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What is email outreach?

What is email outreach? In B2B sales, email outreach is one of the outbound lead generation techniques where marketing and sales teams reach out to cold leads via email with a goal to start a conversation and eventually make a deal.

In content marketing, email outreach is aimed not at selling but at establishing partnerships with influencers, building backlinks, or promoting content.

Regardless of its purpose, an outreach email should be written with the target audience in mind to be effective. Because email outreach is part of a larger lead generation program, marketers and SDRs want to have good open and response rates and CTRs, as they spend lots of time and effort while crafting their messages.

  1. On the one hand, low success rates are a harsh reality for many cold email campaigns. With 1%-2% being the average response rate for cold email outreach across industries, any increase or improvement can be considered progress. 
  2. On the other hand, a constant process of experimenting, tweaking, adjusting, and A/B testing can boost your response rate up to 20% or even 40% if you know what to tweak, adjust, and improve.

If email outreach is one of your B2B online lead generation strategies, read our tips and how-tos and see if you can squeeze a bit more out of your outbound strategy.

How to use email outreach programs in B2B sales?

Roughly speaking, marketing and sales use email outreach to build brand authority in the industry and find new leads. Content marketing and lead generation are huge topics and email marketing is just a part of them. What exactly is the function of email outreach in these two strategic directions?

  • Establishing brand awareness through link-building. Search engine algorithms keep user interests a priority and respond to organic actions like clicks, reports, and backlink exchange. However, businesses cannot just create engaging content and sit still, expecting their audiences to be active and eager to promote their articles and posts. Content won’t promote itself in the B2B world. Intentional efforts for your content promotion and distribution are required. Link-building is a strategy employed by many B2B companies that recommend their prospects and partners to share their content with backlinks. To this effect, reaching out to people of your choice via email is an effective marketing move and an additive to your SEO strategy.   
  • Generating new business leads. Although cold calling has remained one of the most effective lead generation strategies, many SaaS startups and tech companies prefer cold emailing. Email automation and BI tools enable marketers and SDRs to avoid spam folders when sending bulk email campaigns and gaining target audiences with highly personalized marketing. Email outreach is the perfect fit for lead generation because it helps establish connections with experts, partners, bloggers, and others within your professional community. Before the selling process starts, email outreach prepares the soil and seeds. Ouch, we mean leads.   

Why do outreach emails often go ignored?

Many sales outreach emails fail to get traction because people who write them suck. Some may think, what’s so difficult about writing an email? It’s not rocket science, after all. We can all write, it is true, but crafting an email that sells or at least establishes a connection is not as easy as those who never did it may think.

  1. For one, it is even a challenge to get your email open. In times when executives manage over 100-300 emails per day, email fatigue is real. You need to catch the recipient’s interest with your sales outreach email subject line and not lose it with each sentence. By the way, most work emails are not read through.
  2. Moreover, when sending out cold email outbound campaigns, technology readiness is essential. Email and marketing automation makes using templates and sending out email blasts easier. Email deliverability tools help your emails find recipients, avoiding spam filters.
  3. Finally, there are many tips and hacks to make your messages engaging and relevant through personalization. Today’s request for personalization should not be limited to adding a recipient’s first name in an email subject line. Whereas social media provides a fertile ground for digging a lot of personal stuff on your recipients to start a meaningful conversation, not all CEOs and decision-makers have a digital footprint.

6 tips on how to do outreach that gets high response rates

Belkins Growth Podcast dedicated Season 2 to many aspects of outbound and inbound marketing strategies, from email deliverability tools to SDRs’ tips on how to do email outreach that recipients will open, engage with, and reply to. Here’s a list of our recommendations on almost every aspect of an effective cold email.

Be flexible and experiment. That’s the first rule of email outreach, according to Patricia Simms, Senior Sales Development Representative at Predictable Revenue Inc., who talked about testing different subject lines, CTAs, and opening lines and comparing open rates on Belkins Growth Podcast S2E3. Your audiences need to be targeted right and your copy and emails should be open.

