Episode: 534 |
Joe Pope:
From Cold Outreach to Warm Leads: What Works in the Professional Services:


Joe Pope

From Cold Outreach to Warm Leads: What Works in the Professional Services

Show Notes

In this discussion, Joe Pope, the Partner and Director of Business Development at Hinge Marketing, discusses cold outreach. He explains that it is crucial to understand the key issues, topics, and channels that target audiences in order to effectively engage with them. The old method of folding dialing and outsourcing has developed a reputation for not seeing ROI or benefit from the time spent on it. Joe suggests that when developing an approach to cold outreach, it is essential to focus on understanding social media cadence, marketing strategies, the target audience’s industries, key issues, and subject matter expertise. This will help avoid falling victim to the sea of sameness and ensure that the message is tailored to the specific needs of the target audience. 


Expanding the Circle of Clients

Joe offers an example of an independent consultant who wants to expand their circle of clients. They have 15 years of experience in strategic sourcing and procurement. They may have already reached out to past clients and people they know but now want to expand their circle. Joe suggests making sure they know the title of the contact and ask questions around directly relatable topics and issues.  Linkedin should be used for commenting and sharing on posts or connection requests. Connection requests should only be used if you can offer valuable services, but InMail messages tend to be a waste of time. Joe explains the type of messages and messaging that work and what doesn’t work, including to avoid spam, use a slightly warm connection in your connection request, such as mentioning a secondary or third connection. If you’re cold, make a reason why you’re reaching out, such as having a secondary connection in common or being in an industry that you just created a presentation for or something of value. Joe discusses reaching out to people to work together on content creation on email rather than InMail, but you should identify the value to them. It’s also a good tactic to use connections from your college or business school, former colleagues, or other relevant sources to move the needle closer to potential clients, and likewise, following the same topic feeds as potential clients and commenting on posts they read. Joe discusses the importance of subject lines and email length in cold outreach, highlighting that they can lead to positive ROI. Subject headlines should be short, around six to eight words, and tied to a resonating topic such as events. This approach has been successful in generating responses and open rates. Short, personalized subject lines should avoid using emojis, as they may not resonate with the intended audience. Event-related subject lines can be used to reference specific services or resources that resonate with the target audience. For instance, a firm could send a targeted list of people in industries that resonate with database decisions or artificial intelligence. By referencing the company’s name, the message is personalized and relevant to the recipient. For resource-based subject lines, it is important to focus on the topic and the information being conveyed. Joe does not recommend offering a guide in the subject line, but he does mention the importance of referencing something in the first outreach email to get conversations going and provide value propositions. He offers suggestions on how to encourage engagement depending on where the client is on the funnel.


Email Content Sharing Tips

Joe emphasizes that cold outreach emails are not the most effective for top of the funnel and/or sharing content because they make people take more steps than just communicating or responding to you. Instead, he suggests using targeted text messages with a focus on a specific topic or deliverable. He recommends setting up an intro call to discuss how they can help with the issue. He suggests using a set list of available times and blocking them in their calendar for the outreach process. Instead, the best use of content distribution is to spend  that time and effort on areas with larger visibility range, such as getting the guide referenced in editorials or guest publishing. 


Best Time to Send Outreach Email

Joe identifies the optimal wait time between emails, which is typically three to four days. The optimal time for sending emails is usually in the mid mornings, as it allows for better open rates for consistent content like research studies or webinars. The best time of day for sending emails is 9:30 a.m. or 10:00 a.m., as it allows for better eye screening and engagement. He touches on the importance of testing different email formats and timings to ensure they don’t blend in with other emails. The second follow-up email, which should be a reply to the first one, has been found to have a better open rate. He also touches on the use of calendar links in emails, which can be overbearing and may hinder connection with recipients. He also talks about using a separate email domain to counter being marked as spam. 


Email Response Rate Metrics and Tracking

Joe discusses the process of obtaining contact information for larger domains through data vendors like Zoom, Apollo, or Lucia. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the target audience and building profiles to ensure qualified responses. Meanings for response rates are important, as they vary based on the campaign and industry. Joe offers examples of open-rates and response rates from email campaigns. The number of meetings can be estimated by tracking the number of replies and meetings received. A good benchmark is 200 emails for one meeting. However, it’s important to note that the number of meetings may vary across different campaigns. 


Email Tracking and Follow-up Processes 

Joe moves on to tracking and follow-up processes. If an email is opened but not responded to, it’s important to follow up with the person. If they respond, they must provide a conditional or positive response. He offers examples of the best approach to engaging the reader. This data can be used for retargeting later down the road, such as using Google Ads systems or LinkedIn to target them with advertising. By tracking and following up with potential recipients, businesses can improve their outreach efforts and maintain a strong reputation in the industry. Joe discusses the importance of a campaign approach in email marketing. They emphasize that the campaign should be ongoing, with the same profile being targeted on a monthly basis. This approach allows for the development of new campaigns and topics that resonate with the target audience. He discusses the concept of re-engagement campaigns, which are designed to target specific clients who may not have responded to their initial email. He explains that these campaigns are not obsessive, but rather focus on specific services or needs that clients may not have initially.

In conclusion, Joe emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive strategy in email marketing, emphasizing the importance of trust, reputation, and visibility in the decision-making process.



  • 04:48 How to reach out to a niche market
  • 12:28 How to reach out to influencers
  • 17:49 How to use subject lines in your email
  • 26:01 How to reach out to your audience
  • 34:26 Should you send a follow up email
  • 38:49 Metrics and response rates
  • 44:33 Reaching out to potential clients


Website: https://hingemarketing.com/


LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/popejf/



One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:


  1. Joe Pope


Will Bachman, Joe Pope


Will Bachman  00:01

Hello, and welcome to Unleashed. I’m your host will Bachman, you can find the transcript for this episode in the show notes at umbrex.com/unleashed, where you can also sign up and get notified of every episode that we published. I’m here today with Joe Pope, who is the partner and the Director of Business Development at hinge hinge works with professional services firm on their marketing and business development. Joe, welcome to the show.


