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How to Use Email Outreach to Land Your Dream Client 

Learn how to use email outreach to effectively communicate with cold leads, nurture them, and turn them into paying clients!

Woman at laptop working on email outreach

For years now, business owners and marketers keep talking about the superiority of email over other channels.  The overwhelming majority of small businesses use cold emails for customer acquisition, and for good reason with its 66% conversion rate.

You might already be using email marketing to nurture your leads and communicate with current clients, but you can also use cold email outreach to develop more potential customers. When used properly, cold emailing helps you introduce your business and services in a more personalized way than what your website can offer. 

Benefits of cold email outreach as a lead generation tool

Cold emailing isn’t a miracle– let’s make sure that’s clear. If you don’t have a strategy in place, you can be emailing the wrong people or doing so in a way that’s more annoying than enticing. 

If you think cold outreach campaigns will get you piles of data you don’t know what to do with, and a few terse emails telling you to back off, you’re not wrong. But if done right, they can also help with:

  • Expanding your reach: Billions of people use email. Yes, social media is growing popular each day, but nothing can beat the reach of cold emails. 
  • Persistent messaging: Unlike ads, or social media posts that don’t show up on everyone’s feeds, emails wait. They offer you the kind of autonomy that no algorithm-based channel can.
  • Networking: The one-on-one communication that takes place through emails goes a long way in building meaningful customer relationships. 
  • Measuring ROI: Because of the transparency of email campaign data, you can calculate returns with more ease than channels like content and social media marketing. 

Steps for converting clients through email outreach 

Despite being an incredibly useful tool for networking and driving conversions, email outreach is a crowded platform and has typically low response rates (between 1% to 5%). If you want to beat competitors and book projects you’re enthusiastic about, you should follow the following steps. 

1. Set SPF, DKIM and DMARC & warm-up your email address 

You know how some establishments card you when you first try to get in? Some others take their security very seriously and check everything, from the keys in your pocket to your jackets and shoes. Regulars, on the other hand, can breeze in after a fist bump with the bouncers. 

Your cold email is that newbie at the bar. The spam filters and email system that your leads use won’t let emails in unless they’ve confirmed its origin. SPF, DKIM and DMARC are like giant badges you put on your emails signifying: 

  1. They’re from you, not someone pretending to be you – this is what Sender Policy Framework does (SPF)
  2. The contents of the email are exactly the way you sent them, and they haven’t been tampered with by an interceptor – this is what DomainKeys Identified Mail does (DKIM)
  3. What to do with an email that doesn’t pass either or both of these test – this is what Domain-based Message Authentication does (DMARC)

The good news is that you probably already have SPF and DKIM set up, if your email service provider and the provider you bought for your website domain from are the same. For example, if you purchased your domain name (www.mydomain.com) from MailChimp and also use their emailing services, you have SPF and DKIM automatically verified and all you need to do is set up DMARC.

If that’s not the case, then you’ll have to first set them up on your domain provider’s website in the DNS settings, and then add those details to the account you have with your ESP. 

And to make things watertight, be sure to warm up your domain before you start sending out cold emails by the dozens. That means you send a couple of emails every day in the beginning (preferably to people that know you) and build yourself a decent open and response rate. You can gradually increase the number of emails and start your cold outreach once you have a decent sender reputation.

2. Create an ideal client profile 

A major factor in the low response rates to cold emails is how impersonal they are. When you don’t know who you’re talking to, it’s difficult to get the verbiage right. You could also be spending precious time and energy chasing the wrong clients.

Creating an ideal client profile takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation. It’s a four-step process:

  • Step 1: Figure out who you don’t want to work for. Put all those bad experiences to good use and start listing client traits that haven’t worked out in the past. It could be a problematic organizational structure that had too many or too few decision-makers. Or an inadequate budget. Maybe your working styles or personalities clashed. Just looking out for these non-negotiables will save you a lot of grief down the line.
  • Step 2: Identify the ideal businesses or type of clients you’re targeting. This includes the basics like industry, size or budget, and location. Using this, you can chart out the extent and scope of your work, the pricing, and the sales cycle length you can expect.
  • Step 3: Determine the problems you can help them solve. If you know what your ideal clients’ worst nightmares are, you’ll be able to build solutions they value. Eventually, they’ll be the ones seeking you out instead of the other way around. It also helps to identify and describe everyday situations you could help them with. The more specific your understanding of their issues is, the more it’ll resonate with them.
  • Step 4: Show that you understand their goals. Empathy and a shared vision play key roles in forging business relationships. The final push in convincing a client to work with you is where you can help them reach after you’ve solved their problems. If you know what they want and value most, you can highlight those features in the product/service you’re offering.

3. Create a client prospecting strategy 

The effort you put into building your ideal client profile is inversely proportional to the time it’ll take you to do sales prospecting. The more you slack off on building the profile, the more legwork you’re going to have to put into prospecting. 