Be short and up-to-the point. You can’t simply send out long sheets, especially if that’s your first email and the target audience doesn’t know you. Oliver Kaczor, Sales Development Representative at 1Huddle, says that his first message is 3 to 6 sentences (Belkins Growth Podcast S2E7).

Get a catchy subject line. A subject line that piques your recipient’s interest increases the odds of outreach emails being opened. Sources recommend SDRs to mention a mutual contact’s name, an idea, or a pain point relevant to the recipient. Any kind of dishonesty or misleading information is a big no-no. Don’t use a fake ‘Re:’ as if you’re replying to their previous email.

Personalize the introduction. Decision-makers that SDRs are trying to reach have already developed resistance to “salesy” messages. Personalizing your emails is necessary to get through this email fatigue. In addition to their name, title, and company’s name, find something else to mention in your email: Their achievements, recent social media activities, recent social events, a shared interest, etc.  

Address the recipient’s pain point or goals in the body of your email. If you haven’t identified their pain points or goals, there’s no point in writing to a recipient yet. You’ll just waste a good opportunity. First, do your homework and only then sit down to write an email. A good formula is to identify the problem, refer to how other companies resolve it and offer your solution.

End with a call-to-action. Although a general recommendation is to be specific in what you ask in the end, Sarah Hicks, Senior Sales Development Representative at Predictable Revenue Inc., recommends finishing with a soft question, “Instead of looking for a concrete answer from them and writing something to the effect ‘Do you have time next Friday at 2 pm,’ ask if this is a priority for them or if this is something that makes sense to continue a conversation about” (Belkins Growth Podcast S2E3).

A sequence of sales outreach email samples

If you want to see what a failed outreach email sample looks like, check out your Inbox or Spam folders and you’ll find a dime a dozen.

When sitting down to write a cold email, remember that time is precious. Don’t waste your leads’ time by giving your name in the first opening sentence and saying you hope “your letter will find them well.” They don’t know you and they don’t care about your name or how you find them. Email is an informal medium so be casual and start informally:

I saw your post on B2B lead generation being incredibly hard. We generate high-quality leads for any businesses. Would you like to learn more?

If there’s no response, by the next email you need to come up with another personalized detail, for example, a job change:

As a new [Job title], are you planning to improve the team’s lead generation strategy?

Our company has worked with similar SaaS startups like [Lead’s company] with terrific results.

Here’s a link to our recent case study. Let me know if it makes sense to continue a conversation about it.  

If your analytics reports that your emails keep getting opened, keep pushing. Kaczor says that at this point, he often sends a video message, “If I see someone viewing my email a lot, I’ll write their name on a whiteboard or I’ll put their LinkedIn on my phone and I’ll show them their own profile so they’re like wow this kid’s is not just sending me spam.

The best tools for sending outreach emails

Now when you have learnt how to do outreach email mechanics, let’s find out about the necessary sales automations. If you’re not prepared for massive email blasts technically, you will be disappointed with the results.

Instead of Outlook and GSuit, Mike Hillyer, Founder & CEO at EmailNinjas, recommends SDRs to use third-party tools like SparkPosts, SendGrid, PepiPost, and MailGun, for cold email outreach to prevent your messages from getting to spam and bouncing back.

To automate your email sequences, we recommend you to use PitchBox, NinjaOutreach, JustReachOut or BuzzStream. These are helpful outreach tools that assist with workflows, SEO campaigns, and link-building for small- to medium-sized businesses.

How to set up a sales outreach email campaign?

Make your outreach efforts effective by investing in the right tech stack and fully understanding the outreach email process. Whereas samples and templates can be found online, having seasoned pros as your backup team is valuable at all times. You will find more email outreach and B2B digital lead generation tips by Belkins on our website.

Feel free to reach out and ask any questions about sales strategy or request resources, such as email content. We are always happy to help.  

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