Joe Pope  00:31

Well, thanks for having me.


Will Bachman  00:32

So, Joe, I know that you have done some work on cold outreach with your clients and obviously do a lot of other stuff in business development. But that’s one area that I wanted to explore a bit cold outreach is something that a lot of boutique consulting firms independent consultants kind of struggle with shy away from perhaps, and you know, interested to get your your thoughts tell us about how do you talk to your clients about the right way to do cold outreach?


Joe Pope  01:03

That’s a really interesting question. And there’s there’s good reason why people shy away from it. Honestly, the the old method of just fold dialing and SDRs right out of school just sending out call after call, it’s developed a reputation certainly. And while there is a great value in it, if it’s not done correctly, you’re not going to see ROI, you’re not going to see the benefit of the amount of time in it. If you’re outsourcing it, you’re not going to see a return on the amount of money you’re spending on those third parties. And so what is super important about any sort of outreach is that it is done as part of an overall strategy. It’s part of your overall strategy, your overall business development strategy. And that plays into things like your marketing activities, your social media, Cadence, everything that goes into that. And that’s part of the reason why a lot of organizations, even if they are doing it, they’re not seeing success with it.


Will Bachman  02:03

Okay, so talk me through what works, you’ve probably tried a bunch of things and seen a lot of clients try different things. So, so give us the secret sauce?


Joe Pope  02:13

Sure, yeah. Well, I think like I kind of hinted that there, it really does come down to strategy. And just like any sort of activity that you’re doing, whether it be an inbound content creation, webinar, whatever it may be, if it’s not specifically targeted to the types of clients, you want more of your target audiences, then you’re not going to find success. So you know, if you’re familiar with him, she’ll know that we do quite a large amount of research into the professional services space we do for our clients, we do it by ourselves. But that research is done for a purpose. And it is to connect those dots to make that connection, that gap between saying something and actually it resonating to shorten it. So that’s really where we suggest folks start when they are developing an approach to doing cold outreach. If you’re not looking at and understanding the key issues, and the topics and the channels that your target audiences in, then you’re spending your time and your effort in the wrong places. We’ve done like I mentioned a lot of research in this space for consulting organizations, we’ve asked a lot of questions around what is it that resonates most with the type of organization that you choose to work with? The number one factor and it is far and away is that they understand and have a knowledge of the industries that they’re in, and they’re subject matter expertise is directly related to the issues that they face? So any sort of outreach that you do in whether it’s content creation, or if it’s you’re sending LinkedIn messages, sending emails, if you’re not mentioning those types of points upfront, and you’re trying to lead with something else, like, Oh, I’ll be your trusted adviser. Don’t do that. By the way. That’s a terrible idea. If you’re not using that kind of message, you’re you’re very likely to fall victim of the sea of sameness. Because I mean, well, I’m sure you get plenty of these messages in your LinkedIn, LinkedIn mailbox. Every day I was actually have mine open right now, I have five direct outreach emails, basically all from a very similar type of person, I’m not going to read a single one of them. They’re not targeted to me, they’re obviously mass and, you know, or they’re wanting me to own a franchise for some reason. But that is just not going to resonate in today’s marketplace. We get too many messages. It’s just it’s not something that’s going to help. So that that key element up front, understanding those issues, understanding the topics, and making sure that you’re leveraging the channels that your audiences are in, if you’re not basing any approach or strategy on that you’re in the wrong area.


Will Bachman  04:48

Okay, so let’s, let’s kind of try to get specific let’s let’s come down from 50,000 feet to 500 feet above ground. Let’s let’s come up with an example. So let’s let’s You know, a lot of my audience here is independent consultants, or people who are running boutique firms with the handful of, of members. So let’s say, a consultant just to pick something, let’s say the person does strategic sourcing and procurement. And they typically work on, you know, they’ve probably 15 years of experience doing procurement, strategic sourcing, they’ve done a lot different categories. But maybe it centers around direct spend categories for industrial type manufacturing clients. All right. And let’s say that, I mean, so they’re an independent consultants, so they’re not doing a ton of marketing or webinars, you know, they, they may be, they may be posting, you know, periodically, some thoughts about procurement on LinkedIn, but they don’t have this massive social media, you know, engine behind them. And they’ve already reached out to all of the past clients that they’ve served and people that they know. And so now they’re saying, Okay, how do I do now? How do I expand the circle? Right? So what would your thoughts be about for that person on how to do cold outreach? So, you know, we’ve done other episodes where we talk about how to reach out to your cool clients, someone that you worked with 10 years ago, or five years ago, try to reestablish that. But let’s say this person says, Okay, I can come up with a list of, you know, chief procurement officers at manufacturing companies, or SVP of strategic sourcing, I can come up with that list. And I can get their contact info, maybe I use Apollo or Lucia or a hunter or whatever, something or you know, maybe zoom info or something, right. So I get the contact info, I have their LinkedIn URL, I have identified them. I know something about procurement and industry, but I’m not like selling a specific service line, like a larger consulting firm might, how would you suggest that person? Should they start with a LinkedIn connection request LinkedIn, InMail, just email the person call the person? What would your suggested sequencing be? And like? What would some actual examples if it’s like a connection request or an email or an email? What would you actually put in the subject line and in the body of that email?


