How to Personalize Cold Emails Beyond ‘Hi [FirstName]’

How to Personalize Cold Emails BeyondMost people (and ISPs) mistakenly lump cold emails as junk mail. One proven way to ensure your cold emails don’t end up in the spam folder is to personalize your message. Today’s post provides a step-by-step guide on how to personalize cold emails beyond the usual “Hi [FirstName]” tactic—and to do this at scale.

Cold emails remain the workhorses of B2B marketing. They’re a good way to start building a relationship with prospects, influencers, and business partners. Sadly, cold emails continue to get a bad rap from people and ISPs alike. That’s because a lot of marketers misuse cold outreach to send out bulk, unwanted, and irrelevant (read: spam) messages to unsuspecting recipients. Although cold emails are, by nature, unsolicited messages, it’s how they’re being used that turns them into spam.

There are several strategies for improving the chances of your cold emails reaching the right recipient’s inbox, but personalization is demonstrably one of the most effective. Applying personalization tactics that really increase your emails’ relevance improves deliverability by:

  • Avoiding bulk, generic email blasts, hence preventing setting off spam filters
  • Improving engagement rates (opens, clicks, replies, etc.), which also boosts sender reputation
  • Minimizing spam complaints, which also improves sender reputation

Of course, personalization does have its downsides, one of which is that it requires time and a lot of research. But personalizing your cold emails pays off. That’s why we’re sharing this short practical guide on how to personalize cold emails at scale.

 

Step 1: Create personas for your target audience

Personas help you precisely define who your target recipients are. With personas, it’s much easier to accurately target and segment your audience. If you haven’t yet identified personas for your target recipients, Marketingprofs suggests building ideal buyer profiles with the following info:

  • Role in the buying process
  • Fears and challenges
  • Drivers and motivators
  • Organizational goal and priorities
  • Problems and issues

 

Step 2: Build your cold email list

Now that you’ve identified your target audience personas, you’re going to use the generated profiles for finding contacts to include in your cold email list. If you already have an existing email contact database, the process involves simply filtering the list using the profiles’ attributes.

If you don’t yet have a current list to fetch records from, you can either gather the contacts through your own research or work with a third-party list vendor.

 

Step 3: Find relevant and relatable info for each recipient

IT’s now time to get your hands dirty. This step involves doing some (mostly) manual, tedious research. The goal here is to mine pieces of information specific to each recipient that you can then mention in your cold email copy.

Sales engagement platform provider PersistIQ recommends the “3 takeaways in 3 minutes” approach when determining what personal details to include in your research. The idea is to start with 3 personal facts about each prospect you can gather in 3 minutes. Each of these pieces of information should help you connect with that particular prospect. These include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Current location
  • Work history
  • School or university
  • Mutual connections

Other personalization snippets include:

  • Website
  • Blog post and articles
  • Company news and announcements
  • Social media posts

Append some or all of these pieces of prospect data onto the cold email list you generated (or acquired) in step 2.

 

Step 4: Craft the personalized email template

In the previous step, you gathered relatable prospect information for each recipient. Now, it’s time to write the email template (or templates) where the relevant personal facts will be inserted.

While we all have our own cold email writing styles, here’s a quick rundown of email personalization best practices to keep in mind:

  • Try to mention one of the personal facts on the subject line
  • Start the body by pointing out another relatable fact
  • Segue into the main portion of your message
  • End with a clear call to action

 

Conclusion

Personalized emails tend to produce better engagement rates (26% higher open rates, 14% higher CTRs, and 10% conversion rates). Not only that, personalization tends to boost deliverability and inbox placement, especially for cold emails. So, before doing your next cold email outreach, try a little personalization first.

Top Email Marketing Benchmarks of 2017 (and How to Do Better in 2018)

In a few short days, we’ll be starting another email marketing year. But before we do that, let’s first look back at 2017 and see how well email marketers collectively performed. Even more importantly, let’s use these email marketing benchmarks as guideposts to do better in the upcoming year.

