It’s a marketing tool that has been discussed everywhere on digital marketing forums, blogs, and social media.
You’ve probably heard of it, even received a few (maybe a lot) in your inbox.
If you do it correctly, you can wield absolutely fantastic results.
That’s right, we’re talking about the magical cold outreach.
Cold outreach is a massive part of our operations here at Growth Labz and we’ve seen the potential it has firsthand.
A while back, Will went on the Cold Outreach podcast to discuss what he believes works today in the world of cold outreach and share his experiences starting Growth Labz and how the agency operates to provide cold outreach service for clients.
Let’s dive in and see what they covered, there’s a lot of good stuff.
The Benefits and Downsides Of Having an Agency
Having an agency can be a very rewarding experience.
The benefits are there. Companies are generally more comfortable using agencies and you only need a few good clients before you can jump from your 9-5, to name a couple.
There is, however, a lot more to an agency than the gurus talk about online. It’s not as simple as copying a template that will guarantee you 10k a month, it just doesn’t work like that.
If you’re running an agency today, you need a lot of domain knowledge and be good at what you do. It’s a very competitive industry and you need to be on top of your game to stand out.
Will is the first to admit that he’s made a lot of mistakes when starting Growth Labz.
It’s a hard slog and you’re most likely going to be eating dirt for a couple of years until you build up your reputation, get a great client list, and can charge more for your services.
After years of hard work, Will has kept Growth Labz boutique and is only servicing a certain number of clients. It can be very difficult to grow and scale a digital agency, and Will isn’t interested in scaling at this time.
As a result, Growth Labz is currently sitting at the high six-figure mark, and Will is happy to stay there for now as it’s great for life balance and low stress compared to an agency doing seven or eight figures.
If you’re considering starting an agency, have a think about it, do some research and decide if it’s the right fit for you and your objectives.
Team Structuring for Cold Outreach
Will says there are 3 key elements for having the perfect team for effective cold outreach.
One of the most important ones is either having the right people or having the right data to reach out to the right people.
Achieving this is the most time-consuming part of the process but also where the most value comes from.
Will has a core team based in the Philippines whose job is to find the right people for himself and his clients, do a lot of deep research, and collect information the right way so they can process it. They also do the technical stuff and do emails as well.
He also has a few local workers in Australia who help him manage everything locally and do design work.
Growth Labz also uses a couple of freelancers and contractors who put in good work and add value to the business.
In saying this, Will has made a lot of mistakes with hiring. He learned a lot by failing.
He initially had a hard time hiring people overseas. He didn’t have the right management processes, tools, and experience to make sure the team worked.
Not knowing when to hire and the fire was a big hindrance as well.
So how do you get around problems such as this?
The moral of the story, always have a set list of tasks for your employees. It’s important to have really defined processes and objectives for employees to get things done.
Will has said he has found it to be a bit more difficult to manage a team locally. The amount of money that he pays local workers is a lot and a lot of times they aren’t the right people and it can hurt a lot financially looking for the right person for the job after firing someone.
Therefore, what Will has done to make it work has been to take one area and split it into three or four different roles and hire for those roles in the Philippines.
In the Philippines, he is employing project managers, quality assurance workers, operations managers, content writers, and editors. He makes sure the people he hires are specialized and are working in the role that is right for them.
Is It Smart To Outsource List Building to A Third Party Tool?
We’ll be honest, there are a lot of inexperienced agency owners who are using programs for data building and lists, trying to shortcut the process.
If you’re paying, let’s say, 50 dollars a month for a program that can build a list for you, you’re getting generic information that everyone else paying for the service is also getting.
You’re probably getting people on the list who are being bombarded with messages from agencies like yours.
Essentially, you don’t know everything you need to know about the data because you don’t have control of the process involved in creating it.
As a result, Will has never found success using lists from other people.
There’s no shortcut to hiring a good team and building a high-quality list by doing it yourself. If you have put the work in to create the data, you’ll be able to make much better decisions in your marketing process going forward.
We can’t recommend it enough.
Why Personalization still isn’t mainstream today
Personalization is without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of any Cold Outreach campaign.
It’s getting harder and harder to cut through the noise now with just a template with a few minor adjustments like the company name and a sentence about their website or process.
So high-quality personalization is becoming even more essential.
We aim to get as much information as possible about every single person or client that gets put onto a list, at Growth Labz.
We get data points for every lead or contact and make sure to comment on something about them through the high-quality data we have obtained.
We reference something like ‘Hey, I just saw that you did x amount last month, congrats if I have my figures right, based on your team size and sales you’re in this situation, so we can help you do this.
Use an element of surprise. Reference something that they have never seen in a cold email.
Will doesn’t think high-quality personalization will ever be mainstream as a lot of people and businesses are lazy and will just want to play the numbers game and send as many generic emails out as possible until they get results.
The reality is, doing personalization the right way is a very difficult process and takes a lot of effort and research.
