Director, Content Marketing
As business leaders, we’re often looking for fresh ways to connect with leads. Generic messages and spammy introductions no longer cut it when your competitors are out there forming strategic professional connections with customers and clients. To stay one step ahead of the rest, try new tactics to boost sales and marketing strategies.
These six creative strategies will help improve your sales outreach and grow your professional network:
1. Expand your social circle with relevant groups
There are an endless number of groups available for professionals looking to connect with others in a specific industry. Expanding your social circle is helpful for improving sales outreach, allowing you to connect with promising leads, build rapport around similar interests, and introduce them to your brand. To identify leads that are candidates for your sales funnel, try these outlets:
- LinkedIn: The paramount professional social networking site, LinkedIn has 810 million users that engage with the platform for purposes that range from networking, to relationship building, job prospecting, recruiting and business development — among others. With a diverse range of over 2 million LinkedIn Groups focused around business-related topics, they offer an excellent avenue for connecting with other professionals in your target niche. Share content, ask questions, and even invite members to upcoming virtual events (if the group permissions allow it).
- Facebook: This can be an effective channel for your outreach campaign, depending on your business niche. Let’s say you’re the head of a tech company. In the search bar, enter the keyword “technology” and select the option for Groups. From engineering to app development and applied sciences — there are groups for nearly every interest and business type under the sun. Join and connect with members and identify potential customers that may be a good fit for your offerings. Who knows, you might even become an active group member and add a fun new outlet to your week.
- A word of caution: Don’t write messages that are considered spammy or promotional throughout your outreach efforts. Your account could be disabled if members report your messages.
- Meetup: This platform features groups related to both personal and professional interests. Topics range from Technology, to Career and Business, and Science and Education. Once you’re accepted into different groups, you can attend in-person or virtual events with like-minded people. This is a perfect avenue for building new connections with people who may be interested in your business offerings.
- Event sites: Beyond Meetup, there are event-posting sites where you can search for and identify events that are relevant to your business and industry. Connect with promising leads that you can nurture into prospects by attending events posted on sites like Eventbrite or Citysocializer.
2. Entertain with video
Personalized videos are a great way to engage leads at the top of the sales funnel and demonstrate your commitment to building a connection with them. These types of more informal videos don’t require spending tons of money for production. With easy-to-use video creation tools like Loom, the process can be quick and simple. Instead of sinking resources into professional video creation, spend your time crafting a script that’s genuine, informative and instantly relevant to your audience.
For example, if you work for a real estate company, you can create a video about the housing market. Use humor and throw in some witty comments to help make your video lively while demonstrating your expertise in the industry. Add the human element by including interesting anecdotes or stories about your real estate experience — or creating a video series where you share tips and tricks for fixing up your home. If your videos are executed well, you could become a well-known realtor in your local market.
To successfully use videos as an effective sales outreach strategy, keep these tips in mind:
- Highlight the differentiators of your brand
- Show off your personality
- Provide value through informative content
- Demonstrate your expertise in the industry
Striking a balance between being entertaining and informative can be challenging, but with practice, you and your team can master the art of personal videos.
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3. Craft unique sales emails
“Got 60 seconds to chat about high-converting emails?” – is an example of a captivating message that can be used to hook your leads.
We’re big advocates of avoiding cold emails whenever possible and instead focusing on sending personalized emails to warm leads that are already in your funnel. Before you even type the body of your message, the first step is to captivate leads with a relevant yet attention-grabbing subject line. Make it clear what your email is about and why the recipient should be interested.
When sending sales emails, the prospects you’re targeting should ideally be close to the decision-making stage in the buyer’s journey. With people about to make a purchase, persuading leads for sales engagement should highlight why your company or product is ideal for them and how it solves their problems. Whether you’re a sales rep or a small business owner, your email copy should highlight the benefits and outcomes they can expect from your solution.
Here are some other email considerations to keep in mind:
- Incorporate visuals into your email campaign whenever possible — images, GIFs, videos or graphs. The more visually pleasing and skimmable your message is, the higher the chance you’ll get timely responses.
- Be strategic about the time of day you send your emails. There are tons of statistics out there on ideal email send times, but it can vary greatly depending on your industry and target audience.
- A/B test different variations of your email, from subject line to visuals to email copy. Adjust your emails based on the data.
- Monitor email engagement metrics and tweak your sales email strategy accordingly, including email send time, best-performing calls-to-action and more.
Need more email copywriting guidance? Grab our free Email copywriting checklist below.
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4. Don’t ignore social media
Sales outreach efforts on social media have huge potential due to the large volume of people on each platform. Aim to build rapport first by writing personalized messages — and hold off on promotions or selling until you’ve built trust with a prospect. Keep in mind that the tone and length of your message should vary by platform.
For Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the tone of your message can be more casual and conversational. Say you’re a salesperson for a construction company. You might write a message to a lead at a large tech company,
Hey there [First name], I saw you’re in charge of real estate assets at [Company name]. Would love to connect with you and learn about the commercial real estate space.
You can get even more specific if something in a lead’s profile stands out, as long as you keep it friendly and avoid the creepiness factor.
LinkedIn requires a slightly different approach than the other big platforms since it’s a business-oriented networking site. Write in a more professional manner, but still keep your message friendly and straightforward. Plan your outreach by preparing a few templates that offer value first before selling. Personalization here remains key.
Hi [First name], I saw you’re in charge of real estate assets at [Company name]. As a construction specialist, I’m always looking to connect with professionals in the commercial real estate space. I’d love to share information and resources with you.
Keep social media outreach messages extremely short, around 50 words maximum. Remember, the first message is just a jumping off point. Don’t overwhelm potential leads with too much information all at once.
5. Offer free feedback to potential clients
When you’re contacting prospective clients during outreach campaigns, consider offering free feedback related to your organization’s area of expertise. This can be an especially effective tactic for service professionals in the marketing space. For example, a web development agency might offer a free website analysis to help the target company identify any problem areas that pose compliance or SEO challenges.
If a prospect accepts the free report, work from a template and provide a limited version of the report that gives just enough information to identify errors on their site without spelling out the entire solution. Include a soft pitch for your services based on the results in the report.
Through this sales process strategy, you and other sales professionals can highlight major opportunities that can be taken to mitigate SEO and compliance issues and help strengthen the brand’s online presence.
6. Share relevant content
A little education can often help move leads through the sales process. If your organization has any published content — like blog articles, videos or reports — look for a resource that’s relevant to the specific target audience of your campaign. If you haven’t developed any content yet, consider creating a simple one-page infographic or checklist that speaks to your buyer persona. Sharing content through a simple email nurture campaign can be incredibly effective.
For example, if your consulting firm targets family-owned businesses for succession planning, you might send all family businesses on your list an article around “Top considerations for a family business succession plan.”
While your own company’s content is the most effective, you may also choose to share curated content from third-party sources that is directly relevant to your audience. Whether you’re a CPA sending a recent finance news article about upcoming changes to tax legislation or a logistics company sharing an industry white paper about a new supply chain solution you’ve implemented, choose content that helps educate potential clients while simultaneously demonstrating the value and necessity of your services.
Be clear about how this information is relevant and of interest to your audience. Follow up the initial email with a second message a few days later to check if they found the content helpful. Ask for their feedback and let them know you’re available to answer any questions. Conclude with a straightforward call-to-action for a free consultation if they want to learn more about how you can help.
Get creative and wow your leads
No matter what industry you’re in, being creative with your sales outreach pays off when connecting with potential customers. In a sea of formulaic sales tactics, try these strategies to keep things fresh and engage with people on a more human level — the first step in building long-term business connections.