Keeping the sales pipeline full of promising prospects is high on the priority list of all marketers. However, reaching this goal using cold email outreach is not a go-to strategy for most, but it should be. That’s right, we’re championing the positive possibilities cold email outreach offers your business. Now before you think we’ve had one adult beverage too many, we need to clarify that we’re not talking about the deeply impersonal, mail-merged, spam-wannabees of yesteryear. We’re talking about highly-personalized cold emails that work hard without you hardly working on them at all — in other words, automated cold emails.
Current Cold Email Stats to Get Excited About
If you and cold emails have a tricky past, colored by expensive lists and lackluster performance, it’s time to reset your expectations. According to recent research, cold emailing was the top outbound tactic of 2021. In fact, one third (34%) of marketers say it’s more efficient than other channels. Aside from being popular, here are some stats from the Data and Marketing Association that set the bar for where your expectations should be with cold email outreach:
- 15% is the current conversion rate of a cold email
- 19% of transactions are generated by cold emails
- $38 for every $1 invested is the average ROI of cold emails
- 36% of the total revenue of cold emailing is generated by segmented emails
- 306% is the increase in click-through rates for triggered (automated) cold email campaigns
Now that you know that automated cold emails have the potential to bring in real revenue, let’s talk about how to get there.
Step 1: Identify Your Target Audience
Although it may be tempting to purchase a list and send a cold email to everyone on it to see what sticks – don’t do that. The trick to getting cold emails to be engaging is to make them personal. This means you need to invest the time to identify your target audience. When it comes to identifying your target market, make sure you keep an open mind as you narrow your sights. An easy go-to strategy for identifying your target is to write down the characteristics of your current top customers and then use those qualities to hone in on your target. However, it’s also important to be open to new audiences. ZenBusiness, a consultancy for entrepreneurs, recommends asking yourself the following questions when searching for your ideal target:
- Who has the greatest need for your products/services?
- Who gains the most benefits?
- Who are the decision-makers and influencers involved in a typical sale?
- Who are your competitors targeting?
- What geographic areas are producing the most revenue for your business?
Step 2: Segment Your Lists
Once you have identified your target market, you will want to divide the people on this list into smaller groups that share multiple commonalities. The Harvard Business Review recommends segmenting your lists based on five increasingly complex criteria. Listed from simplest to most-involved are:
- Demographics/Firmographics: Examples include industry, company size and location.
- Operating Variables: Examples include company technology preferences, product and brand preferences, customer capabilities such as known operating, technical, or financial strengths and weaknesses.
- Purchasing Approaches: The factors in this segment include the people and power structures involved in buying, the nature of buyer-seller relationships, and their general purchasing policies and criteria.
- Situational Factors: These require detailed knowledge of the customer and include the urgency of order fulfillment, product application, and the size of order.
- Buyers’ Personal Characteristics: You can segment markets based on the individual people involved in the purchase. Characteristics to consider here include buyer motivation, individual perceptions, and risk-management strategies.
Depending on the size of your budget, staff and time available, you can segment your email lists based on one or all of the aforementioned segmenting criteria.
A Good Segmentation Strategy Requires Good Data
It’s important to note that the ongoing success of your segmenting strategy is wholly dependent upon the overall quality of your data. Clean, complete and enriched data enables you to segment your target markets with both confidence and laser precision. To ensure the data for your segments is ready for use, you need to be able to orchestrate your data by connecting data sources, such as your marketing automation platform (MAP), customer relationship management system (CRM) and any other tools in your martech stack that are gathering, storing and using customer data.
Be sure to check out Part Two of 5 Steps for Getting Great Results With Automated Cold Email Outreach, where we will cover the final three steps you need to take in order to get great results from cold emails.