Clients frequently call me almost giddy with anticipation. They have gotten a list of prospects contact info either from a tradeshow attendee list or association membership list and they are anxious to rake in all the money just out there waiting for them. I share their excitement that a qualified customer list with current contact info is a valuable marketing tool but the list alone is only the starting point. By crafting an informative and action oriented message companies can leverage their list into a true sale opportunity.
Establish the Connection
Your opening sentence should contain some clue for the reader on why they are getting a message from you. Be sure to reference the trade show or association that generated the list. This lets the prospect know this isn’t a mass marketing effort but a connection being made because of an organization or group they associate with. This will give you credibility that it isn’t spam. An example would be something like:
“We at ABC Company are pleased to be sponsors of the XYZ association annual conference” or “We know you are busy having just gotten back from the XYZ association event in Chicago”
Give Before You Get
A great ice breaker for any business cold contact is to provide a link to useable data the prospect can use. I recommend to clients that third party data, a news story or analyst report are preferable. Once you have a relationship then it is appropriate to link to your own white paper or case study but as an initial contact it comes across a bit pushy if your goal is to build a relationship.
Once you have the content create an appealing introductory paragraph summarizing why you think your prospect needs this information for their business. Most business leaders crave salient information regarding their industry / occupation but very view have the time to actively go look for it themselves. Next put it on a webpage you can track. Even if it is just a sly redirector to the contents original location you want to know what your click through penetration was. You should absolutely also have a service such as Open Tracker that gives you the IP Address, Company and Location for your traffic on that redirector page.
Have a Campaign Specific Landing Page
After you have provided the external content that is valuable and salient, it is the time to turn this cold connection warm. Give them a campaign specific link to your website that allows them to sign up future industry / association / occupation specific topics you think they will enjoy. This will be your signal that future correspondence containing more marketing specific pieces such as your white papers or case studies are welcome.
Some will ask why I didn’t put the registration before providing the content. If you goal is building a credible relationship with prospect and I hope it is then your goal should be broader than simply “capturing” their interest. You already have their contact information so the gain by forcing registration is pretty minimal and erodes credibility.
Analyze the Results
One week after you send your blast sit down and examine your numbers. How many people clicked on your content link? In my experience 20% is a good number. If you got less than 20% then what types of companies or geographies were most interested? If you got more than 20% pat yourself on the back for finding a great piece of content and generating some buzz.
How many people signed up on your campaign specific landing page for future updates? 5-7% is a good number here. 1-2% isn’t bad for a first effort. These things take time and practice. Keep mining as those who didn’t register the first time might when they become more familiar with your company.