Today’s blog entry compiles key 2017 email marketing benchmarks from Delivera, MailChimp, Inbox Marketer, and SignUp.to. The numbers cited here describe 2017’s email marketing campaigns in terms of oepns, clicks, bounces, and other metrics, plus some actionable tips to help you improve in each category. Let’s dive right in.

 

Opens

While there’s some variation in the actual number, our data sources all seem to agree on the average email marketing open rates in 2017:

  • The average open rate is 31.92% for all industries (Delivera).
  • On average, overall open rate was recorded at 24.79% (SignUp.to)
  • Open rates increase to 28.8%, up from 25.9% in the past year (Inbox Marketer).
  • On a per-industry level, open rates ranged from 15.2% to 28.4% and averaged 21.8% (MailChimp)

This year, the following tactics resulted in better-than-average open rates:

  • Subject lines less than 50 characters long resulted in 58% open rate (Adestra).
  • The open rate for personalized emails is 1.4 times higher than generic ones (Statista).
  • Segmentation results in 14.3% higher open rates (MailChimp).

 

Click-Throughs

In two of the references we used, the findings indicate overall higher click-through rates for the year (although the number widely varied):

  • Overall, CTRs incrementally increased by 0.8 percentage points, averaging 5.8% (Inbox Marketer).
  • Average CTRs across all sectors were reported to be 3.57 percent (Delivera).
  • CTRs came in at 4.19% for all industries (SignUp.to).
  • Depending on the industry, CTRs ranged between 1.25% to 5.13%, averaging 2.62% (MailChimp).

Here’s how email best practices enhanced CTRs of email campaigns:

  • Trigger emails generate 2x higher CTRs than traditional emails (Super Office).
  • CTRs for segmented emails are more than 8x higher than non-segmented emails (Super Office).
  • Subject line personalization improves CTRs by 17.36% (MarketingSherpa).

 

Click-to-Open

While CTRs measure the number of clicks over the number of emails sent, the click-to-open rate (CTOR) expresses the number of clicks as a percentage of the total opens. That’s why CTOR is a better gauge of email engagement.

SignUp.to finds that average CTOR is around 11.88% (SignUp.to). Meanwhile, Smart Insights recommends aiming for a CTOR between 10% to 15%. If your campaign is underperforming in terms of click-to-opens, follow the below tips:

  • Write short and clear subject lines.
  • Keep your copy between 50 to 125 words long.
  • Make sure your call-to-action (CTA) stands out.
  • Close with a specific option and end with gratitude.

 

Hard Bounces

Email marketers remain very effective at keeping hard bounces in check. According to Inbox Manager, bounce rates remain low at just 0.9% across all industries in 2017.

MailChimp’s industry-level email marketing benchmarks report shows that hard bounce rates vary from industry to industry, with a minimum of 0.7% and a maximum of 1.2%.

To keep your hard bounce rates within acceptable limits, try out the following:

Use a double opt-in list signup method

Keep your list spotlessly clean

Verify each contact in your list

Work with a data scrubbing and maintenance company

 

Conclusion

While averages and aggregate numbers give us a quick way to compare and evaluate our campaigns, keep in mind that these headline values oftentimes don’t tell the whole story. That’s why we need to go past these top-level email marketing benchmarks to find out what’s really going on. In that sense, the best reference metrics will always be your own campaign results.

Happy New Year!

How to Avoid Email Deliverability Issues During the Holidays

How to Avoid Email Deliverability Issues During the HolidaysThe holiday season is in full swing. Aside from crowded stores and endless checkout lines, the inbox gets particularly busy this time of year, too. In fact, people receive 1.5 times more promotional emails during the holidays than at any other period. This brings all sorts of email deliverability issues that can drag down campaign performance.

As Kevin Senne over at Oracle Marketing Cloud explains, ISPs tend to tighten their grip on incoming mail during the holidays. That’s because mailbox providers slow down the rate of email arrivals to deal with the seasonal deluge. Naturally, this throttling has an effect on both if and when emails reach a recipient’s inbox.

While these email deliverability issues largely bother senders of promotional emails, every marketer who wants to get in touch with prospects or customers during the holidays isn’t immune from these problems.

