How to Use Email Outreach to Unlock Growth


How to Use Email Outreach to Unlock Growth

March 25, 2016

If you’ve ever wondered, “How do I find new customers and scale my business without wasting a bunch of time?” then you’re not alone.

What if I told you that email outreach can help you reach potential customers and partners without burning through time?

It’s true: People use email ALL THE TIME to find new customers and connect with busy decision-makers.

But not all emails are alike, and not all emails always inspire a response (when’s the last time you deleted a sales email?)

That’s why it’s so important to perfect your email strategy and make things happen… without those messages ending up in the sadtrash folder. :'(

Email can be one of two things: It can be one-sided (when was the last time you deleted an email without responding?), OR it can be a gateway to an authentic, mutually beneficial conversation.

If you want your emails to land in that “led to a mutually beneficial conversation” category, read on — this guide will cover the do’s and don’ts, along with email insights coated with data gathered from millions of emails.

Find common ground (humanize your email)

An email that’s relatable opens up a communication channel that eventually leads to good, authentic conversation.

An email that doesn’t have any life, though, will be ignored.

It doesn’t matter if you send out the coolest piece of info in the world. If your email is boring, bland, and just plain unrelatable, it’ll end up in the trash.

So, that being said, what’s the #1 way you CAN humanize your email and actually get a response?

The answer is pretty simple, and yet not many people do it: Find out what you have in common!

That’s it. Simple. You’d do that anyway if you were talking in person, so why not find a common interest and bring it up in your email?

Don’t sweat the subject line. Really.

While at first it may seem like it’s worth putting significant thought into the subject line of an email, how important is it really?

I’ve gotta admit: The answer surprised me.

After analyzing data from 1.7 million emails sent out by our users, there was one pretty unexpected takeaway:

Most email subject lines don’t actually impact the response rate.

Plus, some of the emails that performed poorly (with low response rates) had the same exact subject lines as high-performing emails.

So, if an email is a bad match in terms of audience target and interest (or if the email itself just sucks), the subject line won’t make a bit of difference.

Pro tip: Don’t worry too much about what to say in the subject line of an email. Focus more on finding the right contact at a company and providing real value.

Keep the body of your email short (then go back and make it even shorter)

Remember that an email is a substitute for a face-to-face interaction.

That being said, would you ever walk up to a stranger and talk to them about your company for 15 minutes straight without even giving them a chance to speak?

Probably not.

That’s just too much blabbery.

The same thing applies to email. Keep it short, and as Lincoln Murphy mentions in his article, “Don’t Hit Send: 7 Sanity Checks for Sending Cold Email,” when emailing someone you don’t already know personally, you need to talk TO them, not AT them. It’s the civil thing to do, right?

The key is to get your point across, to be considerate of the other person’s time, and to intrigue them enough to respond to your call to action.

You can do all of this in just a few quick sentences.

Seriously. Any more is just too much. Say just enough to peak their curiosity. Trust me: That’s all you’ll need.

Even if you think there’s no possible way to shorten your email anymore than you already have, I guarantee you that it’s possible. Trim the fat off that email. 

If your email drags on, chances are you’re throwing them too many details.

I know what you’re thinking: “It won’t seem professional unless I provide them with all the details they need to make a decision.”

But don’t worry — here’s the thing: If you’re doing it right, you can get those details out of the way in the next few emails or during a meeting, after they’ve responded and expressed interest.

And actually, it will come across as pretty unprofessional if you provide a wall of text in your first email.

In fact, I don’t know anyone who likes long emails at ALL, regardless of the topic.

Again, it’d be unnatural to blab nonstop in person (without letting another person talk), so email is really no exception.

Resist the urge to pitch your company (have a conversation instead)

Have you ever been approached by someone at a conference, only to discover that the first thing out of their mouth was the dreaded robotic sales pitch?

What did you think? Were you inspired to try their product?

If you’re anything like me, then you probably felt that the lack of authenticity was enough to want to get out of that conversation immediately.

That’s because going straight into a business pitch takes away the human element. If you do this, people will think you’re a robot — or, if you’re lucky, maybe just a cyborg.

The same rule applies to email outreach. This is SO important to remember.

Here’s the solution: Start your email by mentioning something of value and relevant to the person you’re contacting.

A quick example: say you’re reaching out to someone about a potential partnership — you might start your email out with a sentence congratulating them about a recent company achievement you read about in the news. But please only do this if you’re being authentic :-).

If you’re wondering if your email sounds natural, read it out loud (preferably when you’re alone).

Make it about them, not you

Most of us don’t like to admit when we’re being self-serving.

But when sending an email to someone you’ve never met, you’ve got to put your ego aside and be brutally honest about what you’re REALLY doing for the person you’re emailing.

Are you reaching out with a partnership idea that would bring them in tons of business? Did you notice something on their website that could be easily improved using your company’s product? Let them know what’s in it for them.  

In person, we learn more and more about the people we meet by asking questions. Online, you’ve gotta do some preliminary research ahead of time because you don’t have the advantage of having more time to talk in person.