Joe Pope  07:20

Yeah. So the first thing you’re going to want to do is you especially if you’re if you’ve established what your list is, and you have a good understanding of exactly who that audience is. So for example, title, very key and very important, because how you’re going to message will change depending on if they are a key stakeholder, if they’re, excuse me, a decision maker if they’re an influencer. And so it will change what those messages are across the board, is to make sure that if you’re not going to do it through research, that you are doing it through the types of communications that you have with those ideal clients, the ones that you just referenced, that they’ve already made outreach to, it’s asking those questions around issues and topics, because those issues and topics are what is going to resonate when somebody actually opens this email, or clicks on the subject line, anything along those lines. And we’ve, we’ve learned that because we’ve done this exact same technique. And in a sense, if in the open rates are different, right, we’ve tried it with different approaches, with general industry flatline of hey, consulting, space, a, so on and so forth. If you’re not leading with something that directly resonates with the types of challenges that they’re having, they’re not going to continue to read through the email, they might not even open it in the first place. And so that’s the email, I don’t recommend sending blind in messages to completely cold prospects. It does not work for the reasons I was just describing earlier, where I have five or six different folks sitting in my inbox right now trying to make a connection with me. Now, it does make sense to use LinkedIn as a connection. portal where you do make you send out invitations, you tried to connect with folks, you comment on their content. But you know, there’s a limited amount of time in the day. So that’s where that strategy comes to play and making sure that we’ve identified the ones that really resonate where that effort is going to pay off. But


Will Bachman  09:18

when it comes, let me just pause you there. So you’re saying LinkedIn connection requests, you’re famous. So let’s say we’ve identified 500, chief procurement officers for our friend here the, you know, the independent consultant doing strategic sourcing. So we’ve identified 500, chief procurement officers at companies in the US would you suggest sending connection requests to those folks,


Joe Pope  09:42

if you have something you could potentially provide them in terms of the content that you’re putting out and messages that you can interact with them on the social platform? I mean, that’s what this is, right? LinkedIn is a connection vehicle of instead you’re right. Instead of being at a conference and shaking hands in the Booz you are, you are Making those connections on the platform LinkedIn wants people to be interactive, they want people to be posting native content, so not taking it away. And if you’re going to spend time and effort, you need to play by LinkedIn as rules. Now, the place where you’re not going to find success is in messages to completely cold prospects who have no idea who you are, they’re just not going to read it. And if they do read it, and you don’t really hit home on a perfectly targeted message, they’re going to throw you into that sea of sameness that they’re getting from 15 other people. So that is, that is where we’ve kind of they have we built that recommendation off of trial and error. We’ve also built that recommendation off of what we’ve learned in research when asking these types of questions to the buyers of consulting services.


Will Bachman  10:47

So like, what language would you use in a connection request? Give us three or four or five different ways to, you know, send that connection request to


Joe Pope  10:57

Sure. Yeah, I mean, any sort of connection to somebody, you may or may not have a secondary or third connection with. So hey, I, you know, I saw you’re connected with so and so I go way back with them, we had a great experience together, I thought it might be great to grow my network here. That kind of message is good, keep it two to three sentences. Again, like LinkedIn is a great place for slightly warm connection. So if you’re going to be completely cold, make a reason why you’re reaching out to this person, one of the things that I think a lot of folks are trying to use LinkedIn for is they’ll send a connection that, hey, I want to expand my network. And then within a minute and a half after me clicking Yes, connect, I’m getting that targeted cold outreach email, like I had mentioned, to own a franchise or whatever it may be, that’s not going to resonate with your audience. So the plain Jane, hey, I’m expanding my network message, I’m ignoring a lot of those now, I need to kind of see war, it’s the real reason that you’re connecting with me for so it can be as simple as, hey, we have a secondary connection in common, or you’re in an industry that we just created a presentation for might make sense to be in each other’s networks. You know, I even sometimes when I’m connecting with somebody who I don’t have a warm introduction to a conference, or a third party or things along those lines, I’ll even joke that, and I promise I won’t send in a message to you immediately after this. So I’ve thrown that type of message into those connection requests.


Will Bachman  12:28

Okay, so yeah, I mean, if someone sends me one of those, like, I’m trying to expand my network, I, those are immediate declines for me, like, yeah, and definitely, and I, I click the little button, I don’t know this person. Because, yeah, it was a total total spam. And, you know, it’s, they might as well be saying, I’m about to try to, like, pitch you something and annoy you. When people do that, like you’re trying to expand your network. Well, good for you. What do I care?


Joe Pope  12:57

A great, yeah, well, I mean, in a great, I’m hearing the same thing that I’m thinking right from you. But a great approach, I think is if there’s somebody who’s in this ecosystem that you’re looking to get connected with interacting with their content or content that they’re involved with. So they at least see you in some form or fashion before you send that connection request, is a very simple step that you can take if you’re trying to just grow a network of people on LinkedIn that will enjoy or resonate with the types of things that you’re posting, as well as their a potential prospect down the road.


Will Bachman  13:31

Yeah. I mean, on that topic Umbrex has published Well, I mean, my experience, most of the actual client client type people that my listeners want to serve typically aren’t posting a lot of their own content. So like, chief procurement officer and our made up example, usually not posting enough, they’re busy, they got a day job, they’re not trying to, like, you know, build themself as an influencer. But so, you know, I often hear that recommendation, like, oh, you know, engage with their content, they’re often not posting a lot. However, a tip that I, you know, we had from a different another episode was to, and actually, what Justin Welsh talks about, is to follow the people that they may be following and comment on those posts. Yeah, so Exactly. Umbrex has published a directory of the top 500 content creators on LinkedIn. And one technique is okay. And in procurement, you know, find people who are writing about procurement who are quote, unquote, influencers, comment on their stuff and be the first to comment on it, when it gets published. And then maybe that chief procurement officer might see your comment and, you know, start paying attention to you, but that’s a bit of a roundabout way. One, one area that you didn’t mention, but you could probably talk about is, you know, trying to do cold outreach, but looking at Affinity type opportunity. So are you Uh, you know, look for people that are a chief procurement officer who are an alum of your college or your business school, or who, you know, also formerly worked at, whatever, you know, Caterpillar or General Electric or something. Sure, you know, people who worked at the same firm, they went to the same school. Those are, you know, some ways in addition to looking for the mutual connections, and then it’s like, hey, you know, I’m also an alum of whatever, Texas a&m, I’m in the procurement space, you know, I thought I’d reach out. So, be beyond that, like, you mentioned, sort of, if you publish some content, I suppose you could say, okay, long winded but here, here’s my question. What about reaching out to people to do some content creation with them? Like, hey, you know, I’m interviewing 30, chief procurement officers to publish a white paper, here’s a link to the last one I did, would you be open to participating? You know, something like that?