Tips for Staying Sharp in Cold Outreach
About 6-7 months ago, Growth Labz saw a huge drop in open and reply rates using Google.
For an agency that specializes in cold outreach, that’s a big cause for concern.
The reason this happened was due to Google has put out some new updates and rules which were becoming a lot stricter on cold outreach emails.
After doing some research and finding that Outlook seemed to be a better option, our team made the switch and within a week we were testing outlook and seeing results again.
At the time, many larger agencies were also experiencing this and posting on forums and social media about their results dropping from using Google when it seems all they needed was a slight pivot to get back on the right track.
It’s not enough to be a master of your craft, you need to be willing to adapt.
Let’s use another example.
On Fridays, Will won’t open any emails or write any copy.
Instead, he uses this time to explore, reflect and learn. It’s helped him massively to stay updated and make the right decisions that adapt to the current environment.
I can imagine however, many of you reading this are very busy and may not have time to cut out a whole day to dedicate to this.
I would suggest some time on a Saturday morning to reflect about the past 6 months, think about things like your open rates, have they gone up or have they gone down and why might that be?
It also makes a difference to have a few trusted sources of knowledge and information that you can access and hear the perspectives of other people that you can integrate into your own process.
Find your sources and check in regularly.
What Works With Follow-Up Emails
Follow-up emails are something that Growth Labz is testing constantly.
Typically on a campaign, we will use around 5-8 follow-ups. This will work out to around 6-9 emails in total for the campaign.
The reason behind using this amount of emails is that in the past a few clients have landed some fantastic deals on the 7th or 8th email.
One major focus to have with follow-up emails is ROI (Return on Investment).
From a return on investment viewpoint, Will believes it is still better to have more emails, as it is the metric that he measures everything he does. Due to still getting responses on later emails we believe this method is still working well.
There are some major strategic changes that we are testing currently. In saying that, it is early days and the data isn’t big enough to confidently say yes or no.
However, so far it is looking positive.
There’s been some great open rates and feedback.
One example is instead of pushing the lead into a phone call, the cold outreach is pushing them towards a quiz.
This way, you are incentivizing the lead to identify the problems they are facing with their business and providing quite a lot of data that can be used which isn’t just surface level.
Therefore when the lead eventually jumps on the phone, the conversation can be tailored to them and be a lot more meaningful by bringing the right solutions in.
Will’s Secret Marketing Moves
As a professional copywriter, Will is all about telling a good story.
One way to make your emails appealing to the recipient is to increase the amount of story-based emails.
Use emotions, tell a story, incorporate the traits of effective cold emails with personality and combine that with the tropes of effective narrative writing.
Another thing to consider is the different levels of marketing.
The first one is commonly referred to as Platform Optimisation.
For example, platform optimization would involve processes like considering the results if you used one creative instead of another on your Facebook Ad Campaign.
That’s the very lowest level.
Doing some copy tests, doing some ad tests. It’s the level a lot of digital marketing agencies will operate at.
The level above that is Channels.
This involves deciding what channel to use and what works best for you. Is it Facebook Ads, Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads?
Figuring out what channel you’re going to focus on and putting time and money into.
The last level is called Integrated Marketing.
The overall goal, what do you want to achieve with your marketing.
Asking the client what are your big business goals, who are you going after, and what do you want to achieve?
It’s a great way to find out really important information about the client.
Based on that info from a client the team here can actually tackle the campaign from angles that they haven’t seen before and write copy that would resonate with the audience a lot better than just testing different graphics.
Let’s have a quick look at a case study.
Growth Labz had a client who was doing about 12million a year with a few product lines.
Using this method, we changed the opt-in and landing page, did the copy and made different graphics and applied it to the emails, wrote the stories, and split tested like crazy at the right levels.
We took one of their product lines and tripled the sales in 30 days.
Not bad right?
Try out using the different marketing levels on your campaigns.
How To Deal With A Client’s Content
Be careful with repurposing content in cold emails.
One of the first things Will asks a client he brings on board is if your info is working, why are you talking to us?
There are two scenarios.
They’ve got really good content that’s working for them, and they’ve got content that isn’t.
At times the client will look at their content that’s working really well and want to amplify it on a different platform.
This sounds good in theory, but in reality, it’s hard to make it work this way because you’re trying to mix a few different levels of marketing.
A better course of action is to start at the beginning and have a look at the overall strategy. Let’s say the strategy is to get leads, you’d then analyze level by level and see what is working.
You could be using Facebook very well, however, it’s also good to have a look and see if it will work on another platform.
Remember, just because something works on one platform does not mean it will translate to another.
Will has created case studies, video scripts for clients that he can use for cold emails, and helped clients create physical letters.
At the end of the day, the type of work that will work the best really depends on the client.
Like all marketing campaigns, using cold outreach backed by research and specifically tailored to the intentions and clients will always do better.
In fact, Cold email is still 80% of our operations at Growth Labz!
According to Will, it’s still by far the most effective platform.