Today I’m going to show you exactly how to crush a B2B cold email marketing campaign.
In fact, this is the same process that’s helped me grow my increase conversion rates over 100% compared to previous cold email campaigns.
It’s important to note – this is not rocket science.
Many B2B marketers are hesitant to try cold email as an outreach method for B2B marketing. But, honestly, it is one of the best and cost-effective strategies for generating sales qualified leads.
It’s true that, when done poorly, cold email could easily become a spammy nightmare.
However, after much testing and failures, we were able to implement this very simple hack to completely skyrocket our B2B cold email marketing success.
So what, you might ask, is the secret?
One word: context
Campaign Background and Goals
Let’s take a step back and look at what this campaign was and what its goals were.
The company in question was a content-based site that monetized via sponsored content.
These sponsored pieces were purchased either individually or in bulk – and it was the bulk buyers we were after.
The goal of this campaign was to generate sales-qualified prospects for our sales team to go after.
While we were also doing “traditional” inbound marketing, we felt that it was going to be more successful to attempt some outbound, account-based marketing.
After discussing internally and looking at previous campaigns we had done – their successes and failures – we set out to create a campaign that would be infinitely more effective and successful than any other we had done up to that point.
First, we had to define the persona of the target that we’re going after.
Every company should have ideal personas that they go after.
Based on the persona that you have created, you can then build your content and positioning to gain their interest.
However, especially with smaller startups, your company may have not done this yet.
For this particular B2B campaign we look at several variables:
- Job Title
- Company Size
- Immediacy of Need
For this campaign, we looked for the following:
- Director of Marketing
- 30+ employees
- Decision maker
- $100,000 annual marketing budget
- Looking to do a branding campaign in the next month
Lastly, and most importantly, we were looking at companies that have raised a round of funding greater than $1 million in the last month.
The reasoning behind this was that any startup that has recently raised money:
- Has a budget
- Is clearly trying to get more visibility around their brand
Before starting our research, we created a spreadsheet that included 6 fields:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Company Name
- Job Title
- Amount Raised
This spreadsheet would end up as a .csv file and be uploaded to our marketing automation platform for use during the campaign.
First, we needed to find companies that met our most important criteria – recent round of funding.
To do this, I went over to a highly underutilized channel for B2B prospect research – CrunchBase.
Once we had our list of companies, amount of money raised, and the date of the funding round, we went over to LinkedIn to find the Directors of Marketing at those companies.
Given that the target market included Marketing Directors at startups, it was the most reasonable place to look.
Once we had the names, job titles, companies, as well as the titles of the jobs that these companies were looking for, we then set out to find their actual contact information.
One tool that I found to be successful over and over again, is hunter.io, which has both a freemium and paid subscription service that essentially allows you to find the email addresses of anybody.
In essence, Hunter will look at the person’s name, company, and company URL. If they can’t find their exact email address, they’ll match the naming convention of other people at that company, and will give you a likelihood of if the email address is correct.
In my experience, Hunter has been correct about 85% of the time.
We did have a paid account, so we were able to upload a CSV large scale and spit out the results of the emails.
Once we had all the relevant information, we then uploaded our .csv list to our marketing automation tool.
(At the time, the platform we used was Pardot)
We then set out to create smart email cadences in order to get relevant email content in front of our prospects.
Some of the fields in our .csv file – namely amount raised – were not default fields and therefore needed to be added as “custom fields.”
It was this field that was the most crucial aspect of the campaign, as it was the information that added context to the cold emails.
The emails and subject lines themselves were written as templates, but utilized mail merges in a way that would make the recipient feel like it was written just for them.
Given that subject lines are the key to getting someone to open an email, we made sure to include the Amount Raised field within the subject.
Congrats on raising <Amount Raised>
There are a few things to notice here.
- It’s short
- It’s simple
- It’s personalized
The body of the first cold email began as follows:
“Hi, <first name>,
I noticed that <company> just raised <amount raised> – congrats!”
Here, too, you can see that we accomplished two things: personalization and context.
The email continued:
“I wanted to let you know that we have the perfect audience for you to increase your brand awareness and generate relevant traffic”
Finally, we ended with a call to action…
Testing Calls to Action
We tested two different strategies in terms of calls to action.
- Fill out a form to schedule a meeting
- Respond with the best time to speak
We found that a response was much more effective.
Overall, what we did in this campaign created the outcome in which were able to convert 10% of these prospects into sales qualified leads that our sales team was able to work with.
This was a campaign that was extremely successful and something I duplicated over and over again.
Regardless of the industry that you’re in, all that you need to do is create context.
Prospects then get cold emails that don’t seem like they are automated, it seems like they are unique and personalized to that individual person.
And by doing that you will see an incredible increase in the success rate of your cold email marketing campaigns.