Joe Pope  15:59

Yeah, certainly, I think those types of approaches work. Again, if you’re doing it cold through in message, it’s you’re running into the same challenge, you’re likely to just get ignored, before they even get to the email, or sorry, into the message, that kind of outreach, I think just translates better to email into what your message is. But in general, that technique is fantastic, especially if you can explain the value of what they’re going to get out of it. Right. So you already know what their issues are the types of things they’re trying to get addressed. And so your content or your conversation, is something that’s going to be beneficial for both of you, that kind of thing is really successful, that CO marketing, I mean, not just in this type of approach, but across marketing strategies is becoming more and more and more important, especially as we’re seeing squeezes and things like just the original content marketing, SEO, you know, as Google continues to change the game, across the board, so that’s a great strategy, great strategy in general, but I again, you’re gonna fall into the same challenges, if you’re trying to do it just through a LinkedIn message. It’s where yours, the suggestion you brought up of interacting with influencers, the types of things that people would see when they’re on LinkedIn, because remember, you’re scrolling through your newsfeed on LinkedIn, do the same thing on Twitter, Facebook, whatever it may be, or x already rebranded. But as you scroll down these things, you’re more likely to be seen if you are interacting with the types of content that these folks care about. And that goes back to those issues that I was referencing in the start.


Will Bachman  17:37

Yeah. on email, what are your tips on subject lines? And on the length of the email? What is actually what have you actually seen work in practice?


Joe Pope  17:49

Sure, sure. Yeah, I think this is this is good. So we are at a high level, I’ll say everything I hated about in message I have found that we can kind of overcome in the form of email, as in you can get positive ROI, realistically. Yep. And I’ll you know, long story short, we do see positive ROI in our cold outreach that we do, and that that includes, like revenues, not just even visibility creation, and I’ve got some metrics that I can share with you as we go through it. But you know, subject headlines are, if you can tie them directly to a resonating resonating topic, something that really kind of sticks sticks out to them. And it’s short, so we’re talking six, eight words or less, that can be good. You can also we’ve had success in topic, subject lines around events, so conferences or other areas that you know, that folks are going to be involved in. So that’s a positive as well,


Will Bachman  18:50

like, what would be a good, what would be a good subject line for an event? Like, are you going to the JP Morgan conference? Or like what?


Joe Pope  18:57

Sure, yeah. So one that we actually used for an accounting conference was company name. And of course, that was adjusted based off of who the company was. Plus hinge, am meetup. And then it was just a question mark at the end of it, and we got a fairly good response rate, as well as open rate just by writing that,


Will Bachman  19:18

really, okay. So it’d be, you’re going after whatever IBM would be like IBM plus hinge, meet up at whatever that accounting, world


Joe Pope  19:30

Johnny Association marketers, but yeah, I mean, same thing is, I mean, you would, you could certainly use the same approach to any industry.


Will Bachman  19:37

Okay, interesting. So making it really specific, so it doesn’t feel generic, just like, Oh, do you want to have a call? No, I don’t have a call. But, oh, you’re gonna be at this conference. And then they’re like, Okay, this firm is going to be at the conference. They know, they’re, you know, this is not just like, total generic, whatever. Yeah, interesting. Okay. What are some other what are some other event type things


Joe Pope  20:00

Yeah, sorry, events or just other subject lines,


Will Bachman  20:03

yeah, events. Let’s dive into that one. And then we’ll go through some other ones that that’s really a gold example that you’ve shared.


Joe Pope  20:09

Yeah. And I would say channels in general. So you know, if you’re like, well, like, if you were trying to get people to join your podcast, you would take a similar approach, right? You identify the person’s name, you say yourself, and, you know, podcast interview, question mark, something along those lines. And it’s personalized. And it’s, you know, it’s clear what the call to action is the type of thing that people will click on, at least, to see what the next couple sentences are in what the body of your email is. So, you know, the short, the short subject lines are definitely the right approach, I avoid things like emojis, and those kinds of that kind of more, like casual, and it’s just because unless you really know the type of person you’re sending that to, is going to resonate with getting a smiley face, or a skull or whatever it may be, then it’s just not your you’re not gonna see the return, maybe you’ll get one but you’ll piss off 30.


Will Bachman  21:04

Okay. And then, okay, so here’s some other subject lines, I love the thing about events, tying it to some event that your that your firm is going to what are some other ideas.


Joe Pope  21:17

So if you’re providing a specific service, and it is a service, that is a well known challenge of the target audience that you’re reaching out to, you can make headlines around that and use things like the company’s name, and so forth. So for example, we have, we have a targeted list that we send elements to of people that are in industries that we know resonate with database decisions. So artefill artificial intelligence, you name it, right. And so we use subject headlines along the lines of data driven marketing for company name. So I’m referencing an issue, I’m referencing a service and I’m tying it personalized to the person who I’m sending it to.