That’s why we searched the Web for practical tips and best practices to help you avoid holiday-induced deliverability headaches. Let’s take a look at what we learned:

 

  1. Keep your list spotlessly clean

As you’re making your email list, and checking it twice, you might want to have someone recheck it thrice. The first step to your recipients’ inbox starts with the list. Squeaky-clean lists help keep email deliverability issues at bay.

That’s because clean lists tend to give you lower bounce rates, which in turn improve your sender reputation. The better your reputation becomes (in the eyes of ISPs), the better your deliverability gets.

While there’s no shortage of tools and techniques you can use to do some D.I.Y. list cleaning, most sources we dug up strongly recommend working with a third-party data cleaning service provider for best results.

 

  1. Stick to your current sending IP address

If you’re thinking that switching over to a new IP address will give you better deliverability for your holiday campaigns, then you’re in for some very rude awakening. Deliverability expert Return Path cautions against changing your sending IP address, especially during the holiday season.

Using a brand new IP does let you start out with a blank slate, but it’s going to take a while to “warm up” a fresh address and earn the trust of ISPs. Building your sender reputation from scratch isn’t going to happen overnight, and the process will be much longer during the holidays when throttling and stricter spam filters are in place.

 

  1. Watch your mailing frequency

Return Path also warns email marketers not to abruptly increase their sending frequency in the run up to and during the holidays. The biggest mailbox providers keep a close eye on any sudden spikes in send-out rates, slowing down or stopping incoming mails from senders who step on the gas too quickly. In many cases, this can permanently harm sender reputation.

To avoid potential email deliverability issues from sending out too much mail during the holidays, most references we found suggest consistently maintaining your usual email frequency. Other sources also point out that, if you really want to increase your email volume, you need to slowly and gradually increase your frequency over several weeks ahead of the holidays.

 

  1. Wear your authentication badge at all times

Another way to improve deliverability is to use SPF, DKIM, and DMARC authentication. These are tools that tell ISPs you’re someone they can trust. While enabling these items won’t guarantee deliverability (nothing does), they’re a crucial component of building and maintaining a good sender reputation.

As marketing automation provider Real Magnet describes, these three authentication systems allow you to improve your emails’ deliverability and credibility. They implement protocols that verify your domain as the sender, which is something that affects ISPs’ decisions to accept or reject incoming mail.

Enabling all three tools helps guarantee your emails make it into the inbox, as well as protect your emails from spoofing.

 

  1. Focus on the recipient, not the campaign

Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, and other mailbox providers use engagement metrics (opens, clicks, spam reports, unsubscribes, etc.) to determine if your email should end up in the inbox or spam folder.

That’s why avoiding email deliverability issues also means improving how your emails engage your readers. From the subject down to the closing, your email needs actionable copy and compelling design.

We went over some effective tips to write engaging emails in a previous blog entry. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Use a catchy subject line
  • Make the copy easy to scan and skim
  • Keep it short and strong
  • End with a clear CTA
  • Place main takeaways and CTAs at the top
  • Divide text into sections
  • Use contrasting color schemes
  • Format everything for easy skimming

With these steps, your holiday email campaign will surely minimize, if not avoid, email deliverability issues. From the ContactDB team:

Happy Holidays!

Never One Without The Other: Email Marketing and Email Database

Never One Without The Other: Email Marketing and Email Database

I found articles that say, “Email is Dead” and “Buying an Email List is a No-no” a faux. It’s definitely not the case, not if you know how to make your email marketing strategy a killer and purchase an effective email database.

Email marketing is one of the distinct ways in B2B marketing strategies that enables you to reach not just random people but actual C-Level personas in any business industries. We know that more than just being professional and direct in talking to these people, being informative is also a requirement. For these business minded individuals who needs data-driven information to fabricate logical solutions for their business, you need to educate them how your network is of significance to finding such solutions. This educational approach can be satisfactorily provided by an email. Even now, email marketing continues to expand as it has become the most known channel in prospecting. It has been taken advantage to deliver content creatively. For in email marketing, you can easily present what you want for your client through the content. It is important to note that you have to educate them first before offering them your service right away. You can condense data that you want your client to see. It can make them discern that you are very much involving them with a correct data that would be genuinely useful for them in the future. Also, you can usher them to your business’s website by suggesting it to them in case they need to further check information.

