The Right Way to Set Up Tools for Email Outreach

Modern martech is wonderful.

It helps you out at every stage of your sales funnel, constructs the perfect customer’s journey, shoulders the tasks of your team. Well, when you know how to set it up.

This is particularly true for cold outreach tools.

There are many great pieces of software, apps and platforms for squeezing max efficiency out of your campaigns, but before you can enjoy their benefits, you have to make sure you have done anything you could on your side.

Learning the right way to set up tools for outreach

The process of setting up an outreach tool requires your full participation, from the beginning to the end. So, if you want to find yourself the perfect tool and unleash its potential, this post is for you!

Know your criteria

You can’t set up an outreach email tool if you don’t know what kind of tool you need exactly. There is a large variety of software and platforms. Some of them are designed for teamwork, while the others are meant for solo missions only. Does your tool of choice support the size of your email list? What is your expected email volume?

Once you have a list of requirements, it will become much easier to tick the boxes and narrow down your search, step by step. Your perfect cold outreach tool must fit your needs like a glove. From our experience, there are three main criteria that you should always take into account whenever you’re about to expand your arsenal for email marketing.

  • Is it integrable? Like any responsible professional, you use multiple apps to manage our work and keep your productivity growing. However, constantly switching between your cold outreach tool, your CRM, and data enrichment tools can be exhausting. This is why you should go for a tool that has a built-in integration, letting you connect all your apps and make your user experience much more satisfying.
  • Are analytics included? Cold outreach is impossible without testing and data gathering, so you want a tool that lets you speed things up without sacrificing quality. For example, letting you build different campaigns as well as monitor and compare their results. Additionally, if you’ve registered a subdomain for email marketing, you need to make sure that your domain reputation and Sender Score stay positive without having to comb through blacklists by hand.
  • Does it allow automation? You don’t have to handle everything personally. Processes such as sending follow-up messages or list segmentation can and should be automated. A good outreach tool is like a team member, shouldering a chunk of your tasks, processing bulks of data, and keeping you posted via reports, notifications and messages.

With these basics covered, you can rest assured that your newly acquired piece of software will help you inject max efficiency into your outreach plans.

Choose an email service provider (ESP)

Email service providers (ESP) play a major role in your choice of tools. They offer more than a platform for your email marketing, and they provide you with a partnership and a set of laws and rules, which protect your sender identity and protect the privacy of your correspondence.

Each email service provider also has individual regulations regarding the sending volume and frequency. Therefore, before you choose a tool, you must make sure there is a synergy between it and your ESP.

What should you look for in an ESP?

In general, all major email service providers such as Gmail or HubSpot are of a great quality and provide an amazing set of features for managing your campaigns, protecting your inbox from spam, and informing the system about new phishing and scamming tactics.

However, if you haven’t made up your mind yet, here are some navigations points to make your search easier:

  • Your email service provider must provide an option to make and use canned responses. It will let you build email campaigns, edit and review your existing templates at a much higher speed.
  • If your service isn’t mobile-friendly, keep searching. Around 80% of your recipients check their email via mobile or tablet. This is why services like Gmail provide apps for smartphones and other gadgets, making writing, sending and reading emails possible regardless of the screen size.
  • You should be able to contact the support team. Whether it’s a question, a complaint, a suggestion or a request, you should know that you will be heard. Credible email service providers take pride in building a responsive support department for informing and helping users.

Now, that’s not all. Your ESP of choice must provide a wide range of customization options for your mailbox. It means that the layout of your inbox mustn’t be rigid. As a user, you have the right to sort and organize your incoming messages in a way that is convenient to you. For example, we recommend separating your incoming emails from the promotional ones.

Outline the sending limits

Cold outreach tools can work magic for you, especially if you take care of one of the few things they can’t do: figuring out your email sending limit. It’s especially important if you created and fine-tuned a new domain for your email outreach. Why so?

Once you make a new domain, you find yourself under the scrutiny of email service providers and spam filters. During this period, your goal is to prove that you’re a credible sender who respects the CAN-SPAM act and doesn’t violate the privacy and safety of your recipients.

One of the steps to differentiating yourself from spammers is sticking to email sending limits. Spam senders usually ignore those; their goal is to send as many emails as it’s humanly possible before they’re blacklisted and banned from performing outreach. They know that spam filters will catch up to them eventually, so they don’t really care about keeping up a facade or being cautious.

