As the owner of a B2B company, you’ll know how important lead generation is. Generating and developing leads is the way to keep your firm growing and to mitigate the loss of any current clients. For most B2B marketers, lead generation is their top priority.
Source: Content Marketing Institute
You have lots of options when you’re trying to generate fresh new leads. Social media marketing, blogging, and PPC advertising can all help to reach new prospects. A good old-fashioned email outreach campaign, though, remains hard to beat.
Email outreach is tricky to get right. The best email lead generation comes down to good targeting, a great template, well timed outreach, great follow-up, and lots of testing. We’re going to walk you through each of those areas – and more besides – so you can hit the ground running and start generating those vital new leads today.
Before we get there, though, it’s worth falling back on some fundamentals. As many as 86% of professionals view email as the best form of business communication. Many businesspeople still see social media and other platforms as somehow unprofessional or unsuitable for work. Not all emails or campaigns are the same, though, and it’s their target audience which define how they differ.
Understanding the Difference Between B2B & B2C Emails
One of the keys to success for any email communication is tailoring the content to your audience. B2C and B2B audiences differ in a few crucial ways. You need to keep these differences in mind when crafting any B2B email outreach campaign.
B2C companies often use incentives like flash sales and special offers when pitching to a potential customer. While this happens in the B2B space, it’s less common.
In the B2B niche, your leads are normally CEOs or high-level decision-makers at their businesses. While their decisions can be driven by emotion, it’s a good idea to base the crux of your argument on logic and cold, hard facts.
When sending B2B emails, lean on your value proposition. Explain how your product or service will deliver an outstanding ROI to the recipient of a message. Make it seem wholly illogical for a potential customer not to try and learn more about your offering.
More Cautious, Less Impulsive
B2B products or service subscriptions often require a much higher level of investment than B2C alternatives, which is why you need a different business development strategy. What’s more, B2B purchases are a professional and not a personal decision. Whoever ultimately chooses to buy will be using company resources, rather than their own.
As such, B2B audiences are typically much more circumspect. You’re not going to get a B2B sale by sending one email. What you need to do is to send multiple professional emails over a more extended period, with the ultimate aim of securing a business meeting. Connect with them over time, secure a meeting, and make a pitch. That’s what will convince a cautious B2B prospect to get back to you and eventually become a client.
Keep those traits of B2B audiences in mind, and you’ll find it much easier to make a success of your email outreach campaign. Speaking of which, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of how to run such a campaign to generate fresh leads.
How to Generate New Leads With a B2B Email Outreach Campaign
A B2B email outreach campaign isn’t as complicated as it sounds. It is vital to the success of your business, though, so it is worth putting under the microscope. There are five crucial components that you have to get right when running an email outreach campaign to get fresh, new leads:
- How you target prospective leads
- What you include in your emails
- When you send emails
- How and when you follow up
- Your testing of email elements
Let’s look at each of those key components in turn.
In B2B outreach – as in B2C marketing – it’s critical to understand your target audience. You need to know who to contact in a company, regarding your product or service. You must understand the target audience inside out and upside down. The following are just a few things that you must know without question:
- What type of business does your product or service serve? You must know the niches and industries your product is suited to. You should also identify what size company will get the most benefit from your service.
- Where are your target customers located? Get to grips with whether your product or service is suited only to your home country, or if it can be global.
- What are the pain points of your prospective customers? Make sure you fully comprehend the problems your target customers need to solve. Then, think of all the different ways your product or service will help to do so.
- Who will be your contact at any target business? Think about who at any company is most likely to buy your product or service. Decide if you need to talk to CEOs, or if it will be better to contact decision-makers further down the chain.
When you know all of those things about your target audience, you will know who to target and send emails to. You can avoid messaging firms or prospects who would never be interested in your product. You can also tailor the emails you send.
Segmentation is another essential aspect of targeting your email outreach campaign. While the core part of your email might be the same, you shouldn’t send identical emails to everybody you contact. Instead, think about the characteristics of each prospect and tailor how you target them accordingly.
The best place to start with email targeting is by looking at your existing customers. Gather together all the info you have about them and see what characteristics they tend to share. That information should give you a leg-up in answering the questions listed above.
For more information on tailoring your marketing, I recommend checking out Intercom’s guide to customer segmentation.
