battle? Email vs LinkedIn? Is there a place for two kings on the throne? I believe so. Email is something everyone is familiar with. LinkedIn became popular in the last decade. Both are fantastic channels for B2B outreach, each in their own style. The thing is that you will win the outreach battle if you let the two work in synergy.
Based on my extensive experience with cold emailing and outreaching on LinkedIn, sending invites, using various automation tools, I found that using both email and Linkedin complementarily does the trick. Preferring one over the other can be a personal choice. A lot of my clients have favourites. But that mustn’t be the case. With a smart combination of the two, you have nothing to lose – and so much to gain. Expand your horizons and let the outreach begin.
Danco is a serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of BizzBee Solutions, proud father of a 2-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.