Email was invented in 1971, and within 7 years (1978) e-mail marketing was initiated. Fast forward 40+ years and things have changed – significantly. You can’t expect to buy a database of 50 000 emails (most of them generic), just plug it into an automation tool, set up a brand new email for the purpose, and execute an email campaign. Especially for a B2B email outreach. It is so wrong on so many levels. Here are just a few:
- Making a copy for 50 000 companies ensures you create a general copy that does not resonate with your target. If you figure out how to split the database into 50 segments of 1000 each and then craft 50 copies addressing different segments – then it could work. But rarely are databases that are bought in bulk structured properly.
- Databases age quite quickly. In the 21st century, people switch jobs – a lot. So, if you have a list of 50.000 e-mails from 6 months ago, there would probably be a significant amount of people that switched jobs, got promoted, or – to be extreme – died.
- General emails don’t yield results. This is a known fact – general emails no longer serve marketing purposes.
Email marketing evolved in several stages. First, there were manual email campaigns to bulk recipients. Then there was some automation and personalization. And then, people stopped responding to email campaigns. So, here is where we need to step in and make sure that your efforts are seen and appreciated.
Why BizzBee’s way?
As you may or may not know, BizzBee Solutions as a company has worked with 300+ entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs. That gave us the opportunity to talk with their founders, CEOs, directors and help them build databases of prospects. As we specialize in B2B lead generation, we have expertise in finding companies, people, and their contact information.
If I had to guess, I would state that we have sourced more than 2 000 000 highly targeted prospects and completed countless B2B email outreach campaigns so far – all manually. This was even before the introduction of crawlers, scrapers, and extensions. The purpose of this blog post is to give you a deeper understanding of how (once you have the database) to execute an efficient email campaign.
Before we take a deep dive into our email execution, check these fun facts about email marketing.
This blog post consists of five chapters, each covering different aspects of creating and executing the perfect email campaign for your business:
- Understand your target. This chapter is very brief; making sure you know who you are trying to approach. You can’t proceed until you know what type of companies are your ideal clients, and what position within the company is the most relevant for you to target.
- Build the database. Once you have the ideal target, the next step is to build a database of highly targeted companies and their decision-makers. It should also include their contact information, like phone numbers, emails and LinkedIn profiles.
- Prepare copy that converts. Once you know who your target audience is, you can prepare a sequence of messages that can move cold prospects into sales-ready leads.
- Email campaign automation. Once you choose your email automation tool, the needed steps are almost universal. We walk you through all of them. Learn how to configure your email, how to set up the sequence, set up the email delays and schedules. Learn not only how to upload the database, but also get our customization tips and tricks.
- Email campaign follow-up. What to do once you’ve got the campaign up and running. Take a look at our advice about how to handle the responses manually and how to deliver the warm leads. We also provide you with our report template and tell you about the KPIs you should keep an eye on.
Download the whole e-book here:
Understand your target
I know you’ve heard this a lot, but really, the first step in any B2B email outreach campaign is to understand your ideal client. And the key question – Do you know who your ideal client is? – may sound like a very naive question, but I have found that many CEOs and heads of sales/marketing struggle to answer it. Here are a few examples of bad Ideal Client Profiles (ICPs):
In most cases, yes, these are relevant statements. You could target a broad audience, but it does not help your prospecting mission. You are here to find the types of companies that are most likely to buy your product/service.
If you have an unlimited marketing/sales budget – sure, you can have this bold statement, but even then you would still have to split the target into segments and address each segment separately. And as most of us don’t have that unlimited budget, we are looking for companies that are willing to buy.
Let me put it another way – having a very specific target will help you laser-focus your marketing efforts, making you more relevant in your target’s eyes. So even if you have a cross-industry solution (e.g. SEO agency), you still need to choose the target for each marketing campaign.
This does not mean that you have to choose only one. You can have several targets, but you need to be aware that for each target you will need different marketing/sales activities. And this is why even if you could target 10 different segments, you should choose 1 or 2, so you can achieve that focus on your blogs, ads, SEO, and any other marketing activities.
