5 Steps to Increase Conversion from Outbound Email Campaigns
Besides the obvious – only sending well-crafted sales emails to prospects that want to hear from you – there are a few tips that can significantly increase your outbound conversion rates. Outbound email campaigns get a bad rap, and many marketing and sales teams implement outbound in a very spammy way. Plus Inbound Agencies and those pedaling VERY expensive Inbound Software tools want you to believe that Outbound email will destroy the world because it takes money from their pockets.
If you cannot answer this question, you should skip implementing Outbound all together: “If I were in my customer’s shoes, would I be upset if a sales person emailed me about a product or service that truly could help me and my business do my job better, faster,….” or whatever value you provide. It’s all about empathy folks, and if you’re only thinking of your bottom line, then get out of marketing or sales completely and pursue a different career.
Maybe because I’m a marketer and am used to being sold to, I do from time to time take a sales call and actually make a purchase from an outbound campaign. I’ve done Outbound in both services and product businesses and saw drastically different results – causing me to stop outbound in one business and throttle it in the other.
But any business wanting to scale and certainly every sales team understands you have to have a holistic, well-rounded strategy to reach your customers. Depending on your product or service, we believe outbound should be a part of it. Interruption marketing can be a useful strategy when it comes to educating your potential prospects, especially if you already know that they would make great candidates for your product or service. After you find the right prospects and obtain as much data as needed to initiate the email campaign, here’s 5 quick steps that we know can dramatically increase your outbound email conversion rates.
- Authenticate DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
Have you ever seen the sent “via” in a Gmail message email address line?
The reason you’re seeing this is because the sender has not authenticated the 3rd party email service provider to send emails on your behalf. To update this, you need to access your DNS provider and edit a TXT record. Changes can take up to 48 hours to propagate but usually happen within a few minutes. You can check SPF and DKIM keys using this tool at mail-tester.com. Read more about email phishing, why DKIM is important and technical details if you feel so compelled.
2. Use a plain, Gmail-looking template
Depending on who you ask, they will say to use images and HTML instead of plain text emails. I think an outbound email campaign always looks more personalized and easier to read leveraging a template that looks “plain.” Think of your customers – or yourself – if you have someone providing an ask, do you want to wade through a bunch of images or get to the point? Some of the best Outbound emails I’ve received did a few key things – leveraged a Gmail looking template, talked very specifically about my problem, and offered 3rd party educational advice as well as a specific solution that their product or service offered.
3. Send based on a Trigger
Triggers are everything. Articles and studies even suggest that to fall in love, it must be the right timing. In-depth understanding of your customers’ problems will illuminate triggers – and timing is a huge one. Your customers will leave copious amounts of clues on the internet to alert you that now is the right time to reach out. Are they attending an upcoming conference? Is there an internal indicator of change that you become aware of by keeping up with the industry briefings or their press section on their website? You must first put yourself in your prospects shoes to see what you would do as well as understand the industry marketplace, at least at a high level (though granular understanding allows you to obtain a competitive edge).
For example, let’s say you’re the founder of a startup SaaS company, and you just secured a round of funding to expedite new feature development but lack the internal resources to get it built, what is your next step? Probably to try to hire developers in an already tapped out market. Places like Boulder, Colorado are experiencing severe talent shortages due to larger players moving into the market like Google and Amazon. You go to StackOverflow and your website to list new job descriptions and tap into your internal team with referral incentives to recruit their dev friends. Now let’s say you’re an outsourced software development company targeting this SaaS company described above to get them to hire you instead of internally, you must understand that problem of your target market – the SaaS company founder. This founder has runway and investors to answer to in order to finish this new feature dev. They are struggling to hire the developers internally. They are probably leery of working with 3rd party developers because they have a company culture and budget to adhere to. You’re not selling them dev services, you’re selling them trust, peace of mind, expertise, the ability to hit their goals, etc. To identify this SaaS company at the right time, look at those digital clues that they are leaving – maybe their funding round was published on Crunchbase or in the local paper, tap into the StackOverflow API to see a list of the jobs being posted each day, check out the company blog to see what’s on the horizon, and so on.
If now isn’t the right time, simply do not send that email! You’ll just increase your likelihood of getting a spam report instead.
4. Include social links to verify identify
In tracking what prospects were clicking on in an outbound campaign, surprisingly the 2nd most popular item clicked was my personal twitter handle. In this outbound campaign I was selling software dev services; however, my twitter handle is @MissBikesAlot and my personal website is rachel.bike. I introduced myself personally with my personal brand tied to the software company brand. My twitter handle and personal website were clicked more than any other items in the email besides the company link. It also opened the door for personal communication and humanized our company brand. I even got to go on a bike ride with the founder of Kickstarter because I had this twitter handle in my signature – and all I did was sign up for a conference not expecting any extra curricular activity time.
Any chance you can humanize yourself behind your company product or service, this will open numerous doors. Social is a great way to do this – this is why I say that a personal brand is perhaps the most important thing you can build to ensure a successful career no matter what your industry or goals.
5. Leverage Smart Automation Tactics
There are no shortage of tools to help automate your sales and marketing activities. Some of our favorites are leveraging Google Groups for larger sales teams to eliminate the sales qual role (contact us to find out how), mTurk and Clearbit for data enrichment, Mailchimp for basic and budget-constrained email automation, Google Drive and Chrome plugins for days, Zapier to tie apps and processes together that otherwise don’t integrate, and so much more. Subscribe to Product Hunt or our blog for tool tips and tricks to take you from start to sales. In fact, I taught a LeadGen seminar highlighting some of my favorite tools – you can see the slideshare below.
In the end, outbound campaigns are a numbers game and you can expect somewhat low conversion rates compared to Inbound strategies. Even if you don’t make the sale, it still increases awareness of your product or service and if your email is crafted in a compelling and data enriched way you could see prospects converting to MQLs at a significant rate. Remember to track your success of Outbound Email Campaigns, too, otherwise there’s no point in even trying the campaign or making improvements to it.
Also published on Medium.