Step By Step Guide to Successful Email Outreach

by Mashum Mollah August 13, 2018
Email Outreach

In the world where instant message services come and go, email is the one constant that people can count on. It has outlived all internet correspondence, making it a favorite means of communication for many. Therefore, it’s not much of a surprise that email remains one of the most effective ways to connect with leads and eventually turn them to customers.

Generating buzz and closing deals without any leads in the pipeline is a challenge faced by sales, marketing and PR executives. Whether you are trying to get influencers to read the latest blog posts or bootstrapping, effective email outreach can open up new opportunities for your business.

This guide explores this problem and shows you to build a successful email outreach campaign from scratch.

Why Cold Email Outreach?

Increased popularity of social media has some marketers thinking that email will die out soon. However, that is not the case for the next several years. It may be old school, but there is a very negligible number of people who go a day without checking their email. That said, there are multiple reasons why email outreach remains a popular marketing solution.

  • Affordable: It saves money by eliminating the cost of executing and sending out printed pamphlets. You can send messages to 100 contacts with a single click, and it won’t cost you much.
  • Efficient: Email is time efficient, hence easy to scale up and optimize.
  • Appeal: Written word is far more appealing than spoken word. The freedom to attach documents, pictures, memes, links and more makes messages more lucrative and lively.
  • Targeted audience: A major advantage of emails is that they can be automated. This makes them particularly more fruitful when targeting a specific group. You can specify the target audience based on different factors like age, geography, income and job.
  • Interactive: Emails can be tailored to your target’s needs using graphics, videos, pictures, quizzes e.t.c. They are more interactive compared to waiting for prospects to find your website.
Recommended reading: Blogger Outreach: A Comprehensive Guide

What Are Your Goals?

Any good marketing campaign starts with identifying goals. After all, you cannot win a fight if you don’t know what you’re fighting for. Before you rush out and put an idea into action, it’s important that you slow down and think about what you’re trying to achieve. Common goals for an email outreach campaign are listed below.

  • Boost engagement with content
  • Welcome new subscribers and build a relationship with them
  • Segment subscribers and create more targeted campaigns
  • Drive sales and promote new products
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Re-engage subscribers who have been inactive
  • Nurture existing readers by providing value

Identify the Right Email Marketing Platforms

CRMs often provide email marketing features, but these aren’t the best for building self-sustaining outreach campaigns. You need a dedicated email marketing service provider with autoresponders and other advanced features. A few popular options include:

●     GetResponse

GetResponse

GetResponse is easy to use, affordable and imports your list in second. It offers more than 500 email templates, all of which are optimized for mobile devices. Its ease of use makes it popular among beginners looking to use autoresponders and send out newsletters.

GetResponse makes things easy for advanced users too. You can split test the body content or do custom integration using API. Specific features offered include landing pages, single opt-ins, good deliverability rates, time travel and mobile inbox previews. GetResponse also offers multiple third-party integrations like Paypal, Zendesk, WordPress, Shopify and SalesForce. Packages cost as low as $15/month, and discounts are offered with annual/biannual plans.

●     MailChimp

MailChimp

MailChimp is an incredible tool for autoresponders and newsletters. It allows users to send targeted emails, track progress, incorporate social media ad campaigns, design email templates and integrate major ecommerce platforms. The user interface is well designed and easy to use.

Perhaps what sets MailChimp apart is that they are the only email marketing platform to provide 100% free package. While it doesn’t allow access to advanced features like autoresponders, it offers a good starting point for those who don’t know much about email outreach. It is great for sending newsletters to a few hundred contacts.

There are two payment options i.e. monthly and pay as you go. The latter is good for sending emails sporadically.

There are several integrations you can make with MailChimp. You can connect the service to LeadPages, HubSpot, WordPress, InstaPage and other popular marketing tools.

The main downside is that MailChimp force users to double opt-in i.e. subscribers have to opt in on your website and confirm their email address to join your list. While a sensible rationale, double opt-in can have a negative impact on the size of your list.

●     ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is another feature packed email marketing and automation platform. While affordable and easy to use, what really sets it apart is that it comes with its own CRM system for lead management and marketing automation. At affordable rates starting at $9/month, ActiveCampaign is reasonably priced.

Marketing automation allows you to create pre-built sequences of emails and send them to subscribers who meet certain criteria. It makes it easy to build targeted campaigns based on their behavior on your site.