Real-life target audience examples
We have spent an enormous amount of time and effort in helping clients identify their ideal clients. We even wrote a whole e-book for the best way to identify your ideal client. So make sure you’ve done your homework and identified your ideal client.
Here are a few target audience examples (these are real examples from our clients):
Keep in mind that this is a double-edged sword. If your criteria are too broad, you will have a lot of irrelevant prospects in your group. On the other hand, if you have a laser-focused target, you will have too few people to get in touch with. You need to be balanced – based on your product/services – so you can have an optimal number of potential prospects.
Build the database
Regardless of how strong your B2B email outreach campaign is, if you send it to the wrong audience – it is doomed to fail. Email campaigning assumes that you have a list that you want to approach. And this is a bold assumption, as not many companies have that. You really need a strong database of qualified companies that match your criteria, having identified people within the companies you want to reach and their contact information.
There are companies paying a fortune on ads, just to bring cold prospects to their website or their landing page – with the ultimate goal of asking them to subscribe and add their email to the database. This is also an efficient method of building a database; however, you need to spend a lot of money on ads, and the drawback is that you don’t know who will subscribe – they could be completely irrelevant leads and, in many cases, be some of your competitors. Yes, we have subscribed to several competitors’ subscription pages, and we get insight into their offerings.
Having a database is an asset. It also takes effort since it should be continuously built, maintained, updated and, most importantly, nurtured. Having an up-to-date database is extremely useful. It can be used for different B2B email outreach campaigns with different calls to action.
Database building steps
So, investing in a strong database is an essential step for a successful campaign. We have a complete e-book that addresses this issue – and I highly recommend you to have a look at it. Within that e-book we cover the following topics:
- Setup the environment. As with any project, you need to do some preparation. This could mean downloading specific tools, subscribing to platforms, or preparing your spreadsheet or CRM where you keep your leads. I try to be as resourceful as possible with examples.
- Prospect companies. This covers everything you need to know to be able to find your ideal type of client companies. It involves mostly using search engines, but also many other techniques and approaches to find the companies you need.
- Find the right people. Don’t always go looking for the CEO and wonder why you never get feedback. An HR solution should target the HR decision-makers; a financial tool should target financial decision-makers. Find the right person within the company that is mostly concerned with what you have to offer.
- Find contact information. Don’t be that person that always emails companies using their generic email. It doesn’t work anymore. You will learn how to find direct contact information – direct business emails, direct phone numbers, and LinkedIn profiles.
- Quality control. Building lists is always prone to mistakes – either human (typos) or computer mistakes (tools are not always 100% accurate). Therefore, you must go through several steps to ensure that you have the highest quality list.
- Lead Automation. Once you know how to do the prospecting yourself, you can start considering automation tools. There is not a single solution that can solve your prospecting problem – most often it is a mix of tools that can partially automate your process, but rarely 100% of it. After all these years, we are continuously screening the web for new tools, and we even have a set of tests that we do to test their accuracy.
Prepare a copy that converts
There is a science behind knowing what to write and when to write it. Over the years, we have conducted a B2B email outreach for hundreds of clients, closely measuring which kind of messages work and which don’t.
Based on this effort, we’ve made a separate e-book on how to craft the perfect B2B email outreach copy. I have seen a new copy tripling our results. So you should really consider making a good outreach copy plan. Our outreach sequence is usually 3-5 messages long, with each email bringing the cold prospect closer to you.
First, you must distinguish between a cold outreach copy and an inbound marketing copy. The styles should be completely different. When it comes to inbound marketing, the prospects are aware of your existence and are coming to you, subscribing to your site. They are actually interested in hearing more from you about your solution.
On the other hand, with a cold outreach, you are approaching complete strangers that don’t even know that you exist. And in most cases, they are not even aware that they have a problem that you can solve. So, the cold sequence must start with awareness-raising and relationship building, before even considering pitching your solution.
LinkedIn vs Email outreach copy
You must also differentiate between Email and LinkedIn messages. When it comes to email, you have a formal introduction, body and a greeting followed by a signature. On LinkedIn, you have an open chat conversation where you don’t need an introduction or a signature. And this is a huge difference.
