According to The Radicati Group, email usage worldwide is set to top 3 billion users by 2020. With explosive growth and massive worldwide adoption, it’s no wonder email still reigns supreme among the top places to acquire customers, readers, and users. Yet, certain stigmas still remain.
When people think cold email, they think — sales.
And that’s absolutely true: cold emails are salespeople’s bread and butter. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can use cold email for all sorts of outreach, including public relations, influencer marketing, content promotion, and even link building. You just need to know how to use it appropriately.
Here are five acquisition channels and examples of how you can leverage cold email to widen your reach:
1. Influencer Marketing
Writing a cold email to an influencer requires a certain level of finesse. Influencers field an enormous amount of pitches and requests for engagement, so you’ve got to find a way to stand apart from all the noise. It’s wise to personalize when possible, and leverage mutual connections – and it never hurts to compliment or use flattery. However, getting an initial response is only half the battle. Once you have their attention, you’ve got to strike a balance between establishing a relationship and assessing their actual reach.
A phenomenal example of reaching out to influencers is with a sneak peak approach. Brian Dean successfully uses this tactic as shown below:
As you can see, this email is not only friendly and short, but also has a mysterious quality that makes the recipient want to know more. With curiosity piqued, he ends it beautifully with a simple low-friction ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question.
2. Content Promotion
Email is a powerful way to start a business relationship and promote new content. An emerging trend in content marketing is to write articles with specific cross-promotional strategies in mind. Marketers and bloggers leverage tools like Buzzsumo to not only find what headlines and keywords work, but also to find content promotion opportunities. With Buzzsumo, you can see what influencers, bloggers, or companies have written in the past about your chosen topic or niche, and reach out via cold email with collaboration possibilities.
Content promotion with cold email can be as simple as asking for someone to share your content, inviting them to write quotes for your social media or blog posts, or even inquiring about guest post opportunities like the one below:
Remember, content promotion is a numbers game. Begin by creating a list of people to reach out to, and keep them organized in a tool like FullContact so you can reach out again and again as more opportunities arise.
3. Link Building
Link building is all about getting links from reputable and relevant websites back to your website. That quality inbound traffic can be a rich source of leads and simultaneously improve your search engine rankings.
The secret to generating worthwhile backlinks is to only pitch backlinks or guest posts that add value to the end consumer or reader. Start by reaching out to bloggers and companies that have industry-adjacent products that might benefit from linking to content you’ve written. Or reach out and ask if they’re working on content for a specific niche or customer persona that you can help with. Here’s a shining example:
A cold email like this is a real winner. It’s warm, relevant, direct, and easy to respond to, making it simple to replicate and send over and over again. The best lines are the last two, which take all the guesswork out of the equation. They offer a clear statement of what the sender is asking for, and how to implement it. All the recipient has to do is say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
4. Public Relations
Pitching to reporters and media professionals is no easy feat, but with cold email and a little persistence, you can break through. Just keep one simple question in mind at all times:
What’s in it for the journalist?
It’s critical to understand what’s newsworthy so you can capture attention and get your message out simultaneously. If you can do that and provide enough value, then it’s a no-brainer for someone working in the media to share your content or write about your company.
To begin, it’s best to make a list of journalists and media professionals writing about your industry. Find out what else they write about, and possible ideas for how you can align with them. Once you have a list of contacts, you can use tools like Voila Norbert to find their email addresses, and Mailshake to run your email campaign and automate follow-ups. Here’s a solid example of press outreach in action:
Notice they dive right into building the relationship up front. They hit hard with interesting facts, and end strong with a little flattery and a short pitch on why the recipient should want to know more. These personal touches go a long way towards earning a response and the desired coverage.
5. Direct Sales
Did you know that 8 out of 10 prospects want to talk to sales reps via email over any other medium? It’s true – which is why cold email is far from dead. If anything, it’s evolving away from spam and pushy sales tactics, towards personalized, value-rich, and thoughtful messaging. Here’s an example of such an email in play:
While the personalization is a little light, it comes off as relevant and value-rich from the beginning. There’s an element of curiosity and mystery in being offered exclusive access to the product, and the salesperson ends strong with a clear call-to-action and specific times they can meet. The likelihood of getting a response with this email is high, and sets the stage for a natural follow-up, since there’s an element of time sensitivity.
As you can see, cold email can be leveraged for far more than sales correspondence. From link building to PR, influencer marketing, and content marketing, the message is clear
– cold email works across all acquisition channels. Its effectiveness will undoubtedly vary by industry and channel, but if you follow best practices such as keeping emails short, personalizing, providing value, and ending on clear call-to-actions, your return rate will reach new heights, and with it, your business.
What other channels are you leveraging for outreach and acquisition? Tell us in the comments below.