Tony here! I wanted to share tools and process we used early on to help us test out cold outbound email at an affordable cost for CloudForecast (www.cloudforecast.io) early on. We're more sophisticated now with larger tests, but I wanted to share some early process and tools we used that helped us keep our testing cost low.
To Find People/Companies:
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator - We use this to find our personas and people ~ $89. Sales Navigator is worth every penny. They do give out free subscriptions, so look out for that. I am pretty sure I had almost 4-5 month worth of free access at different times.
-LinkedIn - We use job search to find companies that fit our criteria.
- Phantom Buster (www.phantombuster.com) - We use various recipes of theirs to scrape search results from the two above. You get 10 minutes free. If you are smart about it and plan it our correctly, you can get what you need.
To Find Emails - After we got the info from above through PhantomBuster, you can use the following tools to find emails to match back. This should get you roughly ~120 leads per month for free. There are probably more, but these three are my favorite so far.
To send cold emails:
- MixMax (www.mixmax.com) - MixMax is a good place to start if you are just getting started. $29/month for their lowest plan is a small initial investment.
- Apollo.io - I am digging apollo so far since it has everything all in one place.
- WebFlow (www.webflow.com) - WebFlow is great if you need something more sophis
- MailChimp or ConvertKit - Both have free plans to build drip campaigns for sign ups and customers.
- Loom - I use this to send quick personalized welcome videos for all our sign ups. Nothing like putting my ugly mug for the world to see.
- Slack - We use Slack in a lot of different ways. I created a few recipes to bring some notification into Slack using IFTTT and Zapier from some of the tools mentioned above. We get notifications in Slack for the following to react quickly ti engagement with our app: Sign Ups, Successful Sign ups, application errors, successful/unsuccessful charges in stripe. My co-founder have built other internal/admin tools to trouble shoot misc things.
If you follow and use everything above, all-in investment will be around $120 with majority of the cost being LinkedIn Sales Navigator. You'll get ~120 emails for your startup a month and even more if you leverage additional email finding tools. Also, don't hesitate to ask companies to extend free-trials if you need more time with the product.
I hope this is a helpful and practical start for people looking to test outbound cold outreach. There are definitely a lot of different approaches and tools. Sharing what worked for us and the tools we used early on.
What are some of your favorite outbound outreach tools to find prospects and emails? How does your process look?
ADDING BONUS TIP FROM @matas (https://www.indiehackers.com/matas). This can also be found in the comments:
Wanted to add one essential thing that sometimes gets overlooked but can completely shut down ALL of your efforts:
- If you're sending email, NEVER do cold outreach from your main domain, always set up a new one (instead of main.com --> register main.io or similar)
- Save yourself a ton of headaches and MONTHS of lost prep time, and after you register a new domain, run the inbox through a tool like https://www.mailwarm.com
- If you want an extremely light-weight and cheap solution for sending, I can't recommend https://yet-another-mail-merge.com enough. You'll need to ditch it for something else as you scale, but just to start it's incredibly powerful and flexible.
- This should go without saying, but don't send spammy emails. Research the hell out of the ideal customer type you want to reach out to, build a consistent "persona" of these people you want to target, and then reach out only to those types of people. With cold out reach: quality > quantity in 99% of scenarios.