Now that we have done the following correctly: you’ve got good data, your setup is impeccable, and you’ve written subject lines that hit open rate of the upper 80% (have seen enough times to know it’s really possible), now things get serious.
Paraphrasing the words of the evil but entertaining Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Django Unchained):
‘You had your prospect’s curiosity with your subject line, now with your message copy you gain their interest.’
Some basic points to remember when drafting your message content
With bad content, you can really ruin (yes, ruin, I am being that negative), your campaign’s potential. So to avoid that let’s list a few basic ideas and considerations:
- your prospect viewing your message is only the continuation of the process not the end by any means because an opened email that was not answered did not deliver the intended result of initiating a dialogue with the recipient
- your message should not deviate from what is indicated in the subject line otherwise it may be perceived as clickbait (if you’ve ever been rick-rolled you know how lame clickbaiting is)
- just like in the subject line avoid words that are associated with spam (I’ll be doing another long-form post about message content in which I’ll list the spam words which should be avoided)
- personalize where possible with a focus on crafting content that provides some type of value to the end recipient, e.g. an insight, interest resource, even humour can count as value
- hypothesize what the message will cause and why (the reason I recommend doing that is that you don’t have to be right you just have to have a structured approach to writing your message to lower the randomness that is not measurable)
Purpose of message content
The content in your message can make or break your campaign. Too many sales devs want to progress too fast in the sale cycle. They are not taking the prospect’s needs into consideration. One of the biggest mistakes you can make while doing cold outreach is to try to sell your product in the message. The message is not at all a channel for selling a product or a service, it is in fact the initiation of an early stage dialogue with a potentially interested party.
I’ve received so many emails that try to sell me their product instead of initiating a dialogue and it’s simply too much to ask from the prospect. A sale has so many steps and the bigger the deal size the more complicated it’s going to get (all other things being equal), so when you try to close a deal or even generate a qualified opportunity on basis of cold outreach, then you’re asking the prospect to do all the work. So make it easy for them, ask them what is absolutely necessary to progress the sale (without losing them) and serve them just enough content that they need in order to convert.
Why buyers won’t convert to sale simply because you contacted them
To seasoned salespeople and outbound marketers, the title of this paragraph is totally redundant (probably a resounding ‘duh’ is the main thought in your mind right now), however still a lot of marketers attempt to achieve the exact opposite of it.
In this paragraph, I’m going to list a few very important and irrefutable reasons why buyers need to speak to a human (salesperson) to close the deal.
- there is a lot of money at stake
- buying decisions impact other people in the company where this impact is stronger at higher ticket size products
- a lot of the contracts are long term so careful thought is given before the buyer commits
- products have become complicated and need to be explained
- buyers are second-guessing themselves all the time and often end up making wrong decisions when they have only considered the ‘online presence’ of the vendor and have not spoken to a real person
- and probably a dozen other reasons
In sum, trying to close the deal via outreach is a sub-par tactic in business to business context.
As I mentioned above in a slightly different way, starting a dialogue with an interested prospect is the best use of cold outreach. Your desired result should be somewhere between the stages of marketing qualified and sales qualified. Cold outreach intended results land somewhere between those levels of qualification.
The subject of message copy is so broad and deep that it can have an entire blog (post) dedicated to it. So I’ll tackle that topic on another day, the current post discusses message copy within the scope of getting the email delivered and opened WITHOUT creating a tricked or baited feeling in the recipient’s mind.
Since I wrote about the kind of placeholders you can use in the subject line in the static vs dynamic placeholders subject lines, it’s only fair that I do the same for message copy as well.
Static vs dynamic message copy
As I wrote about in the Subject Line section, we use if/else technology to personalize the message for the recipient. Using dynamic placeholders instead of static placeholders allows an increase in the customization with an order of magnitude (10 times).
Consider the following:
- first name
- last name
- company name
are all examples of static variables which replace the placeholder with the variable that it represents, e.g first name, becomes Karan, company name becomes hubsell, website becomes hubsell.com. It replaces itself with the variable it represents. If you add 10 static variables you change ~10 words in the message content, if you add 1 static variable you change ~1 word.
On the other hand, a dynamic variable allows you to change whole phrases or sentences based on ‘if-this-then-that’ logic. E.g. you use ‘department’ as the ‘if-this’ criteria you can automatically show a whole different sentence to people in department a and department b, c, d, e, f to z. Let’s say that you automatically replace a sentence for each department you’re changing ~10-15 words in the copy for every dynamic placeholder that you use.
~1 word to ~10 words replaced placeholder for static and dynamic placeholders respectively represents an increase customization ability of 10 times.
Why dynamic content performs better
Within the context of open rate topic, I argue that dynamic content outperforms static content and here’s why: it’s because dynamic content is perceived as manually written content compared to static content. Where static message x only differs 5% from static message y, dynamically written messages differ 90% from one message to another.
All other things being equal a more differentiated message receives a more favourable rating when it comes to email service providers.