Will Bachman  22:02

What if your firm has I mean, hinge publishes a lot of research. What if your firm has published some resource that could be valuable to the person? How would you how would you reach out cold to someone to offer that?


Joe Pope  22:18

Sure, well, I wouldn’t say anything along the lines of let me send you my guide. Right, you would not know not not in the subject headline. Certainly, you can talk about it in the in the body of text, but not in the subject line. I again, I think, what’s the topic of the guy? Like what’s the information that you’re looking to get across, so we’re going back to that issue. So if the guide is a one stop process to improving procurement efficiencies, something along those lines is like improving your procurement process or for blah, blah, blah, it’s something along those lines, it’s but it’s specifically tied to the issue. And that’s it, the issue or the channel really are the two that we’ve had the most success with?


Will Bachman  23:04

And then this really gets into mechanics of it. But in the body of it, let’s say that you’ve published this, this research on data driven marketing, perhaps, and Shawn, would you include in the email, like a link where they can click to download it? Would you as an attachment? Would you say, Hey, would you like me to send it to? What, you know? How, what’s the way to do that if you have published some research, and you’re trying to get someone to engage?


Joe Pope  23:33

Sure, well, I find that cold emails to try to get somebody to take a mid funnel activity, such as download a piece of content or just interact, not necessarily are the most effective things, because you’re basically asking them to take even more steps, other than just to communicate or contact or respond to you, you’re you’re you’re basically making them have to walk down your funnel in a forced manner or path fashion, there’s better marketing techniques to do that. So what I usually do is I’ll reference something along the lines of, you know, it’s not usually in the first outreach, because what I’m really using these outreach emails to is to get conversations going. So I can then in turn, provide my value proposition and all of those types of things. But in my chaser emails all sometimes reference, you know, if you’re, if you’re interested, check out our latest study on this. And then there’ll be a link at that point. But that’s, that’s a secondary or tertiary step of what my goals are when I send an email outreach


Will Bachman  24:39

campaign. So that would not be in your first email.


Joe Pope  24:43

No, I mean, my first email is surrounding the idea of I’m trying to get them to hop on a conversation or to have a call with me.


Will Bachman  24:49

Really, okay. When you first converse, in your first email, you’re trying to actually jump right to having a phone call.


Joe Pope  24:56

And that’s where the issues come into play. Right? So I’m speaking exactly To what I’m providing in this conversation, so you’re gonna get value out of this conversation. Nowhere in is it in it because it’s a and I’m gonna walk you through our proposed process or, you know, our, our our program or deliverable, whatever it may be is included. It’s more along the lines of You know, we’ve worked with folks that are like you that have this type of challenge, you know, you reference organizations, you tie yourself to something that is going to resonate with them, whether it’s an issue, whether it’s a topic, whether it’s a conference, those kinds of things, and you learn that information, through research and learn that information through investigation. It’s just a very targeted text message, we keep them under 150 words, that’s, that’s really a golden rule for us. Nobody’s going to read more than 150 words anyways. And the action is if it’s adventurous, we’d love to set up an intro call. And we can share ways that we can help you in this manner, this issue, so on and so forth.


Will Bachman  26:01

Okay, that’s actually somewhat counterintuitive for me, I would have thought that it would be a lighter touch step for someone to just, you know, you send someone’s like, hey, you know, we just published this report, whatever this guy, this playbook that you might find helpful for someone to click to look at a, something you published or PDF. Sure. That seems to me a lighter step than saying, Oh, my gosh, this person wants me to get on a phone call. Like that seems like a major, you know, asking you to go out on a weekend retreat with someone instead of just a coffee date. I mean, it seems like a big step to say, Oh, you want to get on a call? No, I don’t want to get on a call. But I’ll like, I’ll quickly scan your document as a first step. But you’re saying actually, no, no, your first email? How do you do that? Do you when you ask for a call? Do you give them a scheduling link? Or do you say no? Would you be interested? Interested discuss this? Or how do you do that? Ask for the for the meeting?


Joe Pope  27:02

Yeah, I mean, and I could talk a little bit about why we don’t use cold outreach emails for content. After I answered the question you just asked, I mean, it is very much you’re setting the table, you’re connecting with why you’re reaching out to them. You’re talking about the approach, and why it would resonate with them. And then you’re saying if it’s interest of interest, we’d like to connect? And then yeah, I mean, you can certainly use a Calendly link. Another great approach is to have, you know, a set list of times that are available. And if you’re going to run these campaigns yourself, you kind of look at and block times in your calendar that you can reference and you send them as a part of the outreach process. I mean, there, this is a numbers game, right? So you’re going to be looking at how many does it take in order to get open rates? How many does it take in order to get responses. And that’s, that’s the reason that I typically don’t recommend email as a top funnel, or mid funnel that doesn’t necessarily have a direct sales angle activity, it’s because your time and effort is going to be much better spent in areas that is going to give you a much larger visibility range. So you know, if you’re, if you’re spending time sitting and sending out direct emails to folks to say, hey, download my 50 page guide. You could be using that time and an effort to for perhaps get that guide, referenced in editorials or to be guest publishing or things along those lines, which is gonna give you a far greater visibility than you know, just sending it to somebody’s email that has never spoken or talk to you, I find that if you are extremely targeted with who you actually send emails to, then you’re at that point, you’ve gone through the effort of identifying why you should be saying it to them, what you should be saying to them, what’s the value you’re going to be providing to them. Let’s just cut to the chase. All right.


Will Bachman  29:09

So you’re just you just jump right into is like, Hey, do you want to have a call, right? This is what we offer. You know, if this is interesting, you want to get on a call to discuss.


Joe Pope  29:19

It’s really key that you’re making sure that you’re resonating with them. I mean, because you will get negative responses to this type of thing, right? Yeah. And so it’s in a manner like to not run afoul of spam and all of those things, you are basically showing that you made the effort to look up who they were before you research or before you sent them a message.


