Using Cold Email Outreach to Generate Demand
Which intro line would you most likely click on?
"Struggling to manage your customer data? Buy our CRM software”
“How well are you managing your customer data? Take the quiz to find out”
Many business to business companies will buy an email database and then use cold email outreach to generate leads, we call this lead generation.
When done well buying an email database can help drive business growth and reduce any reliance on other channels such as Pay Per Click. It’s fast and as I say when done well, highly cost effective. When I say highly cost effective I mean that if you’ve already bought an email database, you can generate thousands of pounds in sales revenue from a campaign that cost just a few pounds to send.
It’s really that simple and likely the reason cold email outreach has been a go to channel for many businesses for decades!
Most of the cold email campaigns I see however sell a product or a service, including to a certain extent our own emails here at Emailmovers - these emails are sent out either through a bulk email delivery platform like Deliverite or slowly over time as a sequence through a 1-2-1 email delivery platform like Sherpa.
Up until recently I was convinced the following process was the best (and only) way to sell by email:
- Choose your Product
- Create your Product Offer
- Design/Build a Landing Page to promote the offer with form to capture leads
- Design/Build an Email that links from the inbox to the landing page
- Choose your target Audience based on job title and company description, size and location.
- Send Email (make sure it reaches the inbox)
- Convert Leads that register through the form
However, I’m no longer sure I’ve got this 100% right. In fact, despite doing this for over 20 years I myself now believe I have some of it wrong. Don’t misunderstand me, Emailmovers greatest channel to market is email marketing and as a channel it outperforms all our other channels however I believe our thinking has been too linear. Let me explain why.
I attended the AI Dinner last month in London and was given a demonstration of ScoreApp by Daniel Priestley. ScoreApp and products like it sit between your product and your customer. In theory therefore you create and then promote your ScoreCard, not your product.
I know how that sounds but please bear with me.
This does sound like you might be creating bottlenecks or confusion in your customer journey but actually - tools like ScoreApp help in a number of ways:
- Stops your brand as coming across as always selling
- Gives value
- Generates quality leads
- Identifies the pain points clients are experiencing
- Improves overall brand awareness
Last year, when I began researching ScoreApp and other similar tools I found a diverse range available under the umbrella title “demand generation” (demand gen). When I researched this term I found the following definition on an Amazon Ads page: “Demand generation is a marketing strategy that looks at consumer need, and the product you're offering, and then finding the perfect way to bring awareness to that product in a way that will hopefully later translate to promising leads.”
“So, hello #demandgen World, where have you been hiding?”
Yes, #demandgen even has its own hashtag on Twitter.
When I began to research other demand generation techniques I found a huge amount of information available - this is when I came across the word “Touchpoint”. Touch points are a point of contact or interaction, especially between a business and its customers - ScoreApp and apps like it allow companies to create a ScoreCard (Quiz) that customers can interact with, in short - it’s a “touchpoint”.
The idea is that the more touch points you have with a customer the more likely they are to translate into a quality lead.
Think of this process like a pinball machine, your prospect is the ball hurtling through time, your touchpoints are those bumpers that keep the ball on its journey towards your goal.
You might ask yourself “Why?”.
Why bother creating these touch points when I can just drive people to my landing page to fill out a form.
Well, if you send a bulk email promoting a landing page with a form on it to 10,000 people and 10% open that email then you will have your message read by around 1,000 people. If 10% of those people then click through to your landing page then you will have 100 clicks. If 10% of those people then fill out your form then you will have 10 leads. If you have a conversion rate of 20% then you will have 2 new customers and if you have an average order value of £600 then you will have £1,200 in revenue however;
If you promote a Scorecard to 10,000 people and 15% open it then you will have your message read by approximately 1,500 people. If 15% of those people then click through to your landing page then you will have 225 people engaging with your touchpoint. If 15% of those people then fill out your ScoreCard then you will have 33 people demonstrating intent. If you then create an email nurture sequence to engage those 33 people and get a conversion to lead rate of 20% then you will have 6 leads, if you then convert 50% of those leads to new customers with an average order value of £900 then you will have £2,700 in revenue, instead of £600.
It takes longer but generates higher revenues.
In theory, the Scorecard should appeal to a broader audience and therefore attract more engagement - roughly 50% more as it’s “educational”. That education should then convert to value - i.e. now I know I have a low score, understand how that low score is affecting my business/team performance and understand how to improve my score, I can see the value of product XYZ - all I now need is to understand the cost of product XYZ and can then make an informed decision that will improve my business/team performance.
Paul is a business coach working with business owners looking to improve the performance of their business. He bought an email database last year and has been sending an email that promotes a free 1:2:1 coaching offer to it regularly, the subject line was “Book a 1:2:1 with a leading business coach today”.
In the beginning he generated 2 or 3 booked calls every time he sent to the list through Deliverite however over the last couple of months he’s only been getting one booked call and at times, none at all!
To combat this, Paul created a Scorecard using ScoreApp that helps business owners score the performance of each department within their business by answering 5 simple questions on each department.
He emailed this to his email database with the subject line “See how well your business is performing” instead of his regular offer and saw an increase in open rate, click through rate and engagement.
He contacted every person that completed the Quiz in person by telephone and booked 6 follow-up, 1:2:1 coaching sessions to discuss their overall score and ways they might improve it.
As the Scorecard would live on a website and likely be considered editorial content we could look at other touchpoints. These other touchpoints can be broken down into the following 3 categories:
- Case Studies
There are a bewildering number of different options and you can only imagine the amount of work required to complete all of the above however it’s not at all necessary to try and cover off everything. I only listed them as a reference so that we can understand where Scorecards sit.
And, with advances in Artificial Intelligence, a Scorecard that would have taken up to 6 weeks to research and prepare just a short while ago can now be ready in minutes.
So, with all the above in mind, instead of always sending an email that links to a landing page focusing on your product/service you would link to a Scorecard, Survey, Case Study or the Webinar.
Therefore, instead of saying:
“Struggling to manage your customer data? Buy our CRM software”
You might instead say
“How well are you managing your customer data? Take our quiz”
I’m not saying that product focused sales copy won’t work. Email does work when you hit the right person at the right time. I remember during lockdown a client offering lone worker devices created a free trial offer, bought an email database of HR managers of large UK PLC’s and sent a 1-2-1 email sequence through Sherpa over a period of 3 weeks and received very high quality leads from very large companies. It was the right offer at the right time targeting the right person.
In conclusion therefore, I think we need to be doing both. Continue running your product focused, traditional lead gen campaigns via bulk HTML to make sure you capture those people with a current requirement but also run demand generation campaigns that repeatedly deliver value.
You may soon find that your pipeline from “demand generation” outgrows your pipeline from “lead generation”.