So, do your research and find out what motivates them, what you have in common, and what you can do for them.

Pro tip: A quick way to find out out whether or not your email is too self-focused is to look at the draft of your email and hit “CTRL + F” to search for the number of times your email contains the word “I.” After that, do the same thing to find how many times you said the word “You.” 
The email will sound less self-focused if you add more you’s (as opposed to I’s).

Add tons of value

Only send an outreach email to a potential customer or partner if you’re 110% confident that what you’re sending will truly help them out.

If you know that what you’re sending is personable and valuable, you’ll feel good about offering something of value — and you’ll be able to deal with rejection better as well.

You’ll have more wins, and even when someone isn’t responsive or hates your email, at least you’ll know that you gave it your all and that you sent them something you truly thought they’d enjoy. Much like life, you won’t win everything and you’ll experience rejection.

So, give it your all, and do that by adding value to each email.

Send them something you think they’d appreciate. It could be a video clip, an eBook, or something interesting you learned recently about something they dig. Hell, you can even get creative with it and send them something in the mail and then follow-up via email.

Be ridiculously relevant & choose your audience wisely

“What’s the point of this email?”

This shouldn’t be the 1st thing your recipient thinks when they open your email.

Don’t make them guess, and be sure to only email people who will genuinely care about what your business can offer them. Everyone has limited time in their day, so the last thing they want is an inbox full of irrelevant emails about products or services that wouldn’t really help them solve a problem.

So, if you own an app that helps recruiters, don’t pitch a sales director of a Fortune 500 company. Message someone in HR instead.

The trick is to let go of your own needs and make sure the email is relevant and benefits the recipient.

Include a low-commitment (but clear) call to action

Just like a landing page, awesome emails also include clear call to actions.

The trick is to make it easy for someone to reply with a “Yes” or “No.” Make it really, really simple. Example: Just reply with a “Yes” and I’ll send over more info.

But isn’t a call to action too blunt? Aren’t you putting them on the spot by being upfront?

Nope. Well, OK, it may be blunt — but it’s blunt and polite. That’s because including a short, clear call to action shows genuine respect for the other person’s time. They won’t be left scratching their heads wondering what to do next (and then possibly ignoring your email out of inconvenience).

Never underestimate the SMART follow up (it works)

Following up works. Out of the millions of emails sent out by our users, there was one interesting discovery: 55% of responses came from follow up emails. That’s a crazy amount!

If you’re not following up, you’re missing out on responses from people who are busy during the time of your initial message.

Why follow up? People are busy and can sometimes be “on the fence” or skeptical, but also because different messages resonate with different types of individuals.

Sometimes we might feel like following up is annoying, but the truth is that plenty of people find it helpful. Sure, you’ll also deal with rejection and people who are irritated by follow ups — but you can’t take it personally.

It’s kind of like website popups: There’s a ton of data out there showing that they work, but some people decide against them because they feel like they’re too intrusive. Regardless, they work. Same with follow up emails.

Sure, it might irritate a few people, but if you stop following up with everyone over one angry email, think about the number of conversations you’d be missing out on. Don’t forget that there are plenty of people who do respond positively to friendly reminders.

So, how do you write a killer follow up email?

Let’s take a look at what works. Check out these follow up email templates based off of sequences that were actually sent out by a user:

Open rate: 95%

Reply rate: 52.5%

First touch email converted to replies at 10.56 percent

Second touch email (1 business day later) converted at 22.62 percent

Third touch email (1 business day later) converted at 13.56 percent

Fourth touch email (1 business day later) converted at 20.1 percent


1st Touch
Subject: Welcome to the [INDUSTRY] community / a question

Hey {{company}},

I was hoping to chat to someone about a simple way to manage [THE PAIN YOU SOLVE]. Is that you?

My company, [YOUR COMPANY NAME], provides an intuitive, hassle free way to manage [THE PAIN YOU SOLVE] – designed to [BENEFIT]. Would you be interested in a quick call?


Book a time to talk (link)

2nd Touch
Subject: Re: Welcome to the [INDUSTRY] community / a question

Hey, Just wanted to make sure the email below didn’t fall through the cracks. Please point me in the right direction when you get a second.

3rd Touch
Subject: Re: Welcome to the [INDUSTRY] community / a question

Just checking in to see if you’d had a chance to consider my email below. Let me know if you can help when you get a second.

4th Touch
Subject: Re: Welcome to the [INDUSTRY] community / a question

Just wanted to reach out again. I know you’re probably extremely busy, but if you could let me know either way whether that could be interesting, I’d really appreciate it.

As you can see, the follow-up emails sent were brief and direct. This sender didn’t feel the need to write anymore than was absolutely necessary, and they got good results.

What it all boils down to

All in all, writing an awesome cold email is really about knowing your audience, empathizing, providing value, and then following up. Don’t worry about small things like the subject line — what’s more important is emailing the right person, letting them know why you’re reaching out, and then making it easy for them to reply.

More insights in the upcoming online course!

Want to learn how to build a profitable business with email? Get on the early access list and be the 1st to hear about the upcoming course. Save your spot now.


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