Eventually, you need to acquire an email database. This can be just the right shortcut to extending your network to numerous B2B leads. Buying a B2B email list is convenient than collecting address from a sign-up form on a website or opt-in collection campaigns through an advertising service as it saves time building an email list. This also allows any marketer to rapidly reach many people with information about his service or product, especially demographics that he may otherwise not be able to reach; thus, expanding access to new markets. What’s more is that you get yourself a whole lot of treat like generating response rate, boosting open rates and more if you get yourself a good deal from good email list provider.

Amidst challenges, email marketing continues to be one of the best lead sources for B2B companies and email database is still at large in optimizing the said marketing strategy.

How to Know When It’s Time to Purchase a Targeted Email List

How to Know When It’s Time to Purchase a Targeted Email List

Notwithstanding the fact that purchasing a targeted email list can be a good way to promptly grow your contact database, most marketers are still reluctant to do so (well, who wouldn’t with all the bad rep that purchased contact lists have been getting these days?).

Let’s scratch that! Purchased contact lists work just fine! You just have to really know how to use them in your campaigns. Properly managed, they can give you endless possibilities for acquiring good, warm leads. But before you get too excited, you need to find out first whether now is the right time to make the purchase. Here are three factors that will help you decide on that.

When your email list is not sufficient to generate leads

Let’s face it. The only way you’re going to acquire more leads is to reach more prospects and in order to reach more prospects, you need to obtain more contacts. Having a meager record count in your email list will get you nowhere near “more leads”. Purchasing an email list is a fast way to fill the funnel and allows you to proactively expand your reach to your target audience.

When your inbound marketing endeavors take too much time

No one’s going to argue against this. Inbound marketing is a proven and tested approach. However, it’s also undeniable that it can take quite some time (especially if you’re a start-up) before it picks up traction. Time is gold. Lead generation per se is a time-consuming process so you might want to give it a push by purchasing a targeted email list.

When your existing email list is more of a liability than an asset

Even a consent-based email list doesn’t guarantee hassle-free email delivery. Ever experienced a high bounce rate? How about a low response rate, or an overwhelming number of spam complaints? Chances are, your emails aren’t landing where they are supposed to and that dirty data are swarming your email lists! This kind of data is bad for your email marketing campaign! It can potentially damage your sender score and reputation with email providers and consequently hinders email deliverability. In this case (and especially if you aren’t also equipped to do data hygiene checks), you can seek help from a reputable database solutions provider. They do the job for you. Plus, some of them even offer targeted email lists you can readily purchase (professionally vetted by database specialists!).

Now you know whether you need to go out and buy a list. When you’re suffering from a lack of leads due to an inadequate email list, when your inbound marketing efforts take too long to get results, and when your email list becomes more of a burden than a benefit, it’s time to make a move! Purchase your targeted email list now! Engage and nurture every single contact on a bought email list and keep moving toward your lead generation goals!

Run These 6 Data Hygiene Checks On Your B2B Email Lists Before Your Next Campaign

Run These 6 Data Hygiene Checks On Your B2B Email Lists Before Your Next Campaign

Whether it’s B2C or B2B, email marketing has always been an excellent approach to nurture prospects, convert sales-ready leads, and solicit repeat and referral business. However, in order to be effective, your contact list requires a solid foundation. And whether you’re employing bought or home-grown data, doing hygiene checks on your email lists is crucial to boosting your ROI.

So what does it mean to run a data hygiene check on your B2B email lists?

Your contact database is brimming with data and insights into your potential clientele. However, if that data contains errors and inaccuracies, your sales and marketing initiatives are going to bear the brunt of the nasty side effects of having bad data on your list. Routinely running data hygiene checks guarantees that every piece of information in your contact database is as reliable and actionable as possible. Having meticulously-maintained and robust data is critical for running targeted and effective email marketing campaigns.

The following are the common types of dirty data that might be lurking in your B2B email lists.