Say you’ve decided to pitch your web design services to mid-sized architecture firms in Manchester. That means pages 2-5 of Google search results for ‘architect firm manchester’ should hit the sweet spot. These are businesses that see a regular influx of visitors and can afford your services, but they aren’t top-tier businesses who likely already have web design services in place (these will likely be the businesses on page one.)

Next, you get to work finding the email addresses of the principal director or director. Since their team sizes are small (below 20), you can directly contact the chief decision-maker.

Check their LinkedIn or Twitter to safeguard against potential embarrassment (if they’ve changed jobs) and get an idea for your opener (a recent company milestone you could mention).

This will all go to waste if the address you’re sending to is invalid. Use an email address checker to validate the addresses on your list. If it’s an invalid email address, you’re better off finding an alternative point of contact in the organization.

4. Write a winning cold outreach email

There is an insane amount of pressure on cold emails to get the job done – whether it’s to be opened, read, clicked on, engaged with, or to result in a conversion. That pressure often seeps through and makes the email look spammy and manipulative. To avoid that:

  • Write fresh subject lines – As the most noticeable part of your email, your subject line has to sound like something that wasn’t mass-produced in the ‘sell-hard-or-die-trying’ factory. Your pitch can come later, in the copy. Opt for a fresher approach like story-telling or an open-ended sentence. Use lowercase, or ask a question.  Avoid the $ sign, ‘100%’, ‘free’, and all caps at all costs. And use pre-header text to double the impact of your subject line.
  • Write straightforward email copy – Greetings are important, as are introductions. But you’re writing an email to someone that’s never heard of you, so don’t ramble. A simple, informal ‘Hey {first_name}’ followed by a personalized opener is enough. Use your copy to demonstrate your expertise, but in a way that puts the spotlight on prospects, their problems, and how you can solve them. Do your research before you reach out to a lead. The more value you offer, the more likely they are to respond.
  • Emphasize a single, clear CTA – Before you start writing an email, ask yourself what its end goal is. Are you sending it for brand awareness? Do you want them to schedule a consultation? Is it to get them to read your brochure? When you’re done writing the email, read it again and remove everything that doesn’t align with your CTA. Use realistic, achievable CTAs that are easy to say yes to. 

Pro Tip: Use interactive smart files that let you streamline multiple touchpoints into one, engaging document. You can still emphasize scheduling a consultation as your primary CTA, but HoneyBooks smart files let you include your meeting scheduler along with a quick section about your business or a video introducing yourself (it’s up to you what to include!)

  • Harness the power of social proof – How many times have you bought something just because someone you knew did, too? Your leads are no different. Hearing from other people that have worked with you – through customer testimonials, case studies, or competitor name-dropping – achieves the twin goals of creating FOMO and trust at the same time. 

5. Automate a follow-up sequence

Your cold email is one of the billions that get sent every day. Add to that the fact that your recipient doesn’t know you, and the chances of them being too busy to read it, ignoring it, or reading it and then forgetting about it, are pretty high.

Create a templatized sequence using HoneyBook’s automation feature. Set up a reminder to be sent a few days after your first email, and then a couple more times before you give up on them. You can also tweak the email to personalize it right before it gets sent.

A no-nonsense follow-up along the lines of ‘Hey, have you had a chance to consider my proposal yet?’ in the same thread is fine sometimes. Or you can go for something that adds more value. 

Another great follow-up strategy is to ask to be redirected to a different person in the organization more suited to taking the conversation forward.

6. Track the results and adjust your campaigns 

Cold outreach campaigns are notorious for generating swathes of data that you can derive hundreds of metrics from, analyze to death, and still come away none the wiser. These metrics are always good to keep an eye on: 

  • Deliverability rate – Are you sending your emails at the right time?
  • Open rate – Are your subject lines getting you the number of unique opens that you want?
  • Click-through rate – Are enough readers clicking on your links and CTAs?

However, the true test of success lies in the response and meetings booked rate. 

To improve your metrics, you can try making your emails more personalized and interactive, or make the process of scheduling a meeting easier by including a link to your calendar showing the different slots available.

With each batch of cold emails that you send, keep monitoring the stats. A/B test your emails to take them one step closer to perfection with every attempt.

Use cold emails to attract your dream clients 

Cold outreach is a thing of beauty. It lets you take a single template, with a proven track record of driving conversions, and send it to potential clients, as long as they have an email address. With automation, you don’t even have to do the sending yourself. No matter which way you look at it, in terms of cost, efficiency, or ROI, it’s a winner. 

So implement these suggestions in your campaigns, and when the data for your new campaigns start coming in, review their effectiveness. Make some tweaks to suit your business, and start collaborating with the clients of your dreams.

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