Will Bachman  29:41

Yeah. On that topic. This is a very detailed stuff. Do you include a unsubscribe link on these? Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. So you’re sending them and then sending them with some kind of tool like HubSpot or something that has an unsubscribe


Joe Pope  29:59

Absolutely. If we send it, we send it through a variety of tools, I mean, hinge uses the Salesforce ecosystem, but you can, you can build this into any of these sending platforms. And then you know, as a general rule of thumb, if somebody responds in any form or fashion, that’s the end of them receiving emails as a part of this campaign. So a lot of times, we’ll do things in a three message sequence, you’ll have your initial email, you’ll have a follow up email that basically says, you know, I’d really love to connect with you first, if you’re interested. And then you kind of repeat your, you kind of repeat your your spiel on how the times that you’ve got to book or your Calendly link or whatever it may be. And then the third sequence email is kind of a rehash of the initial email, we found that that is, in a sense, that is about the limit that you can send before, you’re going to start to see people tip into the negative response category. A lot of times that that second email is the one that you win with. It shows that you’re a real person. It shows that you’re directly interested tied to the issues and elements that you brought up the first time. And that, you know, you’re you’re serious about providing them some sort of value in that conversation.


Will Bachman  31:12

And how far apart do you spread these, what have you, what’s your research determined is sort of the optimal. Wait time between between emails, three to four days, three to four days. Okay, interesting. Three to four workdays, weekdays,


Joe Pope  31:28

Yes, correct. Yeah, you’re not going to send these on a weekend.


Will Bachman  31:31

So not the next day. But you think we shouldn’t be five or six days? It should be you send it on a Monday, send on a Friday, and then you send it the following Wednesday, boom, boom, boom,


Joe Pope  31:42

yeah. Yeah, a lot of times, it’ll end up stretching over three calendar weeks. Okay, thinking about it. If you’re going to do the sequence to a Friday, then a Wednesday and then early the following week.


Will Bachman  31:56

Is there a best time of day or desk time of week? This day of the week? Yes, it is.


Joe Pope  32:01

Yeah, it’s, it’s usually in the mid mornings, you don’t want to be the first thing in the inbox. And you certainly don’t want to be at the end of the day. But that’s been a run, it’s very similar to when you see the best open rates for any sort of outreach, email outreach, if you’re sending consistent content, for example, or invites to participate in a research study or webinars, you know, it’s that mid morning timeframe where if somebody’s not going to get to it, they’ll see it at their lunch break or things along those lines, that seems to really be a good time to send content. That’s a general rule of thumb with email anyway,


Will Bachman  32:36

I did not know that I thought that maybe sending it like 745 or something before their workday. So it’s sort of the last thing that came in overnight, when they get to their desk. It’s sort of, but you’re saying mid morning, when they’re in the flow of it already. They’re at their desk. And then, you know, if they don’t get it in the flow, then maybe you’re checking their email at lunchtime. So you’re saying mid morning is best 930 or 10 o’clock.


Joe Pope  33:03

So I mean, one of the things that we’ll do consistently is test. So there are going to be changes the changes in focus, and so forth. But I mean, what I have found with this type of email is that you don’t want it to necessarily be blended in with everything that came over the night, especially somebody is very quickly going through an archiving or deleting emails, which is a step I think all of us take in the morning. I found that you know, if it comes in as a standalone, and you know, it’s it, it has a subject headline that resonates things along those lines, then it’ll get the click. And that’s the that’s the important thing here. Right. We’re just trying to get past that initial eye screening. So it’s morning, certainly. And there’s definitely benefits to having things in boxes at the beginning of the day. But for this type of thing I have found and what we typically do is in the mid morning,


Will Bachman  33:58

and what about what day of the week?


Joe Pope  34:04

Oh, yeah, we’ve we’ve tried every day, I would say that I don’t necessarily have any statistical significance 60 success on a Wednesday versus a Friday or things like that. But I do have statistical success that shows that that second follow up email, or the third follow up email will get a better open rate than the first one.


Will Bachman  34:26

And should that second email be a kind of reply all thing from the first one? Or is it a like a fresh whole


Joe Pope  34:34

fresh new email? No, I Yeah, we sent we send the initial email along with it because you’re referencing the initial email in the message itself.


Will Bachman  34:43

Yeah. So it’s like a reply to the first one. Yep. All right. Interesting. Okay. So you kind of lay out what you offer, you say. Would you like my intuition? And I’m curious to hear your reaction. Is that true? by including a schedule or scheduling link or accounting link in there is a little bit overbearing, and maybe easier to ask. Someone just said, Hey, would you be open to a discussion? Where all they have to do reply is just say yes. Right? Or maybe they’ll copy their assistant or they’ll say, yeah, here’s my Calendly link, like saying, Would you like a call? And by the way, do all this work and go to my Calendly? And find the time that works for you and schedule it? That feels like a little bit? Like putting a lot?


Joe Pope  35:29

Yeah, the calendar link is not the only thing. It’s why I said we’ll typically do is block times and we suggest those times, or just let me know if you’re interested in a conversation. So your your calendar, just given them the link as an option. I guess the best way, it is not the only way. And I would agree with you entirely. If somebody’s just sending me a calendar link. And that’s the only way I can have any sort of connection with them. That does put me off.


Will Bachman  35:53

Yeah. Okay. This is very, very tactical stuff. All right. That’s what you asked for, right? Well, yeah. All right. And then how do you think about, you know, maybe using a separate email domain that you’ve warmed up? So if you get a lot of people marking you as spam, it’s not going to affect your primary domain? Talk to me about that a little bit?


