<em>Today we have a guest post from a friend and fellow AZ startup, Justin McGill of <a href="https:\/\/www.leadfuze.com\/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">LeadFuze<\/a>. I originally met Justin via a local growth hacking meetup group and was hugely impressed with his grasp of lead generation and the platform he's built to enable it specifically via cold outbound emails. Justin has a wealth of startup experience and co-hosts a great podcast called <a href="http:\/\/zerotoscale.com\/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Zero to Scale<\/a> that documents his and his colleague's journeys towards $20k\/mo MRR and beyond in their respective startups. What follows is Justin's account of how he used cold email to grow his revenue to $30k within the first 12mos. Enjoy. -Sean<\/em>\r\n<h2><b>The Cold Email System That Grew Our Business to $30k Per Month within 12 Months<\/b><\/h2>\r\nGrowing a startup can be hard. There is nothing more important than lead generation and, ultimately, sales to validate that your business has legs.\r\n\r\nBecause I have always put a premium on lead generation, I had built out software that put this on autopilot. I leveraged this strategy to build a seven figure digital marketing agency before deciding to package the software I had built into a <a href="https:\/\/mixergy.com\/course-cheat-sheet-productize-your-service\/">productized service<\/a> around cold email.\r\n<h2><b>What is Cold Email?<\/b><\/h2>\r\nCold email is essentially like cold calling but done via email. This allows you to get around gatekeepers and right to the inbox of the person you want to contact. In addition, it's more scalable and hands off.\r\n\r\nWith cold email, you can spend your time talking to people that actually WANT to talk to you.\r\n\r\nAnd no, <a href="https:\/\/www.leadfuze.com\/what-is-cold-email-and-is-it-spam\/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">it isn't SPAM<\/a>.\r\n<h2><b>How to Find Leads<\/b><\/h2>\r\nWe had the unique opportunity to leverage our own software to not only service clients but to also build our own outbound campaign.\r\n\r\nHere is how we use our own product to find the email addresses of our target audience:\r\n\r\n<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-7836" src="https:\/\/pagely.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/03\/prospect-search.png" alt="prospect-search" width="640" height="870" \/>\r\n\r\nOnce we run the search, it will pull up results in Google with the right search string. From here, I can look at the prospects I want to add to a list:\r\n\r\n<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-7834" src="https:\/\/pagely.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/03\/prospect-add.png" alt="prospect-add" width="913" height="419" \/>\r\n\r\nOnce they are added, the software will then run through a multi-step verification process through several different data providers to try and pull in information on the prospect:\r\n\r\n<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-7835" src="https:\/\/pagely.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/03\/prospect-email.png" alt="prospect-email" width="993" height="133" \/>\r\n\r\nThere are tools like <a href="http:\/\/sellhack.com\/">SellHack<\/a>, <a href="https:\/\/www.findemails.com\/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Toofr<\/a> and <a href="https:\/\/hunter.io\/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hunter<\/a> which can help you do this as well on a more manual basis. Hunter is one of several API providers we use, but we also go through the process of trying to verify the email as well.\r\n<h2><b>How to Craft an Email<\/b><\/h2>\r\nHaving the list is one thing, knowing what to do with the list is an entirely different animal.\r\n\r\nWe will often times get requests from customers that want to write their own cold emails. We don't even allow this because of how poorly done they are. They treat the emails like they are sales letters or landing page copy.\r\n\r\nThe key is to keep it short. Generally, I recommend three to four sentences (five max). I have come up with a formula to follow for your first cold email called QVC.\r\n<h2><b>The QVC Formula<\/b><\/h2>\r\n<i>Q = Question<\/i>\r\n\r\nYou have to realize that the first sentence is crucial. This is what will show up on their phones and as a preview in their inbox.\r\n\r\nMost people try to lead in with some sort of introduction and this just tips off the prospect that they don't know you. Instead, try to lead in with a question that pertains to your business.\r\n\r\n<i>V = Value Prop<\/i>\r\n\r\nThis is where everyone gets it wrong.\r\n\r\nInstead of going on and on about how great your service is and ALL that you offer, try to get the core message out and highlight what makes you unique.\r\n\r\n<i>C = Closing Call-to-Action (CTA)<\/i>\r\n\r\nDon't end the email weakly, with a "Look forward to hearing from you" type closing. Instead, ask directly if they can speak in the next few days OR give them some sort of closing question that begs an answer in order to elicit some sort of response.\r\n\r\nHere is an example of a cold email we are sending to prospective customers:\r\n\r\n<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-7832" src="https:\/\/pagely.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/03\/email-outreach.png" alt="email-outreach" width="955" height="335" \/>\r\n<h2><b>Pro Tip:<\/b><\/h2>\r\nYou need to supply a way out of cold emails. However, this does not mean it needs to be an unsubscribe link.\r\n\r\nInstead, use the P.S. area below your signature block (where you MUST also include your address) to let them know they can opt-out of getting a follow-up message from you simply by responding that they aren't interested.