866,000.

That's the number of search results for cold outreach templates on Google. If you are about to search for another cold outreach template to tweak. Stop it now!

It doesn't work, not anymore.

Years ago, you would have gotten away with copying and pasting templates, but it's different now.

Did you check your inbox today? 

How many emails did you get? How many caught your attention, how many did you read, and how many did you reply?

Not many, I guess. 

Your prospects are going through the same thing, too - even worse because you are one of the thousand people cold emailing them asking for something. Tragic.

What can I do to get my prospects interested in my emails, you ask?

Personalize.

No, not what you're thinking.

When I mean personalize, I don't mean looking for your prospects' first names and stalking them on their social platforms to find common ground. 

That kind of personalization (scam) doesn’t work anymore. 

As I established earlier, your prospects get thousands of emails from businesses like yours, and the email probably comes in this format:

Hello (FIRST NAME),

I'm a huge fan of your business (BUSINESS NAME). 

(Establish common ground).

(Talk about the prospect's problem and provide your solution)

(CTA)

Seems familiar?

Wait until you see the email in real life. Here’s an email I got from a random person trying to sell me SEO services.

We've all seen an email like this before. The "self-acclaimed" gurus call it short and sweet. 

More like short and sh*t 😩

First things first, this email isn't sincere. I know he isn't a huge fan of Penpalms because I get tons of people telling me they are huge fans, but not a single engagement from them. Big fans, indeed.

I also know he went straight to my website, looked for the first or second blog post, and skimmed through it to find common ground. 

To top it all, the information he gave about my website is something anyone could have accessed. So nothing made him stand out, not even the information about my site’s SEO.

Now, I'm not saying this type of outreach doesn't work. It does, if you're ready to settle for about 3% open rate and 2% response rate, with most of the responses saying, "stop spamming me."

If you are willing to settle for that, then do you, champ.

If not, let's keep going. 

So what kind of personalization do you mean, you ask?

Excellent question.

Find out below...

How to personalize the right way

Let me ask you a quick question.

How do you personalize if you don't know who you're talking to?

Remember that email I showed you? I bet if you asked him who he was targeting with his cold outreach. He'd say something like "digital marketing agencies with SEO problems." 

Almost all digital marketing agencies are still trying to figure out SEO.

Is he going to send emails to every digital marketing agency? I guess he might, but you shouldn't.

To personalize correctly, you need a buyer persona.

Hubspot defined buyer personas as:

Semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research. They help you focus your time on qualified prospects, guide product development to suit the needs of your target customers, and align all work across your organization (from marketing to sales to service).

In other words, buyer personas help you understand your target audience better. This makes it easier for you to tailor your messaging and services to meet the specific needs of your target audience. 

How do you develop a buyer persona?

Good question!

The best way to develop a buyer persona is to look at your current customers.

What made them use your service? What problems did you help them solve? How have their lives improved since they started using your service? What kind of message appeals to them?

The next step is to talk to your customers directly.

You can only create an accurate buyer persona by understanding your target audience, not assuming you understand them. 

Instead of thinking you know your customers’ problems, why not hear it straight from the horse’s mouth?

Create a list of 5-10 of your customers and ask for an interview to know more about their problems and how your services have helped them.

Here’s a template you can use:

How are you doing today?

I am (Name), and I am the (Position) at (Company Name).

I am reaching out because we are conducting customer research to make (product name) better for you. 

Would you be willing to speak with me for 20 minutes over the phone and tell me a bit more about why you chose our product and how it has helped your business so far? If so, you can click here (add calendar link) to select a time that works best for you, or you can reply to this email, and we can come up with something together.

Thank you for your time (customer name). I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards, 
(Your Name)

But what if you don’t have customers, what do you do?

Research.

Collect a list of your prospects and analyze them. Find out what they do, where they live, what kind of company they run, the number of employees they have, their average annual revenue, and the industry they are in.

The next step is to use your research or answers from the customer interview to identify patterns and commonalities, to develop a buyer persona.

You can create your buyer persona from scratch or with the help of a tool like Buyer Persona Generator.

I recommend using a tool because it makes the process faster and easier. 

Once you are done with your buyer personas, you can start your cold outreach campaign.  

Now, instead of you stalking your prospects on social media to find common ground, you already have common ground. 

You know their problems and how best to solve them. 

No one would ignore a message showing them their problems and how they can solve them.

Conclusion: Get Started With Personalized Cold Outreach

We've come to the end of this article.

As I established earlier, the secret sauce of an effective cold outreach is personalization.

But most people do it wrongly. 

Thankfully, I gave the most effective strategy on how to personalize correctly. If you incorporate the strategy I shared, you will get people to actually read and respond to your emails.

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