April 16, 2019

Success with cold outreach?

Wondering if anyone can share their experience with selling via cold outreach using email or LinkedIn or something similar.

Have people found this to be a successful channel? What tips do you have for cold email?

I have been focusing on cold outreach to recruit beta users for my app. We've gotten a little bit of response via this channel, but its definitely been a low response rate. However this seems to be the norm with cold email (I just read a blog post suggesting average response rate for link-building emails is 8%).

I guess I'm really trying to figure out is how to know if this channel is "working" and should be scaled up vs. whether to abandon it to focus on other channels.

  1. 6

    I have done a ton of cold outreach for my two businesses:

    • A online letting agency. The cold outreach was actually cold-calling landlords and asking them to list on my website. I would then take pictures of their houses. I built a 250k/year business that way.

    • My current business, ManyPixels, mostly recruiting companies that are looking for graphic design work.

    What I have learned:

    • The most important is that you need to solve a need that the customer has. People do not always realise they have a need, you just craft a good communication on what the problem is, how you solve it for them, and then you show that. Think about creating custom landing pages for various customers explaining problem (80% of the page), solution (20% of the page).

    • It must be a no brainer for people to buy / use your product.

    • Cold outreach take time so bet on potential customers that have the highest chance of buying. Ask yourself questions such as:

    • Are they already using other products / other SaaS?

    • Do they have revenue?

    • Have they expressed publicly?

    What I like to do is careful outreach. Yes I won't be sending as many emails, but they'll be high quality, convert into good conversations / calls, and likely will be customers that will stick around.

    I've found also that customers I recruit manually are great customers. Note that this doesn't work if you have low LTV (example if a customer only pays you $10/month it might not be worth it to do calls etc. Our customers pay us $300-$2000/month).

    This was a big brain dump but hopefully this was useful!

  2. 4

    I'm also working on improving my cold outreach and recently received some great advice on IH. Here's a link to @lynnetye's suggestions that I've found to be really helpful. She was on episode 86 of the IH podcast.

    https://www.indiehackers.com/cara/post/ac13c20e4a?commentId=-LbyVh73b_4uOA-z3KYW

    1. 1

      This is awesome, thanks for sharing.

  3. 3

    I've had success with cold outreaches. Successful cold outreaches require a good amount of research on your part to figure out what their "pain point" is. So with that in mind cold, outreaches can be really labor intensive.

    That being said, if you have the time and resources, I think cold outreaches can be a good way to tighten up your pitch and further figure out if there is a suitable market fit for the product that you are selling.

    PS: I had a lot of success with LinkedIn last year with cold outreaches, but I think that was due to the fact that I was posting content about twice a week on LinkedIn.

  4. 2

    linkdin is the place to be in 2019 for this type of thing. The key is volume, and ofcourse finding the right target market and having a good message for that target, as the others here suggested. but again volume is what matters most. dont judge ur results on sending just a few outreaches. U wont know for sure until u have sent a few hundred. only then will u have validation if your idea is good or not. I have found a way to send a couple of hundred direct invites to a "connection" a day using linkdin. send me a message for details

    1. 1

      Thanks, this is pretty helpful. I'm curious to learn more about your strategy for connecting at scale on LinkedIn - ill drop you a line.

  5. 2

    I'm currently trying to validate ideas and reaching out to people via email but with very low response rate. I even offer to pay them.

    My guess is my emails are going to junk folders. I'm going to try much shorter versions. Right now I am being very straight forward with them and trying to be as authentic as possible - asking for help, offering to pay just to talk to them.

  6. 2

    Same. Everything seems to have a fairly low response rate -- I think the world is pretty noisy. At least for us, email seems to be better than LinkedIn, but I think that's because for us all the folks on LI are the ones selling, not the ones buying (they just look up occasionally to check their email!).