ActiveCampaign also allows you to add conditional to emails and personalize them using information collected from subscribers. Customer support is quite incredible, with responses to tickets coming in after less than an hour. The Zapier Integration feature comes handy when you want to connect to 1000+ services including SalesForce, Acuity Scheduling, EverNote, QuoteRoller and GotoWebinar.

Identify and Segment the Right Prospects

Purchasing email contacts is a shortcut that marketers shouldn’t take. Additionally, you should not add contacts from business cards you got from a conference. The reason why these methods don’t work is because your emails are basically spam and don’t benefit your business in any way. Anyone who doesn’t opt in for your email list specifically has no intention of purchasing from you.

To build your email list, start by importing contacts of existing customers to the preferred marketing platform. Here are more ideas on how to gather contacts.

  • Ecommerce platform: Your ecommerce platform will have information about existing customers. Depending on the platform, the method of exporting that information will vary. Check whether your email marketing solution allows you to integrate your ecommerce platform.
  • Email accounts: Another place to look for contacts would be your current and former email accounts. A Webmail account makes it pretty easy to export contacts in CSV format.
  • Contact management system: Contact management applications often sync with your mobile devices and social media, allowing you to get all contacts in one fell swoop.
  • CRM: Fairly popular CRMs integrate with email marketing services, making exportation of contacts in CSV format easy.

In addition to consolidating existing contacts, you can build a list from scratch using the methods described below.

  • Make subscription easy: Including a call to action at the bottom makes it more convenient for visitors to subscribe, especially if they are coming from promoted content or targeted ads.
  • Post compelling content: Creating relevant content and posting it on your site can go a long way towards building an email list. It is a slow way to build a subscription, but those who sign up have an invested interest in your email campaigns.
  • Facebook call to action: Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms. It has a call to action button that allows prospects to sign up to an email list. This feature is available for company profiles only and appears at the top of the page, alongside the like button.
  • Relevant and gated assets: This is particularly effective for B2B email campaigns. You can make assets like white papers, research reports, case studies and more to prospects who provide an email address.
  • Promotions for subscriptions: New subscribers can get discounts off the next purchase or free shipping. You can choose any promotion to build a list and drive sales at the same time.

The main reason for segmenting your email list is that it allows you to instantly send targeted emails based on demographics, interests or other characteristics. Depending on the nature of your business, there are multiple factors to consider when segmenting an email list.

  • Firmographics: These refer to company characteristics like headquarters, number of employees and industry revenue. They are particularly handy when it comes to sales or B2B marketing.
  • Demographics: These include data points that are specific to individuals like age, background, title, gender and language.
  • Amount spent: Customers who hit a certain threshold get benefits or discounts.
  • Time since last purchase: A good way to win past customers before they go cold is to offer them incentives. You can also preview upcoming sales or announce new merchandise.
  • Email engagement: Send abbreviated bi-weekly newsletters to your subscribers, with news of what has been trending during that period.

Set Up Your Campaign

Creating an email outreach campaign is a fairly straightforward process if you use a reliable marketing platform. Depending on the service provider, there are a series of steps between campaign creation and sending the emails. You may have to segment contacts and choose templates.

●     Header

The header is made up of three components i.e. sender name, subject line and preheader.

It is important that the email come from a personalized account. Rather than use your company name, a name that links back to the actual sender elicits better response.

The subject line is a critical component because it gets emails opened. It should spark curiosity and generate interest. In addition, it should sound too salesy or get flagged as spam. Its specific nature depends on your objectives. Are you sending a promotional email or getting attention to a cause?

The preheader appears under the subject line, and includes a call to action. It is often considered an extension of the subject line.

●     Body

Getting recipients to open your email is half the battle. You need to get them to click links on your page, and a combination of textual and visual representation will improve chances of success.

Instead of talking at your subscribers, have a conversation with them. Use their language and address their issues. This shows authenticity and elicits reactions.

It is also important that you keep the email short, clear and direct. You are not writing a bestseller novel and subscribers don’t have all day to read your emails.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Be sure to include a large picture at the top, or smaller ones scattered across the body. The approach will depend on your goals. Don’t shy away from using high definition photos.

Switching templates mid-campaign will have a negative impact on the results. A few variations are allowed, but consistency is crucial since readers should know what to expect.
Readers aren’t always willing to read dense paragraphs. Trim down text and break it up into short paragraphs to improve readership.

Most marketers put a call to action at the bottom of the email. But putting multiple CTAs across the email gives your subscribers several options to click through. Phrasing them differently ensures you don’t sound too salesy.