If you start sending messages on LinkedIn as you would on email, people will know that you are approaching formally. LinkedIn is a network, where business people can simply chat. So before sending a message, consider if you would send that kind of message to a friend or an existing client?
So, what’s the plan?
The plan is simple. First, you need to determine the marketing campaign’s end goal (free trial, subscription, meeting, etc.). Then you need to decide on the touchpoints, so you can move cold prospects up to the point where they are ready to engage. So, copywriting is both strategical and tactical.
On the strategic level, you need to understand the number of messages, the purpose of each message, as well as the delays needed between each email. On the tactical level is the actual copy creation, making it attractive, provoking curiosity, as well as building relationships. We have a separate e-book that addresses the perfect way to write a cold outreach copy. Within that e-book we cover:
- Determine the marketing offer. When I say offer, I don’t mean your sales offer that you are trying to sell. I am referring to a marketing offer – something that will pique their interest and curiosity, making them come knocking on your door, asking for more. In most cases, this is something that requires minimum effort from you (so you can reach a lot of people) but is of high value to them (so they would be happy to get it for free).
- Mapping out the outreach steps. Now that you have the target and the marketing offer you want to present, what is left is to map the journey of how your target will get to the marketing offer. It’s as simple as that. You need to decide on how many messages you will send, through which channel, what happens if they say yes, what happens if they say no, etc. All the steps needed to get to the marketing offer should be mapped, and it is never a straightforward approach. There should be several ways – all leading to the marketing offer.
- Creating the messages. By now, with help from the map, you know what to send and where you should send it, so you should be ready to start preparing the copy for the messages. What will be the hook? What will be the story? How will you raise awareness? How will you pique curiosity?
- A/B testing. There is no single solution for the right message. What works for me might not necessarily work for you. Different industries, different targets, different marketing offers. Let the numbers speak. If you measure the responses properly, you will be able to choose the copy that works best for you, based on the feedback you receive.
I know writing cold B2B email outreach messages can be hard, but everything is a bit easier when you can see how it’s done. That’s why we decided to lead and teach by example. The examples will be provided in the following chapter. Pay attention to our shift from free value giving and relationship building towards a call-to-action, so they get back to us.
Cold Email Sequence Example
We aimed for creating a template. We tried and tried. But how can you have a sequence template and highly personalized approach? Is it OK for us to make you a template when we preach about providing unique value and benefits? We don’t think so.
If we had the magic formula, and the magic template that converts, it would make things a lot easier for all of us. You could simply steal it, copy-paste the whole thing, and just tweak some variables (company name, benefit one, etc.). While, if we had such an incredible asset in our possession, we would make a fortune selling it 🙂
But sadly, for both you and me, we don’t have the almighty template, and probably no one ever will. But what we do have are examples of our converting email sequence. And using this we can make the cold B2B email outreach a breeze for you. You will have examples of what an email sequence should look like; what value it should provide; how it should be structured; how it can be A/B tested and what the bigger picture is.
So get ready. We will be giving you our whole cold B2B email outreach process; not only the sequence but all the related tasks that go before, during and after it.
Even though it might not seem so clear at first, we made a diagram of our whole cold outreach process, to make things clearer for you. Don’t be afraid of the image. It does seem complicated at first, but I will walk you through it step-by-step.
I don’t want to rush you through it. I prefer to take things slow. So, the focus of this chapter will be the first row only – the email sequence. Here are the A and B versions of a 5-email sequence that we have used for a long time and achieved amazing results.
If I try to make this part more template – like, it would probably look something like this:
You can see that this is a cold outreach sequence because of email 1.
I’m assuming that you already know your ICP and have built your database. So you’ve got the cold traffic part covered. Most of your cold prospects probably have never heard about your company or solution. They might even not be aware that they have a problem, let alone browse for a solution.
Crafting the email’s subject
What is the first thing you need to do? Well, there are actually several things we recommend you to do. First of all, since they probably won’t recognize your name in their mailbox, you need a super attractive email subject.
