Curating an effective email list for your company is a lot like creating a playlist of songs for a party. It takes time, consideration, and awareness of who you’re trying to connect with. You don’t make your friends listen to a bunch of random songs in an attempt to get their attention. Instead, you hand-pick tunes that you know will get the crowd excited.
Creating cold email lists follows a similar process. Your goal is to position your company in a way that attracts prospects and fosters a meaningful relationship. Targeted emailing and personalization can actually increase your reply rate by 100%, but it will take time and consideration.
Debunking Cold Emailing
Email marketing is a tactic that many companies utilize to reach new contacts and connect with a wider range of audiences. Cold emailing, specifically, has begun to grow in popularity as a way to build an effective list of people to reach out to. But, does it actually work?
The truth is, cold emailing can definitely be successful for your company, as long as you approach it correctly. Without following the proper guidelines, you could end up engaged in some illegal activity. Buying email lists is especially risky because they may contain spam traps that’ll negatively impact your sender reputation.
Gathering Addresses to Cold Email
Both small and large companies owe much of their success to the contacts they’ve gathered through cold emailing. So, let’s walk through how you can start building your list.
1. Determine Your Target Persona
Before you even begin looking for any addresses, it’s important to understand who you hope to reach. Think about what characteristics come together to form your target customer or contact. Developing a few different customer personas for your company will allow you to increase the relevance of the content that you ultimately send.
When creating this target persona, start by considering the following questions:
- What does your company stand for?
- What makes your current customers and/or contacts happy?
- What makes your current customers and/or contacts frustrated?
- What struggles does your company face most frequently?
- What goals are you trying to achieve with your campaign?
Thinking about the answers to general questions like these will help you determine who you are really trying to reach before you even write the content of one email. These questions also allow you to keep the big picture in mind when you are developing your email list and trying to determine who the best people are for your company’s ultimate success.
When you forget to think about these target personas, you are neglecting a valuable step in the email marketing process, one that will most likely cause you more significant problems down the line when determining the effectiveness of your campaign’s outreach.
2. Surf the Web
After you have developed a few effective target personas for your campaign, it’s time to start digging for those addresses. This process can definitely be tedious and take time, but in the end, it’s more than worth it when you can walk away with email addresses of people you want to connect with.
While the endless scope of the Internet can seem daunting, when looking for such specific bits of information, there are some websites that can often lead you right to the giant pot of gold you seek. LinkedIn, for example.
Utilize your LinkedIn connections
As a network designed to connect professionals across various industries, LinkedIn is the perfect place to start when trying to track down someone’s email address. Users on LinkedIn are often very quick to respond, and industry moguls are often checking their profiles multiple times a day to ensure they are actively staying connected with their followers.
When using LinkedIn to curate a cold email list, keep these features in mind:
- LinkedIn Search:
You can often find the email addresses of your connections through their profiles. This method may not always work, but it’s the easiest way to attempt to secure a prospect’s address without wasting too much time.
Try searching by industry, company, and/or name in order to find potential prospects. You can often find a full list of a company’s employees on their official LinkedIn profile page. Additionally, there are details regarding employees’ positions and background information, which can help narrow down your search and serve as a bit of guidance when you don’t know exactly who to get in touch with.
If you are not connected with a prospect on LinkedIn, you can connect with them on their profile. Be sure to add in a relevant note when submitting the connection request! This adds a sense of personalization that will increase the response rate and accept your invitation to connect.
- LinkedIn InMail:
When thinking about how to build legitimate relationships with your connections or potential connections on the LinkedIn platform, messaging is key. The InMail function of LinkedIn allows you to be upfront with your request to build a connection and seek a relationship with a prospect. Just be sure to keep your message polite, personalized, and straightforward when addressing your prospect.
It’s important to keep in mind that most people want to learn about you and your business, and they are usually eager to build up their own networks as well. Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone in your network who you think could be a good fit for your company’s product or service.
- ContactOut Plugin:
When your basic LinkedIn search and messages are deemed unsuccessful, don’t give up just yet. The fact is, LinkedIn searches and InMail may not be enough for curating an efficient email list for your campaign.
If you’re using Google Chrome, you can install the plugin ContactOut. This is a free, Chrome-based extension that allows you to find prospects’ email addresses through their social accounts. This tool is vital to building your email lists, claiming to find a contact’s email approximately 75% of the time. Additionally, they claim their emails are 97% accurate, allowing you to create a successful list without waiting for your prospect to accept your connection request on LinkedIn itself.
Thus, LinkedIn is a great place to turn to whether you know exactly who you want to get in contact with or if you are looking for inspiration within a general industry or specific company. Also, since the platform is geared towards professionals, you can expect to avoid the clutter of fake accounts when you’re trying to narrow down information.
3. Subscribe to your prospect’s email
This doesn’t guarantee you access to the email address you want, but it does allow you to craft super-specific pitches for your cold emails. Through your prospect’s blogs, webinars, e-books and whitepapers, you’ll gather intel about the company’s interests and goals.
Keeping these valuable insights in mind may help you frame how your company’s product or service benefits them and fits into their overall mission. One of the keys to cold emailing is providing a way for your prospect to understand what you can provide for them in the long-run. Knowing what your prospect stands for will allow you to fit into that puzzle.
4. Google to your heart’s content
It seems obvious, but Google is another great tool when searching for email addresses for your company’s outreach. To get the most of Google, be sure to use a variety of search methods based on the amount of information you already have for your prospect. Google searches vary in detail; the more info you have, the better the results!
Here are a variety of basic formulas for conducting successful searches on Google’s platform:
- [prospect name] + “email” or “email address”
- [prospect name] + “contact” or “contact information” or “contact me”
- [company website] + [prospect name] + “email”
- [company website] + [prospect name] + “contact”
These combinations are just the start of where you can take your Google searches when creating an email list. In addition to using a prospect’s name and website, you can also try including more personal information like a hometown or a university attended. Utilizing various searches will give you a better chance of securing the desired email address of the prospect you have in mind.
Verify new email addresses for your sender reputation’s sake
Emailing contacts who haven’t opted into your marketing emails can result in negative consequences for your sender reputation, such as getting blacklisted. To avoid ending up on a blacklist, first, don’t buy email lists. Then, vet the email addresses you so carefully acquired with a service like Marketing Manager’s Email Verification Engine, which identifies any bad email addresses in your database and prohibits you from sending them messages.
As a Marketing Manager client, you have access to a prospecting database of over 90 million contacts, as well as a powerful email service with workflows to execute that first cold email and its follow-up messages.
For all the work you put into gathering prospect email addresses, you’ll want everything else to be as simple and smooth as possible.
At the end of the day…
When developing a strategy to gather email addresses for your company’s next cold email campaign, it’s important to keep the long-term in mind. Sure, buying email lists and outsourcing your engagement seems like a worthwhile shortcut, but putting in time and effort will result in your company creating lasting, meaningful connections with prospects. Remember, good things take time.