  • Inaccurate data – These are those records that have typographical errors.
  • Duplications — These are separate records belonging to the same contact.
  • Dead accounts — These are those email addresses that were once actively used by their owners but have now become inactive.
  • Spam traps – These are those email addresses that are in circulation to help single out spammers who add addresses to their email lists without consent. They often find their way into authentic email lists.

To remove these kinds of data from your B2B email lists, you need to run these six crucial steps in maintaining good data hygiene:

  1. Data Scrubbing – This refers to finding and handling data entry and basic parsing errors.
  2. De-duplication and Records Matching – This refers to detecting and removing duplicate records as well as combining records incorrectly classified as separate.
  3. Recovering/Appending Missing Data & Values – This refers to managing records with incomplete data by using an intelligent algorithm.
  4. Data Migration & Merging – This refers to migrating or integrating a marketing database into another format or storage.
  5. Standardization & Normalization – This refers to checking the consistency and comparability of various pieces of data in the database.
  6. Data Verification – This refers to validating and verifying information on the database through phone, email, and online research.

Know that dirty data is something that you can absolutely do without. They can give you a bad rep by damaging your sender score and it could get a lot worst with your IP getting blocked or being blacklisted by your email provider. That’s why doing data hygiene checks routinely should be a part of your campaign process. It’s a good push toward reducing bounce rates and improving email deliverability and conversion rates.

3 Reasons Why Savvy B2B Marketers Do Email Marketing With Purchased Contact Lists

Why Savvy B2B Marketers Do Email Marketing With Purchased Contact Lists

When handled correctly, you can take advantage of purchased contact lists to its full potential. That is why savvy B2B marketers include purchased contact lists in their must-haves especially when running email marketing campaigns. Here are three reasons why they just love to do so.

  1. It lets you kick-start your email campaign right away.
    Inbound marketing has its share of boon and bane. Sure. It’s a potent marketing technique that you should have. However, you can’t deny the fact that it takes a considerable amount of time. Time is precious so why be solely dependent on a strategy that eats it up? Fortunately, getting hold of purchased contact lists eradicates this as it gives you the upper hand in your lead generation.
  1. It fills your sales funnel right there and then and expands your contact database overnight.
    When you depend on inbound approaches alone, Your marketing team isn’t the only one that will bear the brunt. It can become an obstacle for your business growth as numbers tank and sales become sluggish. If that’s not a nightmare scenario for you, I don’t know what is. But if push comes to shove and you opt to send emails using purchased contact lists, filling up that funnel is easily within your reach. In other words, with a bought contact list, you can expedite sales-ready leads for conversion.
    Aside from virtually letting you expand your database overnight, using purchased contact lists in your email marketing basically opens up new horizons for you and put you in front of boundless business opportunities. So whenever you need a push in your lead generation efforts, don’t hesitate to make a purchase!
  1. You can use it to convert cold contact into warm leads.
    Some of you might be thinking that emailing to purchased contact lists is a little risky since the contacts haven’t opted in. But of course! They haven’t opted. Yet! Using these contact lists in your B2B email marketing enables you to convert cold contacts to warm, consent-based leads. You can, therefore, make these leads part of your sales and marketing campaigns. After this, it’ll be all about employing lead nurturing strategies and conversion.

In the right hands, purchased contact lists are great tools for building and growing the sales pipeline. That’s why savvy marketers use bought email lists because: it frees up their time to focus on more important things; it lets them fill up their funnel with ready-to-contact prospects practically overnight; and finally, it allows them to nurture and convert the right kind of leads. So, go find a B2B contact list provider that gives you more bang for your buck. Look for a vendor that manually verifies each list record, so that your email campaigns get better deliverability, response, and conversions.

Common Mistakes in Gathering Email Contacts

Common Mistakes in Gathering Email Contacts

In the four phases of email marketing detailed by Daniel Fagella, collecting is the first. This is considered as email procurement or email researching. The goal of this stage is to obtain right leads as many as you can. Correspondingly, this phase can start with a quick correspondence utilizing the correct strategy and the correct pace. Streamlining of this stage indicates enhancing the lead flow out of given sources.

