In the quest to grow your business, one key question comes up time and again: how do we get new customers? This is the case no matter the industry, the target market, nor how long you’ve been doing this.
To grow, you need new customers.
For most companies, this involves building a list of prospects, reaching out, and carefully nurturing them through to the final purchase. And then of course you need a good onboarding flow and world-class customer support.
In this post, we’re going to focus on that first interaction. How to take a list of prospects and get them interested in what you have to offer. These are people you’ve likely never talked to before, who’ve never heard of your business.
You need a good way to engage these cold contacts.
And as email inboxes become more and more flooded, with tighter spam filters, relying strictly on email is now less effective. You need more than one touchpoint.
Here’s how you can use email and retargeting ads hand-in-hand, to engage your prospect list and start nurturing them.
5 steps to engage leads with emails and link retargeting
1. Create a targeted list of emails
You can’t reach out to prospects without a list of email addresses. We’re going to assume that you’ve already got yours, since how to build an email list would require a lot more than one blog post.
But, just briefly, here are a few common ways of creating your first email list:
- Gated content. Make something useful and interesting that prospects can download in exchange for their contact details. This isn’t quick, but your list will keep growing as long as people can find your content.
- Social media ads. These are relatively simple and highly effective. Think up the perfect offer, then throw a few dollars behind it and collect users’ details from social. Precise targeting will make this list match exactly the kinds of prospects you’re after.
- Buy one. There are companies who’ll sell list of (allegedly) targeted prospects. This is a very common way for outbound sales teams to find leads. Just make sure that your provider is legitimate.
Once you have enough email addresses to begin with, there are a few more important steps to take:
- Clean up your list. Make sure that the information is accurate and can be used to automate email campaigns. That means your cells need to have the same format and set of rules.
- Enrich the list. Do you know everything you need to know? Is there vital information missing? Tools like Clearbit help you fill in the blanks. Or if you have time, a little bit of LinkedIn sleuthing may be all it takes.
- Identify your target(s). Probably not every name on your list is right for the first campaign. What kinds of buyers do you want to look for first? What do they have in common, and can you automate emails based on these fields?
Once all of that is squared away, you’re ready to begin your campaign. So, time to send some emails, right?
Not so fast. There’s a better starting point.
2. Use Facebook retargeting to warm up your list
Completely cold emails are always a risky place to start. If they’re automated, prospects can simply unsubscribe. And even personalized, one-to-one emails can turn prospects off.
Instead, why not let the user take the first step, based on a friendly social media suggestion?
The goal here is to make them aware of your business, without turning them off by pushing.
So instead of sending a hot promotion or details about your incredible product, try sending an article or whitepaper to pique their interest:
Demonstrate your company’s expertise in a particular topic. Then later, when you reach out by email to show off your products, they recognize the name.
Here’s how your campaign should work:
- Choose an article or ebook that appeals most to your target buyer
- Create a custom Facebook audience using the top prospects from your carefully crafted list
- Launch this campaign two weeks before you intend to start sending emails
Creating your custom audience is fairly simple:
1. Make sure you have a Facebook Ads Manager account
Even if you’re an administrator of the company Facebook page, you may not have this. So you’ll need to get set up.
2. Head to Ads Manager and click “Create Audience”
Choose a custom audience, and you’ll be asked how you want to set this up.
Since you have your list, you should just be able to upload a Customer File:
If Facebook can match the people on your list with Facebook users, then creating your audience is simple.
If you’re not happy with your list, or want to add more people to it, you could also target website visitors (Website Traffic). You’ll have to add the Facebook Pixel to your website, but this isn’t tricky.
3. Check that your list uploaded correctly
There’s not too much more to do, but you want to make sure that Facebook understood your list correctly.
Once you’re done, you’ll have a nice, targeted list to run your Facebook Ads with:
Send your best content out and try to engage them. And remember, good social ads require testing! Try a few different headlines, change up the copy, and figure out what people on your list are really interested in.