We chose our subject based on two parameters. It triggers curiosity and it values the recipient’s time. The probability that someone will open an email if they know that it will waste less than half a minute in their life is significantly big. Fair warning – don’t use misleading subject lines. You surely don’t want to look like a spammer.
How to make the email’s body attractive?
You covered the hook part with your subject. In the email’s body, you should focus on the story and the offer. If you are feeling lost, especially with the hook, story, offer part, or want to dive deeper into the art of copywriting, simply download our copywriting e-book.
If this was any other type of B2B email outreach sequence I would recommend focusing on the prospect. But the email’s recipient has no idea who you are; so, firstly, you should introduce yourself and your company. Try to summarize this in one sentence.
Give them a valid reason why you reached out specifically to them. Remember, don’t try to sell. Especially not in the first email. But always, always give value. The value that we provided in the first email is in the form of a blog post. We wanted to keep things light. So, what’s with the rest of the email? You must keep a couple of things in mind so you keep on the right side of the law.
After all, you are sending cold emails, you are not spamming people. To keep things legal, your email must contain accurate information about you and/or your organization. We recommend using your full signature or at least include your business address at the bottom of the email.
Last but not least, you must have a way of opting out of your messages. It can be done in two different ways. You could include an unsubscribe link or simply give them an option to opt-out in writing. With the goal of a more personalized feel, we use the second approach. Just take a look at the P.S. part of each email.
Provide free value with clear CTA
You catch my drift right? You can see the same pattern developing in the emails that followed. You think of an amazing subject, hooking your prospects to open up the email. Then you write down a simple story accenting the value you are giving. You make them an offer that they can’t refuse – you give them the value for free and tell them what to do with a clear CTA.
I can go and dissect each email in the sequence, but I think it’s hardly necessary. Just download the B2B Outbound Copywriting Playbook and take a page from our book (pun intended).
When it comes to the value you are offering in the sequence, here is what we suggest. Start with the least amount of value (which should be a lot to the prospect), and gradually start increasing it with each email). Meaning, start with a piece of content that requires the least effort on your part and finish with the one that requires the most effort.
Why do we do this? It’s highly logical. If you first offer the most valuable thing that you possess, and your prospects don’t seem amused and aren’t prepared to leave their email or spend a little bit of time for you, then probably they won’t be interested in the less valuable pieces. They will even feel disappointed.
While on the other hand, by increasing the value you are offering, you are building the relationship and showing willingness to go above and beyond for your clients.
Email Campaign Automation
Once you have the database built, it is a good idea to do an automated email validation to ensure the data accuracy. We prefer to check the prospects’ emails with a famous software checker. We are using the platform BulkEmailChecker.com, but there are many more that can filter out the irrelevant prospects.
Their pricing is 0.001$ to 0.0005$ per verified email, which is a fraction of the value you are getting. What they do is check each email against the server where it is hosted, in order to see if the email still exists. This will help you take out all the emails that are no longer valid, which will significantly reduce your bounce rate.
I really hope that you won’t go back to 1978 and start sending emails manually. There are too many email automation tools, and new ones are emerging as we speak. Their main goal is to save you a huge amount of time. As well as provide you with a complete reporting in order to understand how to improve your B2B email outreach campaigns.
We did extensive research on all the email campaign automation tools, comparing pricing, features, pros and cons. We update this research frequently, in order to add new ones.
Here is a list of email automation campaign solutions available on the market.
|1||Reply.io||Great B2B email outreach tool, highly reliable. |
Prices range from 55$/month for 1.000 contacts, to 90$/month for 30.000 contacts. It has a 14-day free trial and some advanced automation, templates, metrics and A/B testing.
Its only limitation is that it can only send up to 400 emails per day per email account.
Each plan includes 3 email accounts, so it limits you to 1.200 emails per day in total (regardless of how many people the emails are being sent to).
The emails are sent through your SMTP provider, so it can be used for cold outreach.
|2||Snov.io||Snov.io is one of our preferred tools for B2B email outreach campaigns. |
The pricing ranges from 29$/month for 1.000 unique recipients, to 199$/month for unlimited unique recipients. It also has a free version, limited to 200 recipients.
