This is a guest post by David Schneider. David Schneider is 1/3rd of an exciting new marketing software called NinjaOutreach. He blogs about entrepreneurship at SelfMadeBusinessman and tweets @ninjaoutreach
Outreach can be tough.
Even some of the best email scripts tend to have response rates less than 25%.
And often that includes follow ups.
Not to mention that a reply does not constitute that it’s a positive reply.
However, after sending out hundreds of emails for various outreach campaigns, I’ve come to realize a very important fact.
The key to successful outreach is good prospecting.
Really – it’s true.
I know a lot of people obsess over the highest converting scripts, and what to put in the subject line.
Without a doubt some scripts are better than others, and for that reason why you’re doing large scale outreach it’s worth split testing a few different ones.
But the truth is if you’re not targeting the right people, it’s only going to matter so much. Cold outreach is an uphill battle, and it’s hard to motivate someone out of the blue.
With this in mind, when I was organizing a campaign to get more product reviews for NinjaOutreach, I wanted to approach it differently.
Instead of trying to come up with a list of several hundred influencers, with whom we had no prior relationship, and of which 90% would likely ignore us or decline, I tried to think 80/20.
How could I quickly build a list of prospects that would convert highly?
And I can say we successfully did that. Within 30 minutes we built a small list that eventually converted at 60% (that’s more than half the people agreeing to write a product review).
Do you want to know the secret sauce?
Here it is:
We targeted people who left positive comments on our past product reviews and guest posts.
Simple – right? Let me explain in more detail.
Here’s a recent guest post we did on Mad Lemmings about blogger outreach.
Naturally, a popular blog such as Ashley’s is going to yield its fair share of comments.
Comments like these:
It’s great to see those types of comments, but the truth is that while a lot of people respond positively about how they plan on signing up for a trial, most of them never do.
They’re busy and they forget, or, simply when it comes time to pay they’re aren’t as enthusiastic as before.
But it doesn’t change the fact that the person to some degree is interested in the product, which makes them an ideal candidate for outreach.
So as part of our campaign we did the following:
- First, we gathered all of our product reviews and guest posts in the last few weeks.
- Then, we specifically looked for people who left positive campaigns mentioning NinjaOutreach.
- Next, we organized those into a spreadsheet with the influencers name and website.
- Then, we visited all of those websites and confirmed that they were in our target market (business, blogging, entrepreneurship).
- Afterwards, we cross checked the final list of candidates against our signups (to make sure we weren’t cannibalizing any future sales).
- Finally, we put together a template and personalized it by using the person’s name and referencing the blog on which they commented.
Here’s what it looked like:
The total number of people that fit the bill in the end of 10.
Yes, that’s it.
Now I know 10 is small, very small in fact.
But is it altogether different from sending out 100 emails and getting a 6% response rate?
Actually, it’s better, because it requires way less effort and annoys way less people.
Now, I don’t want to brag about the fact that we didn’t overly personalize the emails or spend any time engaging with the influencer prior to reaching out. I think those are best practices and recommend them.
But this was a bit of an ad hoc campaign and it only went to 10 people, so we decided to just be quick about it and see what came out of it.
The result – 6 out of 10 people said yes!
Here’s a few other things that made this a successful campaign:
- Don’t wait too long before following up with the offer. A few weeks is long enough to see if the person actually signs up, while still making certain that your product is going to be fresh in their minds.
- Always respond to people’s’ comments on your post. Firstly, the admin appreciates. Secondly, this initial effort at engagement helps make the final outreach more warm.
- If a product review is what you’re after, be sure to offer them a free license. This is what they’re interested in after all. I also believe this strategy could be leveraged for guest posts or giveaways.
- If you have an affiliate program, offer it. We actually do and I forgot (and it still converted highly)!
- Be sure to follow up within one week of the first email. You can use a tool like Yesware or Sidekick to manage your email responses.
The last question you’re probably wondering, is how do you scale this?
6 product reviews is great, but how do I make it 50?
Well, here’s two things to consider:
- Leverage competitor reviews – If your competitor is being reviewed on someone’s blog, then responding to commenters of that post is also likely to convert well.
- Review Hop – This is a term I’ve just made up, but the idea is that we’ll now take these next 6 reviews, and do the same thing with their commenters. Over the next few months this could drastically increase that original 6.
The to do list here is simple. Go out and find your guest posts, product reviews, and giveaways and start analyzing the commenters for good prospects.
Unfortunately, it’s probably true that this will never scale up enormously. There are just only so many people who comment per post, and it takes time for all of this to happen.
But without a doubt this is a very effective tactic that is underutilized in the content marketing arena.
Additionally, we’ve created a swipe file with 5 things every blogger wants to see in a pitch, which you can download here.