Cold email marketing is hard. Open rates and response rates can be low because the people who you are emailing don’t know who you are, and they probably don’t care.
Wouldn’t it be nice if they weren’t cold emails? What if you could warm them up a little bit, so they know who you are, or at least feel a little familiar with your name and/or company name?
Well, you can, and here are few tactics that will help you do so.
1. Show them ads via LinkedIn or Facebook
Did you know you can upload a CSV of your prospects to Facebook and LinkedIn, and then build custom audiences based on them?
These platforms won’t be able to find every single prospect you upload (more like 40% of them if you’re lucky) but that could still be super helpful.
Once they’ve seen ads for your company, they may think you’re a bigger company than you really are, and they should at least recognize your company name when you do cold email them, helping your open and response rates.
This is a great way to introduce them to your service offerings, the benefits of your products, and top of funnel content.
Keep in mind that you want your ads to “be enough”, in that they should have enough content within the ads that your prospects can learn about WHY they should use your company/product/service. Don’t expect them to click through the ads, just use the ads as tiny sales pitches in themselves.
Also, if your company has spent $50k plus with Google Ads, you can apply to show ads based on email addresses too via their platform. Talk to your account rep there. If you're not at that level of spending yet, you could use a service like AdRoll to get your ads shown to a CSV of email addresses.
2. Feed them to LinkedIn as your contacts
Surely you’re on LinkedIn. Everyone seems to be. And if you’re doing highly targeted marketing like account marketing and going after high value prospects, you should try to connect with these folks on LinkedIn.
It can be hard to find people one by one on LinkedIn, and if you’re using the free version, you get limited on how much searching you do anyway.
One thing you can do to make finding these prospects quicker and easier on LinkedIn is to import all your prospects to your email client (Gmail, Outlook, whatever) as contacts.
Then, on LinkedIn, go to My Network —> Contacts —> +Add more contacts and tell it to look in your email account.
You could even start a new Gmail account to import all the contacts too if you wanted to keep your main email account more clean.
But once you’ve told LinkedIn to check those contacts, you should see a lot of the prospects’ LinkedIn profiles, so start requesting people (but don’t overdo it, because if too many people say they don’t know you, you can get punished by LinkedIn, and understandably so!)
Remember that personalizing the request message makes a huge difference in acceptance rates, so be sure to do that.
Once they're your connection, they can see the content you regularly share about your company (you do that right??? You should) and then become aware of your offerings. Introduce yourself to them, but don't be too sales-y right away, and see if you can offer them something of value for free before outright pitching them. It works.
3. Show them testimonials, your blog content and press releases around the web
This is similar to the first tactic, but instead of just showing them ads around Facebook and LinkedIn (and LinkedIn ads can be VERY expensive, mind you), you can upload a CSV of email addresses to ad platforms like AdRoll and then show them ads around the web.
Showing them mobile ads focused on branding can be very affordable ad spend, to try to ingrain your brand into their brain before you reach out.
You can also take testimonials from current customers and make those into ads and have them shown around the web, as well as taking any press releases or positive press that your company has gotten and make those into ads.
Do you have content for your top of funnel? Making ads for that to show to your prospects can help too. At worst, they won’t click them but they might at least recognize your company name. At best, they’ll click through, get into your regular retargeting funnels and read your content so they’ll be very warm by the time you email them.
Bonus: Longer term relationship building
I asked a friend of mine with a pretty big marketing agency for other ideas on what you can do with a list of prospect email addresses, and he said to just focus on getting them on your newsletter in order to build a longer term relationship, so that instead of trying to get their business right away, they stay on your newsletter and get exposed to your content, and then reach out when they're ready.
How would he do this? Build a custom audience in Facebook from the email list. And then drive traffic to a bit of content, with a clear opt-in, like a hyper specific content upgrade related to the piece, something that will make them opt-in to your list.
You can NOT and should not just put prospects on your newsletter, as that is a huge no-no and will piss them off. But if you run ads to them, and they end up opting in at your site and getting on your list, that's awesome, and totally kosher.
Warm them up however you can!
Cold email marketing is hard enough, so take whatever steps you can before you reach out to make it a little less cold.
And as cold emails get harder and harder to deliver, focusing only on the higher value prospects that could really make a difference to your business and spending time on tactics like this to warm them up, and then sending them very personalized emails may be necessary to see any results from email marketing in 2020 and beyond.
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