Exceptional Email Content
When you know who you’re targeting, you need to start thinking about the content of the messages you’re going to send. There’s no hard and fast rule to what must get included in an email. Much of what you’ll want to feature will depend on your product and your target audience. What there are, are some handy rules of thumb to follow.
First, make sure your emails are about the recipient, and not about you. Your prospective clients should always be your focus. Make sure your messages explain to them how and why your product or service will help them. As we said earlier, for B2B audiences, you’ll want to support those claims with proof and data.
Personalization is also crucial to ensuring that your leads are the focus of any message. Overly generic emails are more likely to get ignored. Personalized emails capture attention and lead to higher conversion rates. As much as you can, you’ll want to personalize things like subject lines, email introductions, and CTAs.
When you start crafting message content, it’s a good idea to read back your copy as if you’d received the email. Ask yourself if the message is offering you something or asking something of you. You want your copy to present opportunities to its recipients. Keep this idea in mind and you’ll be an email content whizz in no time.
As much as what you send in your emails, when you send them is also crucial. It’s a widely accepted fact that you achieve better open rates for emails sent at some times of day than at others. Most studies and surveys conclude that somewhere between 11 am and 2 pm is the peak time for email opening.
It goes without saying, too, that B2B emails should never get sent out at the weekend. Unsolicited emails in the backlog of messages that’s built up over the weekend almost always get deleted on Monday morning. You need to account for all of this when scheduling your email outreach campaigns.
As a jumping off point, first try sending messages on Monday mid-morning in the time zone of the recipients. Between 9am and 11am, most professionals will have cleared out that inbox backlog from the weekend. They’ll then be more receptive to receiving – and actually reading – your message. You’ll want to track open rates and test other times, of course, but it’s a good place to start.
Even the very best initial cold email won’t get many responses. Email outreach isn’t about getting new leads by just sending one message. It’s critical to build a full campaign, one which includes follow-up messages to keep nudging prospects along toward becoming customers.
We’ve already talked about how cautious and calculating B2B customers can be. They’re not going to jump in and buy your product straight away. You need to keep chipping away at their objections with multiple messages.
Source: Iko System
You can check along the way that recipients are reading your messages via email tracking. If they are, you know that you’re starting to get through to them.
Once you are, you need to once again put yourself in the shoes of your prospects. Make sure you keep your follow-ups focused on their problems and how you can solve them. Don’t repeat yourself in follow-up emails, keep each one focused on presenting a new issue your service can solve, or on overcoming a new objection your leads may have. Persuade those leads over time that they’d be mad not to sign up for your service or buy your product.
Run your email outreach campaign according to the above advice, and you might taste immediate success. Might is the operative word, though. Often, you may still see low open rates and minimal responses to your messages. That’s because it’s tough to get any campaign right the first time.
You need to embrace a little trial and error whenever you perform email outreach. Put together what you think is a great campaign and see how things go. If results aren’t as you’d like, try changing one or two things and see if that makes a difference.
Tinkering and trying things in that way is called ‘AB Testing.’ It’s how marketers create the perfect PPC ads, landing pages, emails, and plenty more besides. The testing process for all of your email campaigns should go on indefinitely. You should always be trying out new things, like:
- Narrower or broader targeting and segmentation
- Different subject lines
- New email elements, such as video, PDF attachments, and more
Perhaps the easiest place to start is with subject lines. Take one of your existing outreach campaign emails and collate all the data you can on it. You’ll want to know things like open rates, response rates, etc.
Then, devise a new subject line for the message, but keep everything else the same. Send out the message with its new subject line to a sample group of recipients. Log the same metrics as you did for the original message, and compare the results.
That will tell you which subject line generated the better returns. You can then keep trying new variations to find the best possible. The same principle of testing works for the other major elements of your messages, too. It’s the simple, but effective, basis of AB testing.
Building Your Client Base With Outstanding Email Outreach
If you’re looking to generate fresh leads, you can do no better than to try an email outreach campaign. Getting such a campaign right, though, takes effort and expertise. The advice above should help you on your way.
Your first step to a successful campaign is to understand your audience. Know who your audience is and what they need. That way, you can make sure that you show them as clearly as possible how your product can deliver. Then craft the best emails you can and test them out exhaustively until they well-honed. That’s when you’ll see those fresh new leads start to pile up.
Written by Owen Baker.
About the Author: Owen Baker is a content marketer for Voila Norbert, an online email verification tool. He’s spent over a decade in online marketing. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of content marketing across a range of websites.