Let’s be honest… we all hate getting emails from strangers. Whilst cold emailing can have impressive open rates, the typical reply rates is less than 2%. Cold emailing might have worked in the past, but it’s nowhere near as effective now as it used to be.
But more importantly, it’s not the only way to source new leads.
Building a relationship with prospects, before reaching out over email, allows you to foster trust, provide value, and ask for their email personally, which vastly improves your chances of getting a reply.
Why You Shouldn’t Conduct Cold Emailing
There are a host of tools available to help you find any email address you wish. And, of course, we’ve all looked up the email address for someone at Company X and replicated the formatting to reach the person we have in our view.
But is this really the best way to reach prospects? You only have one chance to make an impression. To avoid the “open … blank stare … delete” cycle, consider how to earn your prospect’s attention. Create content, useful materials, and videos targeted toward their unique needs.
How not to find email addresses
Buying email lists sounds like an easy way to increase your pipeline with new leads? It is, but it also comes with some big downsides, not least risking falling foul of GDPR regulations.
What to do instead
If Steve works at a manufacturing company you’d like to do business with, find or create a piece of content that highlights how your product has reduced widget machine mistakes by up to 45%. Share that content with Steve over LinkedIn, a professional group you’re both active in, or Twitter.
Once you’ve provided value and engaged in casual conversation, gauge the situation to discern when to ask for Steve’s email. For example, you might send him a LinkedIn message saying:
We’ve been exchanging comments about my article on error reduction for widget manufacturing machines for a while now and I wonder whether our product could produce similar results for your company. If you share your email, I’ll follow up with you directly.
If you’ve provided enough value to Steve and you have a product or service he’s interested in, he might be open to sharing his email address with you.
Of course, there are times when all you need is an email address, and there are appropriate ways to access a person’s email address that won’t make your skin crawl.
1. View the “Contact Us” page of their company website.
Use the contact information listed there to call the company directly or send an exploratory email to their main mailbox. With either approach, try a message that goes something like this:
My name is Phil and I work with XYZ Widget Solutions. I wonder if you could help me? I’m hoping to learn more about how you manage your widget manufacturing machines, would you be able to put me on contact with the right person to talk to about that?
2. View their author page.
Has your prospect written for their company blog? View their author bio and check for “contact me” information.
3. Use LinkedIn to build rapport.
I get lots of LinkedIn spam I open and immediately delete. If you’re asking to connect with a prospect on LinkedIn, include a message that tells them why you’re a fan or their business or work, share a valuable piece of information, and tell them why you’d appreciate a connection. Here’s what that looks like:
I’m impressed with the work you do with Company X. I saw your recent comments on an article about widget machine errors and they really struck a chord; (I’ve seen my fair share of terrifying widget errors).
Just wanted to say hello and that I’d love to connect here.
You’ve flattered the prospect’s work, asked for a simple “close” (i.e., “Can we connect?”), and left things friendly and balanced. Once you’ve connected, share articles you know are relevant to your prospect and continue to engage with the content they share. Once you’ve built enough rapport, reach out and close for Steve’s email address.
4. Reach out on Twitter.
Does your contact have a Twitter handle? Google search: “Steve Jones Twitter” to find out. A simple introductory message like, “@SteveJones, I enjoyed your recent post on widget error reduction. Do you have any other posts to share on the topic?”
You’ve flattered your prospect (in a non-creepy way) and asked for them to share more information with you, engaging them in casual conversation. If Steve replies with another article link, it might be time to share a few of his most salient points through a Direct Message.
If that conversation goes well, consider popping the question: “Steve, could we continue this conversation over email?”
5. Subscribe to their email list.
Many companies send a daily or weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to these emails, read them, and reply to the authors via email, Twitter, or LinkedIn with your praise, thoughts, and questions.
6. Pick up the phone.
Before you try this strategy, make sure you’ve tried all the methods above to get in touch with someone electronically. If you’re not getting responses through this manner, and you have reason to believe the person you’re trying to reach hasn’t received those messages, you can try picking up the phone.
Prospecting doesn’t need to be hard, but it take careful planning. If you’re struggling to prospect, then maybe we can help.