3. Create a good email campaign
Next up, it’s time to start emailing.
Hopefully at least some of your prospects took notice of the Facebook campaign. If so, you’ll know what they’ve already seen and will be able to craft a more helpful first email.
Something that picks up where the last piece of content left off, and introduces your main value proposition.
For everyone else, you’re going to have to email them cold. Which means somehow encouraging them to open, then delivering value while also introducing your services. Of course, this is easier said than done.
Here are a few keys to a great cold email:
- A clear and catchy subject line. This is vital, and it’s also hard to predict what’s going to work. Just like with your ad headlines, you’ll have to test.
- Accurate user information. If you’re going to personalize your cold emails, make sure you have the right information. If you diligently cleaned up your list, this should already be done.
- Forget the long introduction. They don’t know you and they (probably) don’t care. So get straight to the point.
- Focus the email on them. What can your company do for them? Again, if they want to learn more about you they’ll use Google or reply. So how can you catch their interest?
- Include a call to action. This doesn’t have to be a beautiful button, but you should tell them what you’d like them to do next. Otherwise, even if they’re interested, they may never actually take the first step.
There are endless guides to writing cold emails. So before you send your first one, it’s definitely worth doing some reading.
Do a little research, make sure you’re happy with your messaging, and start sending!
4. Finally, retarget people who visited your target pages
We touched on this briefly above. Facebook (and several other platforms) lets you retarget users based on the pages they’ve viewed.
You’re sure to have high-value pages on your website and blog that suggest a user might be thinking about buying. Typically, these include:
- Your pricing page
- Specific product pages (and not just the home page)
- Pages built precisely for decision makers (“How CEOs use our tools”)
- Blog posts about key features
Use the Facebook Pixel to build a custom audience around these site viewers. In fact, you may want to build a handful (or dozens) of audiences, with specific messaging for each.
For instance, we have a few pages that help Amazon users retarget their prospects. So we can build a custom audience of people who’ve visited these pages.
Then we can retarget these users to remind them why they might want to use Pixelme.
When you couple this kind of retargeting with a solid email campaign, you give yourself the best possible chance of converting prospects to paying customers.
5. Don’t forget to track all your campaigns with UTMs
This final step could have been the first. Good UTM use is crucial to pretty much every step of this post.
We’ll explain why in a moment. But first…
What is a UTM?
We’ll do this quickly, because there’s lots of good information out there. UTM tags are added to the end of a regular URL to help you see where the traffic came from.
For example, if you’re running Facebook ads for a custom audience, you want to know whether those audience members arrived at your site from a specific ad. So you add a “source” tag to your URL for Facebook, and perhaps a “medium” tag that says “ads.”
Then Google Analytics (or your tracking tool of choice) will show you every time someone uses this link to arrive at your site. It’s that simple.
If you want to give this a try, here’s an excellent UTM builder that walks you through it step by step.
Why are UTMs important?
The key to both smart retargeting and good email campaigns is information. You don’t know what works until you test it. And then you need to be ready to iterate and improve as you go.
As part of this, knowing where traffic comes from is very important. Are people clicking the right links in your emails? Are you ads driving the traffic they should be?
UTMs make knowing this possible. Google Analytics gives a lot of information, but too often there’s data missing and blank fields. With UTM tracking, this won’t be an issue.
Get into the habit of UTMs on every campaign, and you’ll make sure you know where your traffic comes from, and how your outreach campaign performs.
Build a cross-channel outreach approach
As we said right at the top, email inboxes are filling up faster than ever. You could have the best prospect list imaginable, but if you rely only on email to reach these users, chances are you’ll never make a dent.
Instead, reach out on different mediums with a consistent message. We’ve focused on email and retargeting, but this can easily plenty of other methods, including good old fashioned phone calls.
Just make sure to understand what makes your products different and useful to new prospects, and focus on how you’ll make their lives easier. It’s all about the benefits, not the features.
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