B2B Cold email campaigns with 80%+ open rates.
Sounds too good to be true?
Nowadays getting your message heard is harder than ever. An average office worker receives more than 121 emails in a single day.
Small B2B businesses starting out want to get their message across to as many potential customers as fast as possible.
So the question that pop-ups: what’s the best way to get your message in front of prospects?
I’d try to present arguments for why: email marketing is the way to go – with a twist.
Despite its age, email is still regarded as one of the marketing channels with the highest ROI out there. In one study email turned out to be 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.
However, this doesn’t mean that everyone is having success with it. On the contrary, It is hard to get a notable effect on your bottom-line.
Email can mean a lot of things. The one area that we’ll be focusing on is cold emailing. It describes an act of reaching out to people that never heard from us via email before.
Cold emailing as a marketing approach is definitely a hotly debated topic. It’s often frowned upon by marketers since it falls into the interruption marketing category where people are interrupted with the marketing message. This can be seen as intrusive, especially if the message is ill-wanted and irrelevant for the recipient.
And when done wrong this is all true.
Despite all that, if the right message is sent to the right group of people it can be a turning point for a small business. Here is a great post by Harvard Business Review about how to write a cold email that will get you what you want.
Not all emails are sent equally
This post is not about how to write a cold email nor about why you should do it.
It’s about presenting the best method to send a cold email that will get you the highest open rates possible.
It highlights the differences between the two methods that emails can be sent en masse. First whose open rate matches the abysmal industry rate and the second where 80% open rate is not unheard of.
For instance, some of the prospects didn’t open our most recent product launch newsletter. I’ve decided to give a second go using the second method. Open rate jumped from 0% to 47.6% – not bad.
Let’s say you have launched a new product and would like to reach out to every procurement manager in industry.
I assume you already have a prospect database of the decision-makers containing email addresses that you’d like to contact. If not, check out this article to learn how to get decision-makers email address for any industry.
You made a killer copy and drilled down the segment to personalize the message for each procurement manager.
It’s time to send!
The usual choice is to go for an email marketing software (EMS) solution such as Mailchimp, Drip, Active Campaign or others. They work great out of the box and enable you to reach masses very quickly and relatively cheaply. Theoretically, you could be sending to hundreds or even thousands recipients in one go in a matter of minutes.
However, this might not be the best tactic even if you have been sending emails from your domain for a long period of time. There are a few reasons why this is bad and can potentially ruin your domain reputation. It’s like with someone’s reputation, it’s hard to get and easy to lose.
Why using EMS to send cold emails is bad
Firstly, your domain reputation is an ever-changing figure which goes up or down based on your email activity. Sending cold email puts additional strain on your domain reputation – i.e your “normal” emails might end up in spam if the reputation gets bad.
Secondly, cold leads are far more likely to report your message as spam and since they don’t know your business well, there is a rather high chance recipients will not be interested in what you’re saying. This is something you need to keep in mind when writing a copy. Copy needs to be compelling for the segment you’re trying to reach.
Thirdly, EMSs use their own servers to send emails. However, the two most popular business email address providers are Outlook or G-Suite (Gmail). Because of this, emails sent by EMS are treated with a bit of suspicion by a most likely recipient server (Google or Outlook). This can include stricter spam, content filters and worse placement – which mailbox an email ends up in.
Inboxing rate is the percentage of the total email sent that ends in the inbox as opposed to the spam folder.
As it can be seen in your mailbox, most of the emails from other businesses end up in either Updates or Promotions and sometimes even in the Spam folder of your Gmail account. This is not the placement you want for your emails.
Lastly, when sending emails from EMS that very same server is shared among plenty of other senders which might not all play the rules – these are accounts with so-called shared IP. None of the EMSs that I know of offer a dedicated IP out of the box, it comes as a $50 p/m premium.
However, there are emails that still somehow end up in your Primary mailbox from senders unbeknownst to you.
This is where the second method comes into play.
Sending cold emails through G-suite or Outlook account
Google is the biggest email service provider out there, with more than 50% share in the US. Followed by Yahoo and Outlook – often referred to as BIG 3 (Source). You probably have Gmail and most of the people you know, have it too. Its benefits are obvious, it’s free, reliable and easy to use.
Along with its free tier, it also has a paid version called G-suite, which offers email hosting for your custom domain. It brings a higher allowed volume of emails exchanged which is paramount for our purpose.
Having your email mailbox hosted on Google brings one major benefit (along with numerous others).
When we are sending emails from your Gmail or G-suite account, there is a rather high likelihood that these emails will not leave Google ecosystem. The network effect in its full glory.
Since Google “knows” both parties very well and the origin of an email is easily verified. Meaning, if you respect Google’s TOS – i.e. you’re not a spammer – there is a high chance that your email will end up in Primary mailbox along with an Important tag stuck to it – the famous “important according to our magic sauce” tagline.
However, there is one major drawback with using G-suite instead of traditional EMS for sending mass email.
How to scale up sending emails through Gmail and Outlook
It’s difficult to imagine sending hundreds of emails from your Gmail manually.
With the appearance of new solutions like Woodpecker and Lemlist, it is now possible to automate the sending of a mass personalized email from your G-Suite account (Outlook or any other providers for that matter).
With your permission, these services connect with your email account through API to send emails on your behalf. Another key benefit is that they try to mimic the work of a human. Sending of emails is spread throughout the time interval you determine. For instance, you can set to send 100 emails between 8 am and 4 pm. Resulting in one email being sent every 4min 45 seconds. This will make Google (and others) believe that the email was sent by a human and not a program.
They basically automate the sending of an email from Gmail like it can be seen below in the Sent folder.
The UX is almost indistinguishable from any EMS. Additionally, they’re also cost-effective. You can start with Woodpecker for $40 p/m while Lemlist from $29 p/m.
BONUS TIP: It’s highly advisable to use an additional domain to send your cold outreach campaigns – akin to transactional emails.
This post is not meant to portray EMS as a terrible way of sending emails. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great for sending newsletters to a large number of opted-in contacts.
Nonetheless, it aimed to show why it’s using EMS for sending cold emails is not the best choice. To sum up, it is important that you have both methods in the marketing toolkit.
Hopefully, this was enough to convenience you to use a cold outreach tool and EMS together, both for their own purpose.
Let me know if you’d be interested in a guide on how to leverage Woodpecker to send cold outreach campaign that will end up in Primary tab.