\r\n\r\n<img class="aligncenter wp-image-7837 size-full" src="https:\/\/pagely.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/03\/ps.png" alt="ps" width="1024" height="58" \/>\r\n<h2><b>The Follow-Up<\/b><\/h2>\r\nOnce you have the initial email written, you need to create your follow-up emails that will go out.\r\n\r\nYou don't want these to be simply "checking in" type messages. Instead, you want to bring more value that didn't bring in the first email.\r\n\r\nFor example, it is the perfect time to now highlight a case study of a company you have worked with and their results.\r\n\r\nYou would want to include your previous email in your follow-ups for a couple of reasons.\r\n\r\nThe first being, it is convenient for the prospect to refer back to what you sent previously.\r\n\r\nNext, you can also avoid setting up yet another P.S. with an opt-out option since it will already be included automatically from your first email.\r\n\r\nDon't be afraid to use the "Re:" as the subject line in this one as well to fully represent that you went to the previous email and clicked "Reply All" in order to send this email.\r\n\r\nYou will want to follow up with prospects every few days at the earliest and once per week at most. If you follow-up more than three or four times you can spread those follow-ups out even more.\r\n\r\nWe have seen a lot of success with this strategy:\r\n<ol class="ol1">\r\n \t<li class="li1"><span class="s1">QVC Email<\/span><\/li>\r\n \t<li class="li1"><span class="s1">Case Study<\/span><\/li>\r\n \t<li class="li1"><span class="s1">Value Add (recent blog post link, relevant news article, another case study, etc)<\/span><\/li>\r\n \t<li class="li1"><span class="s1">Break-up Email (letting them know you won't be following up anymore)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ol>\r\nHeather Morgan is an advocate of <a href="https:\/\/salesfolk.com\/blog\/why-every-outbound-campaign-needs-8-emails\/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">sending eight emails<\/a>. It is ultimately up to you.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> As long as you can bring some sort of value to each email, there isn't any reason why you should stop. Especially if you feel your solution will truly help them. You have an obligation at that point! <\/span>\r\n<h2><b>How to Send and Follow-up Automatically<\/b><\/h2>\r\nSo you are probably thinking, I don't have time to send a bunch of one-off emails and follow-up with everyone. Well, the good news is this can all be automated.\r\n\r\nThere are tools like <a href="https:\/\/www.sendbloom.com\/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">SendBloom<\/a>, <a href="https:\/\/outreach.io\/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Outreach.io<\/a>, and <a href="http:\/\/quickmail.io\/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Quickmail<\/a> that do this exclusively. In addition, we just rolled out this capability into our all-in-one platform, as well.\r\n\r\n<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-7833" src="https:\/\/pagely.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/03\/email-sequence.png" alt="email-sequence" width="515" height="529" \/>\r\n\r\nBy having everything all in one place, it makes prospecting and setting appointment times with interested prospects so much easier.\r\n<h2><b>Handling Responses<\/b><\/h2>\r\nMore often than not, people will not be interested in what you have to offer. So don't get discouraged when you get the "Not interested" responses. In fact, many times you will get people very upset with you. This is okay too, because at least they responded.\r\n\r\nDon't bother responding to these people. No good will come of it.\r\n\r\nBy having them respond, it helps your future deliverability rate as Google shows that there's engagement. So this is not the end of the world.\r\n\r\nHowever, there will be the 1% to 10% that respond who are interested in what you have to offer. Now you can spend your time talking to those who actually WANT to talk to you.\r\n\r\n<img class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-7838" src="https:\/\/pagely.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/03\/response-600x102.png" alt="response" width="600" height="102" \/>\r\n\r\nCompare that to cold calling, and you can see how much more beneficial this is.\r\n\r\nThe key here, though, is to not jump the gun and try to convert them to a sale in your follow-up email. You want to ideally get them on the phone once they have expressed interest to increase your chances of a deal.\r\n\r\nWhen they respond with interest in talking to you, reinforce the value proposition and give them a clear call to action to book a time. The value proposition keeps their interest piqued, versus just going straight to a calendar link as well.\r\n\r\nThe calendar link (we use <a href="http:\/\/www.calendly.com">Calendly<\/a> and love it) is a major time saver. It is also convenient because your prospect can easily book a time that works for them without going back and forth via email to find the right time.\r\n<h2><b>Conclusion<\/b><\/h2>\r\nThis is the exact process we've used to grow our own business to $30k MRR in the first year. Everyone's results will be different, but the principles should roughly be the same:\r\n<ol class="ol1">\r\n \t<li class="li1"><span class="s1">Find and reach your target customer<\/span><\/li>\r\n \t<li class="li1"><span class="s1">Craft an outreach plan that is personalized (not the typical marketing message). <\/span><\/li>\r\n \t<li class="li1"><span class="s1">Follow-up<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ol>\r\nFollow these steps in order to put a scalable lead generation plan in place for your business.