When I first started my own business full-time, I was waiting around for clients to fall from the sky.
I thought I would get some leads through the enquiry form on my website, and I’d convert at least 1 of them.
I thought doing cold outreach was optional.
Fast forward to today, I now make $120K a year from my agency.
As you can see, outreach is a necessity.
I tried cold outreach on 3 different platforms:
In this week’s newsletter, I’m breaking down my experience on these platforms and what I learned.
According to Google Consumer Surveys, people have 2 email accounts on average.
I know of a guy from Uni who had 17. (compensating much?)
If you have yet to use email for your cold outreach, you should definitely try it out.
P.S. I did purchase a cold outreach course from a friend, AJ Cassata. He runs a New York-based lead-gen agency and lives with his wife in Vietnam.
First and foremost, you are sending an email to the key decision maker.
This can be the founder, director, or manager.
Having direct communication with these people boosts the probability of booking a meeting because they actually care about the business.
The second benefit is there are ways to run automated cold email campaigns for free.
Lastly, email is such a popular outreach method that there are plenty of freemium SaaS products to make it even easier than it already is.
You know how YouTubers prioritize video titles and thumbnails?
For emails, it’s the subject line.
You do not want the recipient to:
The goal of the subject line is ONLY to encourage the click.
A good open rate to aim for is ~15%. Anything above 25% is excellent.
The open rate of my first campaign was 9%, so this is definitely something that gets better with time.
The biggest mistake I made at the start is to ask for a meeting right in the first email.
No matter how high my open rate was, the response rate was miniscule.
I then changed the content to simply qualify the recipient.
This improved the response rate, but I knew it had to be better.
Then I heard this advice from AJ, “People often forget that prospects are humans too. They yearn connection and hate being sold to, just like the rest of us.”
So, I made sure that at least 50% of the email was about their business.
The remaining parts of the email were my social proof and CTA asking if they’d like to learn more.
The response rate shot up to… 100%.
This meant that anyone who opened the email responded.
I once asked a lead what made him agree to book a meeting with me.
“Because you were persistent.”
Following up is 100% necessary. But to what end?
I’ve heard of advice to follow up until you get a firm “No”.
It might have worked for the people who gave the advice, but it definitely wasn’t for me.
I’m self-aware enough to know when someone isn’t interested.
So what I would do is to follow up a maximum of 3 times, each 3 days apart.
Why is 3 the magic number? Because 3 strikes and you’re out.
No one misses your email 3 times in a row.
They either didn’t see them (i.e. went to Junk so no point sending more) or ignored them (so sending more will just piss them off).
I don’t know which is the best.
I’ve only used one, and that is Apollo.
They have a database of emails which you can access with their filters.
The bounce rate was ~10%, which is pretty high to me as I assumed they would have a strong email verification system.
You can also import your own list of emails.
Another cool functionis Apollo’s Chrome extension. It helps give you a person’s details when you land on their LinkedIn profile.
Using Apollo to run my campaigns is a great hands-off approach.
However, personalization is limited as it is automated.
I would highly suggest working with a copywriter to craft the email sequences.
With the premium account, you can access these additional filters in their database:
Note: I only used the free account.
This is the ultimate platform that is specifically designed for business professionals, making it the best platform for outreach.
Gone are the days where speaking to a CEO is so far out of reach.
You are also able to find prospects who are more likely to be interested because you have access to their:
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a premium version of LinkedIn that offers advanced features for sales professionals.
These features include:
Just like Apollo, LinkedIn Sales Navigator grants you access to their database with advanced features to speed up your list building process.
While Sales Navigator can be incredibly helpful for cold outreach, it's also important to note that the basic version of LinkedIn can be just as effective.
Note: I only used the free account.
I once received a cold DM from someone about investing in European property.
Curious, I asked him where in my LinkedIn profile indicated that I’d be interested in European property.
Long answer short, his response was basically “Put on a blindfold and shoot enough arrows. Eventually one of them will hit the bullseye.”
Interesting, isn’t it?
People hate being sold to especially when we are bombarded by outreach DMs on LinkedIn everyday.
Always tell them why you think your offer will help them.
Then let them decide whether or not they’d like to learn more.
I know… You’ve heard this a thousand times, right? I did too.
But when I reverse engineered my interaction with AJ, it all made sense.
I met AJ on LinkedIn. He sent me a cold DM.
What? You made friends with someone trying to sell you something?
Yes, I did. Here’s what happened.
I responded to his DM, telling him that I didn’t have the budget for his offers.
Instead of brushing me off, this is what he said:
He gave me free advice in exchange for his pitch.
5 weeks later, he shared a post on LinkedIn promoting his new course.
At an introductory price, I bought it.
A month later, I attended his workshop to show him my support.
When he asked for feedback, I gave him a thoughtful one.
Even though I was the one who bought his course, I was also the one showing him my support.
All because he gave me advice during our first meeting and engaged with me thereafter.
This is what it means to build a relationship.
Everyone, from your friend’s 1-year-old son to your cousin’s golden retriever, has an Instagram account.
This is why Instagram is my outreach platform of choice.
As a visual platform, you get to showcase your brand in a visually appealing way.
Not to mention, the plethora of ways you can do so.
The best Instagram accounts have a profile like Netflix - you binge their content.
When doing outreach, anyone who is a smidge curious will view your profile.
The more they consume your content, the more they will trust you.
Your profile will make all the difference.
Your Instagram profile is your sales page.
It will determine if you are a person of authority in your field or just another “expert” on Instagram.
I create content based on a concept called “proof of competency”.
If the content doesn’t contribute as proof, I do not upload it.
I also use a specific set of brand colours so that it will contribute to better brand recognition.
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with someone who had 900+ followers.
He told me that he made the same amount of money every month as someone with 700K+ followers.
My mind was blown.
Also, did you know that the number of likes on a post is only ~1% of the number of followers?
That’s ~100 likes for an account with 10K followers.
And it’s only ~2% for reels.
It is a known fact that reach is capped by Instagram.
Not to mention, there are now ads AND suggested posts on the home feed.
Instead of trying to figure things out, I had accepted the fact that Instagram is still trying to figure things out themselves.
So, I go back to point number 1, which is to continuously work on my profile.
Having a big follower count and like count definitely helps.
But you can’t starve to death while you wait for your account to grow organically.
It's important to understand your audience and where they spend their time online.
This will help you increase your chances of success.
So, research which platform your prospects use the most and tailor your message accordingly.
But how do I research such things?
I once had a client who is a restaurant owner.
All I did was ask him, “You’re so busy. Do you use social media often?”
He told me that restaurant owners usually use Instagram and Facebook for their restaurant's account and only check their personal accounts from time-to-time.
Like all things in life, all you have to do is ask.
There are many reasons for outreach.
Here are a few examples:
Your goals will impact your choice of platform and outreach strategy.
Most importantly, your message has to be engaging, personalized, and relevant to get a response.
Some platforms may require more investment than others.
If you’re great at writing, consider LinkedIn as your main platform.
If you’re great at creating visuals, Instagram sounds like your best bet.
If you have a great B2B offer, email outreach might be the one for you.
Consider your skills, time and budget.
In essence, the level of automation is inversely related to the level of personalization.
The easiest to automate are your cold email campaigns.
Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram do not like robots.
Ultimately, it really depends.
Give them a try and find out which one is for you.
That’s all for now.
Have a great weekend, my friends.