There are three common mistakes in this stage which is presented in as follows:

  • Failure to test the major landing pages and contact pages to upgrade entries
    Frequently, the testing of major landing pages and contact pages are overlooked. The streamlining for entries in this part often go unnoticed. If this continues to be unremedied, submission of contacts may not be pertinent later on.
  • Failure to make thank-you pages with particular calls to action (i.e. web forms that displays after a submission with “Thank you for submitting your information”)
    More often than not, email procurement will ask but not recognize the time you render visiting the page. Submission of form here and there can be challenging and an inconvenience in the visitor’s part. This may cause a flag down of enthusiasm towards the company.
  • Unsegmented front-end contact forms that connect evenly to all types of leads and prospects
    Yes. For system, it is not always right to blame that even leads are being barraged with contact forms. This is assisting the part of prospects in stimulation but not leads, which can bring about as we speak, turned down of conversion. However, development on how the site will distinguish a prospect between a lead also matters.

All of the things found above are common errors committed during email contact procurement. Enhancing a phase forward signifies great advancement in B2B lead generation and client experiences.

Why An Email List Cleaning Service Is A Must

Why An Email List Cleaning Service Is A Must

Email data can be dirty and it occurs more than you may might think. Dirty data are basically data that are  invalid. Even the littlest slip-up during data entry can prompt an invalid email address — a simple typographical error, a displaced @ sign, an unnoticed character — it doesn’t take much. Correspondingly, research reveals that these blunders happen in more than 20% of email registrations.

When you start a campaign without having these invalid email addresses ran through by a data cleansing provider, you will be on ISP’s and spam filter’s radar. ISPs and spam filters do not just make the decision on how much funny business can occur amid an email campaign (spam reports, unsubscribes, and undelivered/bounced messages), but they also get to choose which campaigns hits the inbox.

Various factors are considered in making this resolve, one being the data quality. In case you have your data handled by a data cleansing provider or a software, your email list will have less errors. Notwithstanding content quality and engagement, and the IP rep, will give you a better shot of hitting the inbox. It lessens the probability of an ISP blocking you (or even your own ESP restricting you).

So when would it be a good idea to utilize a data cleansing service? Always. It is a year-round concern, and you ought to do it consistently before each campaign to ensure deliverability. Moreover, it’s particularly critical in case you’re sending to an older list, working together on another one, or wanting to grow your database by buying a professionally screened email list.

Can’t an ESP or marketing automation software clean an email list? No. Truth be told, most ESPs won’t let you send to a bought list since they aren’t fit for cleaning the data. To utilize a purchased list, and to guarantee the cleanliness of your own organic list, its deliverability and CAN-SPAM/CASL compliant, employ a data cleansing service.

Make Your Lead Growth Promising with Bought Email Lists

Make Your Lead Growth Promising with Bought Email Lists

Purchased email and cold contacts should be a part of your current marketing strategy. They open up a world of opportunity and can be advantageous to your business in more than one way. So if you’re still having second thoughts in doing so, here are reasons to help push come to shove in employing email lists in your marketing efforts.

  • Buying email contacts extends reach and boost sales growth

Each time you obtain email list, you’re extending your potential audience. The more individuals you send your marketing emails to, the more leads you’re going to produce. That is, lead growth prompts sales growth — and income growth.

  • Buying email contacts support in stuffing marketing and sales channels

Obtaining email lists increase your audience virtually overnight. As these new, cold contacts turn out to be warm leads, they can be nudged to the suitable pipes. Marketing can begin the nurturing procedure for warm leads, while sales manage the leads that are now hot.

  • Buying email records can help build ROI

When you buy email lists from a trustworthy supplier, you get an expertly filtered lists of contacts who will be responsive to your marketing message. That implies you avoid wasting time and cash promoting to individuals who don’t find your products or services relevant to them.

  • Acquiring email lists can help enhance client acquisition cost payback

Sending to contacts who find your products or services significant to them would not just enhance your ROI but additionally expedite lead generation and your rate of return. See profits come at you faster!

  • Buying email lists can help free up assets

Bought email lists offers you a running start on the lead generation procedure. The less time you need to spend pursuing leads, the additional time and assets you have accessible to concentrate on closing them.