●     Footer

You want to wrap up emails efficiently and not leave your subscribers hanging. The conclusion is where you affirm your mission and welcome readers to engage with you on other platforms. Include your company’s physical address and unsubscribe links in accordance with federal laws. Buttons that link to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media accounts are a must.

Automate Email Outreach with Autoresponders

By now, you have grown your email list to epic proportions, segmented it and learned how to send effective emails. Congratulations! The next thing you have to do is automate the outreach campaign and turn it to a money making machine.

An autoresponder is one of the most powerful marketing tools used by website owners. It allows one to engage their subscribers, build relationships and successfully convert prospects to buyers. The best part about using autoresponders is that it gives you more time to focus on other aspects of the business.

So what is an autoresponder?

It is a sequence of emails that are sent to a segment of prospects automatically. This is triggered by certain events like downloading a PDF, subscribing to a newsletter, purchasing a product, or abandoning the cart. Email autoresponder series are created in advance and set up to be sent at specified times.

There are two main reasons why an online business requires an autoresponder. For starters, they provide valuable information and teaches prospects how to make informed decisions. Autoresponders also help turn prospects to customers by building a know, like and trust before proposing a purchase.

How to Create Effective Autoresponder Series

Goal for Autoresponder

While there are endless possibilities when it comes to the goals of your autoresponder, here are four main objectives you can choose.

  • Lead magnet and free mini course: Autoresponders are often utilized as lead magnets to attract new magnets. This is achieved by promising a series of educational emails over the course of a few days/weeks/months.
  • Welcome sequence for new subscribers: The most common use for transponders is sending new subscribers a welcome message. An email could contain a thank you for subscribing, a free download and call to action to read popular posts.
  • Promote upsells and cross sells: You can set an autoresponder sequence for when customers make a purchase. For instance, you can offer tripods and lens to customers who buy a camera. If you sell perishable or disposable products, you can send offers for new items when they are due for another purchase.
  • Make sales on autopilot: This is common among information marketers, software companies and service providers. It may involve a sequence of free educational emails with invites to webinars, education videos and follow ups to sell product information.

Map out autoresponder sequence

To draft an outline for your autoresponder sequence, it is important that you decide how long you want it to be. Keep in mind that there isn’t a universal rule as to how long a sequence should be, so long as it helps achieve set objectives. Other factors that determine its length include subscriber segments and preferences.

You should also consider how far apart each email will be sent. If running a huge sale that is about to end, three or four emails each day will suffice. Otherwise, two or three emails every week will do.

The idea is to find a perfect balance between value and sales. You can use the 80/20 rule, where you send 20% sales emails.

Write emails that convert

This is the hardest part of setting up an autoresponder sequence. While it’s best to outsource it to a copywriter, here are a few things to remember if doing it yourself.

  • Focus on readers: The emails should address your subscribers’ problems and offer solutions. Marketers make a mistake of just talking about how great their products are, and this is not enough to elicit clicks or purchases.
  • Use great subject lines: As previously noted, the subject line gets emails opened. Spend a significant amount of time polishing your subject lines, and ensure they spark curiosity.
  • Personalization is important: Personalizing autoresponder emails makes them more valuable to your readers. In addition to inserting the subscriber’s first name, you need to tailor the content to their actual needs.

Track and Improve

An autoresponder sequence is not something you build and simply forget about it. It is important that you monitor the progress of your efforts, and identify areas that need improvement. Pay attention to the open rates i.e. are the subject lines good, autoresponders relevant or emails sent at the best times? \

What about the click through rates? Do readers take actions you want them to after opening emails? A low click through rate could mean that the body of your emails needs to be more effective. It could also mean that the body isn’t relevant to the subject line, call to action is not clear enough or that the links aren’t easy to find.

You lose potential customers when the unsubscription rates are too high. Check for reasons why they subscribed in the first place, and if your emails deliver on that promise. Ensure you provide continued value to readers and that autoresponders are sent to relevant customers.

Conclusion

That is all there is to email outreach campaigns. You build a list, segment it and automate the entire campaign. There are many tools at your disposal, and you can always take advantage of our email outreach service. In addition to growing an email list, we automate the campaigns and keep tabs on them to ensure they continue to deliver exceptional results.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum is Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at BloggerOutreach.io, the company that provides Blogger Outreach Services. He is the chief-in-editor of Social Media Magazine. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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