The pricing is expressed in credits that can be used for other tools as well – like finding or verifying emails. It has incorporated timers, triggers and delays, as well as visual real-time statistics.
The emails are sent through your SMTP.
|3||Woodpecker.co||Another great cold B2B email outreach tool. |
Prices are 40-80$ per seat/month, both with unlimited contacts. They do have a daily limit of 500 per day that can be raised on request.
The more expensive option has additional integrations available. Woodpecker also has a 14-day free trial. It has a throttling (human-like sending), personalization, metrics, and email validation.
As limitations go, it provides up to 7 follow-ups, without the possibility for adding an attachment. It uses your SMTP for sending the messages.
It is free for 25 active contacts, and prices start from 1$/month for 50 active contacts, up to 99$/month for unlimited active contacts.
SmartReach pricing starts from 24$/month for 1.000 contacts up to 59$/month for unlimited contacts.
There are two pricing plans available at MailShake – B2B Email Outreach for 59$ per month per user and the Sales Engagement plan for 99$ per month per user. There is not a clear statement of how many emails you can send. It has some great reporting, follow-ups, personalization and A/B testing.
|7||lemlist.com||Lemlist starts from 29$/month for 1 user and 100 emails per day, to 99$/month for 500 emails per day. |
Has a 14-day free trial, personalization, templates, auto follow-ups, A/B testing, and they even offer dynamic landing pages in their Platinum plan.
The limitation is that the majority of advanced features are not available with the starting package, so you need to upgrade to get the more advanced functionalities.
It also uses your SMTP for message sending.
|8||buzzstream.com||The pricing ranges from 24$/month for 1.000 contacts, up to 299$/month for 100.000 contacts. Has a 14-day free trial, email tracking, templates, chrome extension, reporting and link monitoring. The tool is specialized for PR & SEO and has some unique features in that area.|
It hardly matters which automation tool you use – all of them follow the same concept. I will try to cover this aspect very briefly since it’s technical, but it’s not the purpose of this blog post. To make things clearer and easier for you, I will take Reply.io as an example and walk you through the configuration.
First of all, you need to decide on an email that you will send the email campaign from. I would recommend not using your business email, but rather create a new one, specifically for cold outreach. You can’t know how many responses you will get.
If your company’s policy is email@example.com, then just create a new email with firstname.lastname@example.org. And vice versa. But don’t use a generic email for the campaign (e.g. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.).
Taking you back to the Reply.io example – let’s say that you have signed up for a free trial. If you are thinking of buying or changing your outreach automation tool, isn’t it smart to try it first? After you’ve logged in you will get the screen shown below.
The first thing you need to choose is the type of email account you will use for the B2B email outreach. If you are going to use any of the three options provided – Gmail, Outlook 365 or Exchange, follow the instructions on this link and you will easily set it up. If you have another provider, simply choose the “other provider” option. The following screen should appear.
These SMTP Settings (sending emails) and IMAP Settings (receiving emails) are just a way of telling Reply.io how to connect to your email provider. In most cases, this is where you access your regular business email (probably where you host your website, or where you bought your domain). When finished, you can even send a test email to check the connection.
You should go through the same steps on nearly all other email campaign tools, especially the ones specialized in cold outreach. You need to configure the SMTP/IMAP, so they will be able to send the emails. There are some tools that offer their own e-mail server, but they rarely allow cold outreach and are more focused on inbound subscribers (e.g. Mailchimp).
5 email configuration tests
We’ve made many mistakes during configuration in absolutely every stage of it. But we learned from our mistakes and we have developed a list of 5 tests. If you pass all of them then you have successfully configured your e-mail. Here is the list:
- Pre-test: You need to check your server limitations. Even if you have purchased a campaign automation tool with a bigger capacity, if your email server has a smaller capacity, then it is a problem. To put it simply, if you have purchased a B2B email outreach automation tool that allows you to send 2000 emails per day, but your email server has a 500 emails per day limit, then you can send only 500 emails per day.
- Test 1: Log into your email account (via Outlook or web). If you’ve created a new email for the campaign, you must first ensure it works properly. The first step is to try to access the email, so you can verify that the username and password exist.