Joe Pope  36:21

Yeah, absolutely. So one of the things that we’ll do with completely cold outreach is we’ll actually sometimes leverage partners who will stand up, we’ll stand up an email, separate email domains, and those things that would eventually get redirected to our primary email as a part of the send, because you’re right, you will get marked as spam when you do these types of outreaches. Now, when we’re sending something that’s a little warmer, or it’s directly tied to an event, or conference, or things like that, it’s less concerning. And you’ll see that in terms of the general open rate and so forth. It’s because it’s, you know, at that point, it’s, you’re already kind of explaining exactly what the outreach is for versus, hey, you know, I have a service or, or you have an issue or things like that. Yeah. So yeah, in those circumstances, we will kind of distribute the load across multiple email, across multiple emails.


Will Bachman  37:17

So you’ll get some sort of alternate email domains that are have hinge in there somewhere, but it’s not your primary day to day email address.


Joe Pope  37:27

Right. And in those circumstances, we’re, you know, like I said, we’re going to leverage third parties. Because if I’m having to send emails, through our system, it’s typically going to go through, obviously, our email. So if I’m using my card out, it’s gonna be attached to my email. But if I’m trying to larger campaign, for example, in those circumstances, we’ll, you know, we’ll go out and distribute that across a variety of domains.


Will Bachman  37:48

Where do you get the contact info for these larger domains are using Zoom info, or Apollo or Lucia one of these services or something else?


Joe Pope  37:58

Yeah, that’s exactly right. So it’ll come through data vendors, but it’ll be tailored to that research I referenced at the start of our conversation. So we are looking at in depth thinking in terms of who are the decision makers, the influencers, the key stakeholders, the roles, the titles, the company sizes, the industries, you name it, and we’re, we’re good with that, because we’ve spent so much time and effort investing into understanding these spaces. But for folks who haven’t gone through that process, it’s really important to kind of look across who represents your target audience who represents the types of folks you want to do more work with? And then in that circumstance, you can start to build profiles, like this is not a I’m sending hundreds of 1000s of emails approach, this is very targeted. And if I get somebody who responds, they’re going to be qualified. Right? And that’s, that’s basically how nitty gritty we get with these outreach campaigns.


Will Bachman  38:55

Okay, what sort of metrics, you know, would be typical, would be awesome, you know, in terms of response rate on these. So, you know, and these are ones like you said, it’s not 100,000 you’re sending out it’s maybe, well, you tell me how many you might send out? What would like a decent open rate be a decent response rate be and a decent? If you send out 1000 of these? I don’t know how many you send, like, how many meetings might you get? You know, if you send 100 or 1000 emails,


Joe Pope  39:25

it really does vary based on the campaign. So we like to kind of look at them in aggregate. So for example, that campaign that we did around the accounting conference was north of 50%. open rates, it was massive. Wow. Okay. And that is just I mean, that’s visibility. Right. So I mean, we didn’t get 50% response rate, not even close. But people saw that our company was there that we were, that we were exhibiting that we were presenting and we had a speaking opportunity there that’s just targeted gold in terms of getting in the eyes and minds of your target audience, right. But on other on the other end, when we’re doing these more general industry focused outreach to a persona in terms of title or company size, we’re not going to get even close to that. We’ll be we’ll be in like a 20 or 30. Our last, to give you an idea, our last six months, open rate is around 36%. I just looked it up.


Will Bachman  40:19

That’s pretty decent there. I mean, that’s, that’s higher than I would have expected. That’s very good.


Joe Pope  40:23

Yep. When that is from that is from trial and error. When we first started doing this without being as focused as I’ve been describing, we were half of that. Yeah,


Will Bachman  40:32

quarter of it. I mean, even 15% is a pretty good open rate for cold outreach now, out of that 35. So you send out 100 emails, you get a 35% open rate, which would be amazing. How many meetings? Might you expect to actually schedule out of those? Or maybe maybe the first step would be like, how many people why just reply and say, Oh, that’s interesting, but not right now. Or, you know, how many replies did you get? And then how many meetings would you get?


Joe Pope  41:02

Yeah, I mean, we have conditioned some of the some of the other metrics we establish, and we look at include referral or conditional or basically things that say, Yeah, but kind of things. Were tracking right around 4% on replies over the last six months. And it really does, it does kind of vary, like I said, with, like you’d see with the open rate, there’s a pretty consistent Delta like when one when one goes up, the other goes up. And then from there, positive lead rate. So as in like, yes, I want to jump on a conversation, and there’s a direct connection, right? around a half percent. So we sent 200 emails we’d get we’d get one response,


Will Bachman  41:45

get one meeting. Yep. Okay, so 200 emails to get one meeting. Okay, that’s a helpful benchmark for us to keep in mind. So you should not send out 10 or 20. And expect, I’m gonna get some five meetings. This is a big numbers game. So 200 emails, you get one meeting,


Joe Pope  42:02

and that’s Yeah, and that’s, that’s very much cross different campaigns from giving you everything in aggregate. When we run, like, for example, that that conference email, which was really successful for us, we had two or 3% in terms of positive responses. So it was it was definitely a higher number.


Will Bachman  42:21

Wow. Okay. Now, how do you then let’s say, like, what sort of tracking and follow up do you do? So let’s say you send one of these emails, and the person opens it, but doesn’t respond. So? Or let’s say they open it, and they do respond, but they say, yeah, no, not right now. Or now. We’re good, thanks. How do you follow up that person? Do you put it in your system and track it somehow and say, you know, put them on to another campaign three months from now or something? So, talk to me about that?


