How to generate your first customers

Your company may offer a great product, but how do you get the first customers to actually buy that product? Ultimately, the most effective solution may also be one of the most popular solutions: cold email outreach.

Email outreach is so effective because, first of all, there’s little cost in starting such a campaign. Using readily available solutions, it’s possible to generate new email campaigns quickly and easily, while simultaneously having access to important metrics about who’s opening your emails, and when.

To give you an idea of how many people use email to generate marketing leads, MailChimp – perhaps the best known email solution – says that its more than 10 million users send a combined total of 600 million emails every day.

Of course, there are some caveats here. Simply firing off a salvo of hastily composed email messages into the ether will likely result in few, if any, new customers. It’s the rare sales prospect who doesn’t already face an overflowing email inbox. Yet another e-mail that reads like a boring press release is unlikely to win over anyone.

But there’s a smart way of doing cold email outreach in the B2B space. First, you need to think about what actually is going to go into your email. Then, you’ll need to think about who you’re going to send that email to in order to optimize the open rate for your email campaign.

Building an email outreach message that sells very often consists of three primary components: having a catchy subject line, getting immediately to the point in the first sentence or two, and convincing the person opening the message that there’s already momentum around your product.

In the email, you want to make your product sound relevant, especially if you can tie it to a current business problem your potential client is facing. Better yet if you can tie that problem to a topic that’s currently being discussed in the broader news cycle. Look at all the examples of emails that you already have in your inbox and ask yourself: Why did I open that email in the first place?

Convincing the person opening the message that there’s already momentum around your product is hard, especially if you have a limited number of customers. That’s where you can borrow a page from the Black Ops book of marketing and find ways to convince your prospect that your industry is trending, you company is going viral, or your company’s leaders are generating buzz across the Internet.

Ultimately, cold email outreach is a numbers game. Even the best email campaigns can only expect an open rate of 50 percent. So, if you send 1,000 emails, you can only expect 500 people to actually open your email. And, of those 300, only a fraction of people will actually respond to your message.

But with a little A/B testing, you can quickly sort out what works – and what doesn’t. Sometimes what works might just surprise you.