- Test 2: Once you have accessed your email account, you need to try to send and receive an email. So, send an email to some other email address that you have, and then respond from that email. This step’s goal is to verify that your new email account is properly connected.
- Test 3: Test the email automation tool’s connection. Following the previous tests, you have made sure that your email works and you are ready to test the connection between the tool and your email.
- Test 4: Send a single email via your email automation tool to another email you have, and then respond from that email. This will tell you if the email automation is capable of sending and receiving emails. If this works, the next step is to send an email to 3 different people, to test the multiple sending functionality of the email automation.
- Test 5: Send a 2-email sequence and reply to that email. With this test, you are actually testing the drip functionality (and delays), and you are making sure that it can handle the sequencing. If it works, then the next step is to send an email drip to 3-6 people to verify that it handles bulk sequencing properly.
If you passed all of these tests then you have successfully configured your e-mail and you can be confident that the campaign won’t encounter any problems. But if you get stuck at any step – you have a clear understanding which part of the automation is not working.
Once you have configured the email, assuming you also got the database and copy part covered, the next step is to set up the sequence of emails that you want to send. I will continue with the Reply.io example. When you click the “Sequences” section you will see a big red plus.
When you click it, Reply (and, I guess, the majority of the other outreach tools) will give you two options: to create a sequence from a template or to create a sequence from scratch.
If this is your first sequence and you follow our suggestions on keeping it highly personalized, then you should definitely create it from scratch. If you are satisfied with its results, you can save it as a template for later on. You could also browse the offered templates. We wouldn’t recommend using the same ones, but they are awesome when you lack inspiration and you need ideas ASAP.
Either way, we’ll stick with creating a sequence from scratch. Nowadays Reply.io offers not only email steps but calls and tasks also. But for the purpose of this blog post, we will stick to emails.
Assuming you have got the copy ready, the following few steps are copying and pasting only. When you are done with the copying or writing of the email, Reply.io even offers an email quality check service.
The email quality check service is an AI-based feature that helps you to create email messages with higher chances of a response. This service analyzes your text and sends back the results based on five metrics – Subject length, Word count, Question count, Reading level, Positivity.
The combination of these metrics provides the overall probability of receiving a response. We find this service quite useful since we can make some last-minute tweaks to get a higher probability of a positive response.
Another way to work on improving your open and reply rate is by making different variations of the same email, or A/B testing. Reply.io lets you incorporate more than two variants, but we prefer to keep things neat and organized.
Set up the delays
When you’ve finished with setting up the emails’ subjects and body, you should focus your attention on the delays between each email. We usually set a 3-4 day delay between each email.
This way, the majority of your prospects won’t be annoyed – imagine receiving a mail each and every day from someone you don’t even now. Also, you won’t give your prospects a chance to forget you – if you send them one email a week or a month, their awareness level of your company and solution will significantly drop.
It’s worth noting that in the case of receiving a reply, Reply.io will stop sending the sequence to the respective prospect. The rest should be handled manually, but that is a whole different chapter.
You can add a different number of emails or set up different delays. However, the final output should look something like the image above. The next step is the schedule setup.
In this area, it is up to you to choose what time of the day and week the automation tool will distribute the email messages. According to a recent study conducted by Adobe, respondents reported spending an average of 209 minutes checking their work email and 143 minutes checking their personal email, for a total of 352 minutes (about five hours and 52 minutes) each day.
But almost half (48%) of consumers said they don’t check their work emails until they start working. Considering the stats, we set our campaign schedules according to the prospect’s workday, and location, of course.
Given that the majority of people have a 9-5 job, we set the messages to be sent Monday to Friday, during the weekday. Time zones are a complication by itself. However, if you know your ICP, you can afford to waste some time on setting the appropriate sending schedules. Reply.io will save all the schedules that you set, so here is what our schedule section looks like:
Upload the database and customization
The third step is to add people. Reply.io, and probably the majority of email automation tools, will give you three options:
- Import from CSV – To add contacts from a CSV file via bulk upload.
- Add from existing – Add contacts from the list you already have, but that are not currently in other sequences.
