Guest post by Mark Williams
The debate between email personalization and volume continues. There are those who live and die by the predictable-revenue method and those who would never send a mass email. And there are people like me who think you can have both.
The BIG issue I used to run into every time I wrote a customized email was what happens AFTER I send the email. Where do I remind myself to follow up? How long should I wait to follow up? Should I send another customized email next week? When should I call? How many times do I follow up before I move on? You, too?
My 3 must-haves for scaling production of personalized emails:
1) A pre-determined, organized process of what happens next. This will keep you disciplined, making you follow up/call the prospect at least X amount of times. I tried using various tools to do this, then finally gave up and ended up in Excel (before Outreach, of course). The more systematic and data-driven you can be here is HUGE, and if you don’t have the tools to optimize this for you, I recommend making the investment.
2) An easy way to test your results. Come up with four or five templates that have different bodies and calls to action. It not only helps increase efficiency, but also with determining which messaging most resonates. This way, I'm usually only customizing the subject line and, at most, the first two lines of an email. Everything else is templated. Why write out your value prop and “when can I get 15 minutes on your calendar?” 9 million times? Also, track opens, clicks and replies, not just for your first email, but for every individual email in your series of touchpoints and the series as a whole. Note: just tracking data by template isn’t helpful...it’s awesome to see results in aggregate of multiple emails in a series or sequence. This data will be huge once you get a reasonable amount of prospects through your series. "A reasonable amount" varies by the number of touchpoints and content, but I'd say at least 75 prospects, ideally more.
Keep a folder of emails that have scored you meetings and share them with your team. The better the company does, the more word gets out - the better you do ($$.
3) A consistent, intelligent follow-up platform. Follow up is the hardest part. Whether you're using reminders, Excel or some other tool, following up is a straight annoyance. The worst part is, a lot of us are using basic follow-up verbiage for each email we send, something along these lines...“Hi (First Name), did you get my last email…” or "I know you're busy. Just checking back on this last note."
Here are my two issues with follow up:
1) I know I have to do it because the reply rates are around 10 to 15%
2) It's a chore, much like cleaning a toilet or mowing the lawn (personally, I’d rather mow a lawn).
So, find a platform that handles all of your follow up after your initial personalized email.
The mechanical and repetitive nature of following up drains you of creativity. Take that out of your equation because an intelligent system can handle it. That way, you can focus on research, strategy and personalizing those initial touches that require YOUR intelligence, skill set and expertise.
I think you can have BOTH personalization and volume. It takes a little set up, then all you do is make adjustments, and interject your next brilliant strategy to begin testing. Let me know your tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.