Therefore, if you want your cold outreach tool to work to its full capacity, without interruptions or setbacks, you must know your initial sending limit with your chosen ESP and work around it.

The complicated thing about it is that every service provider has an individual sending limit, so we suggest consulting with a support team before making a move. You can also explore email sending limits by different email service providers here.

Tip from Folderly: If you’re sending from a new domain, start with 15 emails per day. In 3 days, you can increase this amount to 25 emails per day. After a week, you can start sending around 40 emails per day.The key to success lies in keeping your performance steady, so additionally make sure that the delay between your emails is around 450 seconds. After a week of your outreach, you can reduce it to 300 seconds. Whenever you’re about to make a change, tread lightly.

Edit your DNS settings

Now, let’s talk about the most intricate part of your cold outreach. Worry not, you don’t have to explore every virtual nook and cranny of your domain name system (DNS), but before you launch your cold outreach, all apps and tools included, make sure that all email-relevant settings are working properly. Edit your DNS settings

To be more precise, there are three core DNS records that you must take care of:

Sender policy framework (SPF)

It’s your sender ID that basically says “this email address is officially approved to send emails from my behalf”. Many email service providers implemented this policy to prevent spoofing and make user inboxes a safer place. In order for your SPF record to work properly, you should:

  • Have a great communication with your domain support team. Editing DNS records can be difficult without a qualified expert at hand, so if you’re completely new to that process, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. Contact a professional in charge of managing DNS settings and consult with them on your every step. It will save you a lot of trouble.
  • Add all the services you use for outreach. Your domain, third-party domain, email-sending apps – everything must be included. Otherwise, you risk affecting your sending reputation and spending some time on recovering it.
  • Check your SPF record from time to time. Your ESP should provide you with an easy way to monitor the state of your SPF record. For example, there is a special feature in GSuite that lets you check your record in a single click.

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM).

Your DKIM signature is visible to the receiving server, proving that the email was sent by you and not interfered with. This is an additional safety measure that reduces the risk of spoofed emails.

Most of the major email service providers make DKIM signature a must for all senders, so this is the DNS setting you can’t ignore. Generally, Gmail, MailChimp and other powerful email services generate a DKIM record for you, so you don’t have to worry about that.

Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)

This DNS record rolls out a set of instructions for receiving servers regarding messages that fail SPF check or don’t have a DKIM signature. Initially, DMARC was meant for large corporate servers that had to work with tons of messages and needed better, more effective security.

However, currently, DMARC is actively used by B2B senders for easier and faster message processing. As a rule, you already have a default DMARC policy, where the default setting is “none” meaning that the receiving servers should do nothing with the messages that fail checks.

You can tweak this setting and instruct your recipient servers to either ban all failed messages from reaching the inbox or quarantine them. You don’t need that when you’re only getting started.

What is more important is that with a DMARC policy in place, you’ll be receiving reports from your recipient servers. Those reports contain the information on every failed SPF and DKIM check, allowing you to see how often it occurs and which server conflicts with your outreach the most.

Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI)

Although recently introduced, this DNS record is already getting widely acknowledged by email service providers like Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL, etc. While DKIM is a virtual seal that is visible to the receiving server, BIMI is a logo preview that is visible to recipients.

Using BIMI allows you to increase the recognizability of your brand and build a positive image. Your prospects are more comfortable with opening emails when they know where those messages come from.

A small logo thumbnail is a welcome sight, relieving concerns and boosting confidence. So, if you don’t have a BIMI record, you know what to do. Unlike SPF and DKIM, BIMI isn’t generated automatically, so you need to add it personally.

Craft compelling templates

Cold outreach tools help to achieve thousand of goals. However, they can’t write emails for you. They only work with the templates you provide, so it’s up to you to create the perfect content for cold outreach.

First of all, it’s important to remember that good templates are personalized templates. You must review your campaign templates and rewrite them to fit the needs of your recipients and their industry.

There will never be the number one template that boosts open rate and nurtures connections in every industry. With that covered, let’s explore basic rules for cold outreach templates.