- Create manually – To add contacts manually, one by one.
99% of the time, we use the import from CSV option since it is a real time-saver (and we already have our databases organized neatly in a spreadsheet). We highly recommend you do the same. If you don’t know how, you surely know how to download our e-book on database building.
Back to the job at hand. When you upload the CSV file you will need to map out the attributes – like the image below.
These attributes are actually the personalization variables. Don’t panic if you can’t find the one you need in the list. If you had it as a column on the spreadsheet, you can easily add it as a custom field. As you can see in the picture, we added an industry field.
When you are done selecting the appropriate fields, click continue. Reply.io will import your contacts and provide you with a clear report. If something goes wrong during the import, don’t worry, you can download a spreadsheet with the failed contacts and see exactly what the problem is.
When the contacts are imported you will get a notification and a list of the imported contacts.
Necessary database checks
If you are not 100% certain of the quality of the database, there are a couple of things that you need to check:
- Contact name. We tend to keep our B2B email outreach casual and friendly so when speaking to our prospects we use their first names. It’s up to you to decide the tone that you will use.
After all, finding your voice is key. But if you also don’t like to sound formal then make sure that you are using the prospect’s first name. You don’t want to use his first name and middle name when the only person that does that is their grandmother (when she’s angry).
- Company name. Make sure you’ve got the right company name, preferably the one they commonly use. If you are building the database using mainly LinkedIn, pay extra attention to the company name. Some companies put their slogan or description next to their company name. It would look like you didn’t bother at all if you used the whole thing.
E.g. Shipley Associates: We Help Companies Win Business; Sense Worldwide. We help people to innovate; Sylvester & co – Passionate about social recruitment; Co-Learning – We help you create great products with great teams!
- Letter case. As with any part of the copy, make sure that you are using the appropriate grammar and letter case. Using capital and small letters is fairly easy, but extremely important when it comes to delivering the right message and sounding like a real human being. Avoid using caps lock. You don’t want your prospects to think that you are yelling at them.
- Diacritics. You know those weird-looking letters? E.g. ā, ē, ī, ū, č, ģ, ķ, ļ, ņ, š, ž, ñ, ä, ö, ø, å etc. These letters with marks put above, below, through or on the letters are rare in English, but common in many other languages. So what if you are targeting German or Swedish companies? Of course, you can write to them in English, but in personalizing the messages you would use their names or company names. And here comes the problem.
Most of the tools, if not all, don’t recognize this type of letters, so they substitute them with question marks. Now imagine your name is Björn, and you receive an email and the first two words that you read from it are Hi Bj?rn. You would probably either report it as spam or delete it right away. So, while importing be extra careful of these letters. They do require some manual work, but hey, better safe than sorry.
- Other variables. Be careful if you are using variables in a sentence, make sure that if there are not names (e.g. industry) are imported in such a form, that the sentence where they are used is grammatically correct.
When you are absolutely sure that the prospects’ list looks perfect, you are ready for the final step. Make sure that you are satisfied with the settings and you are ready to launch the campaign.
B2B Email Outreach Campaign Follow-up
When you pluck up the courage to press the launch button, you leave your job in the hands of your automation tool. But your job, unfortunately, doesn’t stop there. You need to develop a whole strategy. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered.
What will you do with the ones that are interested? What about the ones that reply negatively? Where will you keep the leads that subscribed? Will you put them on a whole different sequence? What type of sequence? Will you try to sell to them on that sequence? Will you keep on nurturing them?
What about KPIs? What type of reporting should you keep? The list goes on and on. Answering all these questions will require a whole new book. But I will try to sum up the answers to most of them.
Manually handling responses
Once the replies start flowing in, you will need to roll up your sleeves once more. Luckily, the email campaign will stop for the recipient automatically when they reply to a campaign email. Most of the automation tools will even recognize the type of reply and mark it accordingly. You can see the categories that Reply.io offers on the image below. You can also add your custom category if you have the need.
The stats say that most of the replies will be people asking to be opted-out. So if you have a good automation tool, you got that part fully automated. But what do we do with the negative replies?