Joe Pope  42:56

Sure. Well, like we talked a little bit about unsubscribe and spam and all of that if somebody says, No, for any reason, or any fashion, we’re not just dumping them into our mailing list, or anything like that. That’s, you know, that’s definitely falling into a spam like tendency, they have to give us a response of some sort that’s conditional or positive for us to add them to the list. That being said, that is a data point, right? And if you’re tracking these things in a CRM, even if they’re saying no, and you’re not mailing them, but they’re still added to your list, these are potential for retargeting later down the road. So you can use things like you can use things like the Google Ads systems are LinkedIn, or things along those lines that allow you to put in profiles or contacts or things along those lines, and in a sense, target them with advertising later on. So we do keep track of who says no, but it is not to it is not to, it’s not to go and then continue to spam them with additional email messages.


Will Bachman  43:56

But let what about the people that open the email, and they just don’t respond, you know, that you said 35%, open it 4% response. So 31% are opening it not responding, what happens to them.


Joe Pope  44:08

And that’s where the campaign angle comes in. So we’re not going to run a campaign indefinitely, right, you’re just continuing to just message the exact same profile on month in, month out, so on and so forth. We go at these with a couple of months cadence. And then if we’ll move on to different campaigns or different testing or different topical issues, for example, and that’s where the, you know, the topics and all those kinds of things can come to play. People that open it, they can very much likely and will be folks that we would target as part of a reengagement campaign later on. And in that circumstance, we might go a little bit further with what that offer is in terms of trying to tease them with other types of things that would resonate, so issues, topics, so forth. And in a sense, it’s, you’re not at that point, completely unknown because they did regering Email the first time


Will Bachman  45:03

do you reference your earlier outreach? Or does that feel to


Joe Pope  45:09

Yeah, we don’t. You know, and I kind of I’ve kind of shied away from things that look like we’re just obsessively messaging somebody. Because I mean, this is you got to think about, like the kind of email that you would respond to, right? Well, like if somebody sent you something, and would resonate in, you click on it, if they were just like, Hey, it’s me against then six months, right? I mean, I’m, I’m like, No, there’s a reason I didn’t respond to you in the first place. But you know, what, you know, what does change over time is like, is the types of services or needs that your clients might have that they didn’t have the first time. So as a part, for example, as a part of that reengagement campaign, we were focused on we have websites, services are one of our key deliverables. And we provide a high performance website that’s designed specifically for professional services organizations with the types of tools and templates and elements built in so they’re able to rock and roll with a marketing strategy. We sent a reengagement campaign to folks that did not respond, the first go around in the architecture, engineering, construction vertical, and this go around, we’ve gotten a few leads of folks that just in that six, seven months went from, I don’t really care about the types of things that you mentioned this, you know, to seeing something like, oh, wow, you guys do websites. I had somebody who actually is a big time consumer of our content. I looked at our CRM and lots of downloads, lots of attending webinars, so on and so forth. Her response was basically, holy crap. Hinch does websites, question mark, which just tells you that even an agency like ours, it spends a boatload of time trying to explain our services to folks and educate them, you’ll still sometimes run into that issue. But now I’m actually in the process of I was actually before we hopped on the call today, building out our scope for them. So that’s something we wouldn’t have had had we not done this approach.


Will Bachman  47:06

We didn’t really give you a chance here, we just jumped right into this episode. But let’s let’s give you some space here. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what hinge does give us a quick overview of, of your services.


Joe Pope  47:18

Yeah, and I really do hope that the information that we’ve been talking through, it is tactical, certainly, but it’s, you know, hopefully, it’s the types of nuggets that get people energized and thinking about making adjustments across the board. And that type of mindset is exactly what we do and how we talk about ourselves. So like you said, we’re focused in professional services. So hinge is exclusively working with organizations that our professional services or selling into professional services. And the biggest difference between a professional services buyer and other buyer, for example, a consumer buyer is this is not an impulse buy, nobody is buying professional services on just on a whim,


Will Bachman  47:59

it was in the checkout aisle.


Joe Pope  48:04

Over Pepsi, right? What’s changed our colors and all that now, this is, this is a bar that’s based on these, these types of this type of person can solve the problem that keeps me up at night. And and that kind of thing requires trust. It requires a reputation. It requires visibility. And that is why everything I’ve talked about today, like I mentioned, we’re looking at this as part of a comprehensive strategy. And we help organizations do that. We help organizations understand what are the techniques that they should utilize? What are the benchmarks they should be hitting? How should they be talking about themselves in terms of positioning messaging, so forth. And then that’ll fades into the types of efforts that you might expect from a marketing agency like brand work, for example, or websites, content creation, collaterals, you name it. And then for organizations that we’ve worked with, we also can continue to support them in terms of implementation. And that comes in all shapes and sizes from helping some of them as a full time marketing outsourced down to hey, we’re just coming your fractional cmo advisor. And all of this is built and customized to the client to their knees.


Will Bachman  49:14

Amazing. And where can listeners find you online?


Joe Pope  49:18

Well, you can find me on LinkedIn, just don’t send me a blind in message. But you can certainly send you can send me a connection request Joe poke. You can find us at hinge marketing, on LinkedIn. Our website is hinge marketing.com. And like I mentioned, there’s a boatload of content research and information that is extremely helpful for folks. We are a practice what we preach organization, unlike a lot of agencies. So when we are recommending techniques, and tools and all of those kinds of things, you’re gonna see us do them as well. And it’s because they work and we’re able to test them, see what works, see what’s successful and then bring that benefit to our clients.


Will Bachman  49:59

All right. So listeners, unless you’re selling franchises, your courage to reach out to Joe on LinkedIn and send him a connection request. Joe, this has been fantastic. Thank you so much. I love the tactical advice and your content is great. I’ve consumed a lot of hinge content and seen a lot of your surveys and reports. Very valuable stuff. Great speaking with you today.


Joe Pope  50:22

Yeah, well, thanks so much looking forward to the opportunity to do it again sometime.

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