  • Avoid greetings. It may come as a surprise, but using words like “Hello” or “Good day” for your opening lines can actually increase the risk of getting your messages flagged as spam. It happens because both “Hello” and “Good day” have been added to the list of spam trigger words due to being constantly abused by spammers or neglectful senders. As an alternative, we suggest getting straight to the point.
    • {Name}, I’m reaching you on behalf of {CompanyName}
    • {Name}, I was referred to you by {Referral Name}
    • {Name}, I’m looking to explore synergies between {ProspectCompanyName} and {CompanyName}
  • Use signatures. Your signature is a placeholder for your name, title, contact address, your company’s physical address, brand logo and many other useful, trust-building content. Make use of it as much as you can. It will make your cold outreach much easier and help your prospects warm up to you faster.
  • Don’t play mind games. Sometimes, senders try to come off as creative and smart by tricking recipients into opening emails. For example, they use subject lines “{Name}, you forgot something at your office” or “Urgent message for all {CompanyName} team” because they know that recipients will instinctively open such messages – and they hope to make a memorable entrance. In a way, they do manage to make an impression, albeit it’s always the bad one. Nobody likes to be fooled. So, playing with subject lines like that will result in you being added to spam senders and punished by the CAN-SPAM act.
  • Use bulleted lists. If your goal is to outline the benefits of your product and service, you should avoid making a mess out of your body text. Instead of creating huge paragraphs, squeeze the value of each benefit in a sentence and make a list. It will increase readability and remove frustration.

Build a genuine email database

Now, here comes the hardest part…or the easiest one, it depends on your approach. To work properly, your cold outreach tool needs an email database. However, how do you make one? It sounds like a tedious process: you need to send at least hundred emails per day in order to gain from three to 10 high-value appointments. Where do you find that many addresses?

If your first thought is “I’ll just buy a database,” discard it immediately. Naturally, some sources tempt beginning email senders with huge lists of contact data that is so relevant to their industry or market but do your best to resist the siren’s call. It brings nothing, but ruin.

  • No morality. Buying a bunch of emails and instantly launching email campaigns is morally wrong. You don’t know how these email addresses were obtained – you can’t guarantee that the people behind the database were using malware for getting data. Additionally, such an approach doesn’t include research, template crafting, working out the right tone and voice, i.e. everything necessary to reach out to cold recipients without angering them.
  • No exclusivity. If those email lists already exist in open access, how many people have already bought them? How many of your competitors have already sent their messages? Quite possibly, the prospects in those lists have been contacted by every company in the region and they’re on the brink of email fatigue. At best, your recipients will ignore you. At worst, they will flag your messages as spam.
  • No accuracy. Every market has multiple niches. Can you be sure that an email database that has been put up a while ago is able to cover your niche? As a rule, such databases offer very generic contact data, providing you with titles and names that operate in your industry but have no need for your product or service. However, you’ll spend weeks on fruitless outreach before you figure that out.
  • No safety. You don’t know how those emails are gathered and whether they’re even real. If an email database hasn’t been updated for 3 years, chances are that around 80% of email addresses are no longer in use. It means that you’ll be sending messages and getting bounces in return, endangering your sender score and ruining your credibility as a sender.

As you see, giving in to the temptation isn’t worth the risk. If you want to build productive campaigns, provide a solid fuel for your cold outreach tool and be confident about your reputation, we suggest the following options:

  • Gather emails from website visitors. It’s a time-consuming method, but it provides you with potential recipients who are opted-in and waiting for your email. You can also rest assured about the relevance of your campaigns and the exclusivity of your contact data. Moreover, the process of email gathered can be quickened with the use of various widgets.

  • Outsource the task of gathering emails. There is no need to sugarcoat it: building a genuine email database takes time. Database research, data gathering, email validation – you may spend months before you’re done. If your goal is increased productivity, you can’t afford putting so much pressure on your in-house team.In this case, outsourcing saves lives – or at least your sales reps’ sanity. First of all, your outsourced team starts the research from scratch, exploring the niches that are relevant to you, and even segmenting your lead lists by title, company size, etc. In the end, you get high-value, hand-curated data without any delays.

Conclusion

We adjust tools to our work, not the other way around. However, before you start thinking about getting a cold outreach tool, you must make sure that your workflow is flexible and steady enough to implement a tool.

When your outreach is organized and clean, your DNS settings are on point and your goals are clear, any tool you choose will demonstrate amazing productivity!

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