Starting a business is more than having a great idea, it requires the ability (or at least willingness) to get out there and sell. Email marketing and cold calling can be two of the most effective ways to market your business without much financial investment.
Step 1: Building Your List
Before you can email or call someone, you have to have a list of people to email or call. Segmentation (or knowing “who” your target customer is) is key. An example focus segment could be “dentists in Columbus, Ohio.” It’s important to only have a few focused segments so you can repeatedly reach out and gauge the effectiveness of your marketing.
Building a list of local businesses can be as easy as going to maps.google.com and searching for companies that fit your segment (example “landscapers in Columbus, Ohio). The process of building a list of national businesses is similar, except substitute Google Maps with linkedin.com. For national businesses, you will also want to search the company’s employees for the name of a person with the appropriate title.
There are some shortcuts to list building. Using online directories (like chambers of commerce, industry associations, etc.) is a great way of quickly building a list. Webscraper.io is a nifty tool that can speed up your list building as well—simply set it up and it can pull information into a CSV file from any website in seconds!
Step 2: Narrowing Your List Through Email
Traditional email marketing software, like ConstantContact or MailChimp, with their contact-base pricing can be expensive, and receiving emails with images from a company you’ve never heard from comes across as spammy—if the person’s inbox receiving the email doesn’t send it to spam automatically.
MailMerge is a relatively inexpensive add-on for Google Sheets ($29/annually), that lets you send mass emails through Gmail. Pricing is not based on number of contacts, and emails come through as personal in a plain text format. After you send you emails, wait at least one day, then run a report to see how many people “clicked” you email. These are people who are interested, and you should “cold” call.
Step 3: “Cold” Call to Schedule Next Step
The idea of cold calling is not fun for most people. Lucky for us, we are only going to call people who have expressed interest in our offering by clicking our emails. A simple script to use when calling people is as following:
“Hi ___, this is ___ with ___. How are you today? [then pause, and listen] I was just calling to followup with my email yesterday about ___. Would you be there right person at ___ to talk with about this?”
That’s it! Let conversation naturally flow from there. As someone who receives a lot of cold calls, it’s never fun to be stuck listening to someone’s pitch. Also, don’t be afraid of awkward moments and silence, keep your cool and try to schedule an in-person meeting (or video chat depending on your business).
People buy from people, which is why email marketing and cold calling can be two of the most effective ways to establish direct relationships and grow your business without much financial investment. It’s just up to you to schedule the time required weekly!