10 powerful ways to reach out to customers through email at zero cost

Growth hack – use minimum marketing and sales resources to get customers — is a popular strategy now. LinkedIn used it effectively after its launch to get customers. They simply got on to your contact list on your Gmail or Yahoo! If you are a LinkedIn user, you simply sent out invites for people on your contact list to join LinkedIn. It worked fantastically well and their user numbers zoomed.

Airbnb listed available spaces for stay by scrapping Craiglist and it worked as it got them customers. Ashwin Ramasamy, founder of ContractIQ, ideated on several methods and found 10 ways to reach out to potential customers, even if they are CXOs of leading corporations. If you want validtion, here are a few examples. They got to talk to Daniel Debow, Senior Vice President of Salesforce.com, connected with Brad Feld, founder of Foundry Capital to get contacts of potential customers, and got David Cohen from Techstars, the startup accelerator in the United States, to introduce ContractIQ to companies in the accelerator. They facilitated a deal for a leading global internet company in finding a vendor in India for the service they were looking for. The response rates through this outreach hack rose from the usual 3% to over 10%. What more validation do you need?

email marketing tips

Image Credits: emsincorporated.com

So, here are the 10 effective ways for email marketing the ContractIQ way. Disclaimers apply though. It works well if you are selling to businesses, you’re a startup, and you have no money for outreach.

Let’s go in the reverse order.

10. Take the “cold” out of email. Start the email with something like “We have a common friend in John Doc.” This is not a false message as you could have John Doc connected on LinkedIn. Do some research to understand the contact, who he or she is, and what’s his or her position in the company. Make it personal and address the contact directly. Using Google, you can send 1000 personalized emails even if you are using Mail Merge (though not all in a single day). Make use of it.

9. Lame is better than impersonal. Tell the contact where you found him or her. Tell them you used a best guess email id or you found him or her on LinkedIn. This makes the contact secure and he or she wouldn’t spend time guessing, “How the hell did he get my email id?”

8.  Everything works at scale. If your outreach is for 500 potential target, for example, it works well. As said already, you can use Mail Merge to send 500 mails in a day. Think about techniques like machine learning to scale information collection (about leads) from websites.

7. Don’t try to find email ids. Be efficient. You would be surprised to know that firstname@company.com works 80% of the times. If it doesn’t work, there are other combinations you can try as well: firstname.surname@company.comsurname@company.com, etc. A note of caution though. Rapportive-like tools don’t work though for businesses in the Middle East or sometimes in India.

6. Don’t sell. But get bought in instead. Don’t write straightway asking for partnership. Anecdotally, every global corporation’s CXO gets three emails a day from Indian companies asking for partnership. Instead, write a blog about the contact, do an interview with the contact, make an intro, or strike a conversation. They shall buy one day.

5. Your message has four parts to it. Refer, Introduce, Hook, Ask. Each of this is a sentence. Finish your email in four sentences (short ones please). Avoid the words “partner”, “collaborate”, “value add”, “We at”, “fruitful relationship”. Response rates are several times higher.

4. Subject line. It’s counterintuitive. The terms like “Your company name – requesting a meeting” won’t work. Try something like “Brief call…this week?” “I’m in Chicago. Can we meet?” It works for now.

3. People need answers. Answer them. Quora is the place to answer questions. The questions you ask and answer can become new keywords. “What do you think of XXX who claim to do…” “What is the best way…” Some people need questions and answers. Set up a keyword alert relevant to your industry on Quora. Participate in relevant discussions. Plug your promo at the end unobtrusively. It acts as an extended FAQ page and generates qualified customer leads.

2. People need insights. Curate content. Curation gives a great opportunity to stay on top of trends or people. It’s impossible to write or blog great content every day. Instead, provide a curated content that people would die to get. Just put together interesting information for people to take note of.

1. People like to be on stage. Give your contact an audience. Interview them, feature them on your blog, or do a video on them. Elusive targets come wanting for more when you give them visibility. Perhaps your emails to them could be about such transactions than “selling” or “partnering”.

Are you a startup? Try these and see how successful you are in your outreach. If you need more explanation on any tip, use the link to this story on YourStory FB page to pose your queries as it would help others too.

Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy

Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy

Chief Evangelist of YourStory.com and Founder of VirtualPaper. Editor-turned-author. Believes entrepreneurship is a slightly convoluted state of mind daring to dream the impossible. While not editing books, finds joy in talking [to people], writing, and thinking about what makes entrepreneurs what they are. Has a special attraction towards product tech