No matter how awesome your messages are, there will always be people that are annoyed by them. My advice – don’t take it personally and learn to let go. You probably don’t want to work with those people either.
If you have decided that some/most or all of the messages will be bringing your prospects to a landing page where you are offering to give them value so they would become your subscribers in return, then you need to think of what you will do with them in the long run.
What we do is bring them to Mailchimp and continue with our marketing activities from there. When we started we were tagging them according to the asset that they downloaded and sent them two more emails.
The first with blog posts that we thought would interest them, and the second with an offer so they would schedule a meeting. Nowadays we prefer to send them an SOS (Soap Opera Sequence) and if they don’t respond to it, we direct them towards our nurture sequence.
Delivering warm leads
Not all positive replies will be warm leads. To know which is which, first of all, you need to define what a warm lead is for your company. Afterwards, you need to decide when the marketing ends and the sale begins.
Most of the time, we consider a scheduled meeting or a free trial a warm lead. Some prospects that show initial interest will need to be manually warmed up by the marketing team till they are sales-ready.
It’s up to you to define what a warm lead is and when the marketing to sales transfer should happen. If you are fairly new at this and don’t have a developed transfer system, then maybe we could be of help. Here is the LINK of our warm lead template.
We use this template to deliver the generated warm leads to our clients. So if you don’t use a CRM for this purpose, feel free to steal it. It will surely make the marketing sales transfer and communication easier.
Using this template, the marketing team can not only easily fill up all the lead information they have gathered. But they can keep the sales team updated on the conversation that led to the meeting/free trial (or whatever you have decided your goal should be), making the transfer as smooth as possible.
In the long run, with the help of the template, you know for certain what the marketing team’s end task is, and where the sales team should take over.
Reporting campaign results
We can’t talk about reporting without talking about KPIs first. You should define your B2B email outreach KPIs, having not only the end goal in mind but also the whole process. Why should you keep track of the whole process and not of the end result? It’s really simple. To get better results, you need to know which part performs best, and what underperforms.
This way, you’ll know where you should make the tweaks or changes, to get better results each time. Having constant improvement and growth as our ultimate goal, we developed the email marketing report.
We use this report to deliver the B2B email outreach results to our clients. As you can see, this report covers the whole process, from the number of prospects that the email was sent to, to the number and percentage of the type of replies. Why did we decide on these KPIs?
- Prospects – Helps us keep track of the number of prospects that drop out during the process and serves as a base for the other KPIs.
- Delivery rate – Tells you the percentage of emails you send that hit the inbox. Helps you keep track of the bounced emails. If you have a low delivery rate you need to validate or improve your database.
- Open rate – The percentage rate at which emails are opened. Open rates serve as an indicator of the subject’s effectiveness. You can tweak the subject lines to get higher open rates.
- Click rate – The percentage rate of prospects that have clicked on at least one link in your emails. The click rate shows if your outreach is relevant to your target and if they are ready to take action. You should focus on tweaking your messages, especially your CTA, to get a higher click rate.
- Unsubscribe rate – The percentage of people who opted-out from your B2B email outreach campaign. You can look at the unsubscribe rates from two perspectives. Looking on the bright side, your list is cleaning itself. On the other hand, there are prospects who don’t want to hear from you again. If you want to lower your unsubscribe rate you should focus your efforts on producing more relevant content for your target.
- Reply rate – The percentage of people who replied to your emails. We consider the reply rate as the ultimate measure since it points out how many recipients were interested (or on the other hand, annoyed) enough to click on that reply button and write you back. To know if you are on their good or bad side, take a look at the respective reply rates – the interested, not interested and other reply rates.
It all seems quite clear and easy, right? But are you wondering where all these numbers come from? From your email automation tool, of course. Take a look at the image below to see what a Reply.io report looks like.
This is just their basic reporting. You can also look at the performance of the individual sequences, the A/B results and so on. You can also cross-check your inbox manually if you don’t want to put your trust in machines. After all, you will find all your replies there, waiting for you to take the needed steps towards closing the deal.
If you found this guide useful, download the PDF version and have it forever.
I WISH YOU A SUCCESSFUL OUTREACH!
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.