Smarter cold emails for the savvy social marketer

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Have tested pluck heavily over the past few weeks with our digital marketing agency. Initial focus has been on consumer brands in tight verticals and results have been impressive. Looking forward to using it much more!
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@petedavisuk thanks pete!
@petedavisuk Curious to see how it worked out for consumer brands. I'm assuming that's a space where the signal to noise ratio is low. How did the tool do in terms of finding relevant accounts and what kind of personalization did you do?
@manikarthik we tended to focus around two major pieces: 1. event activations/sponsorships and driving a digital engagement with people with a peaked interest in an area that the brand was sponsoring. Driving these people to a landing page, presenting added value and gathering data. This was a pretty effective way of taking an offline event sponsorship and creating some value online as part of a broader ROI strategy. 2. Retailing or giving away ebooks. Again finding people communicating an interest in a field and driving prospects to a landing page either to sell a product (for one client) or give away a product with the intent purpose of building the brand's consumer database (for another). I'd encourage you to go and try things, naturally I didn't look at it and think you could sell a major FMCG brand but when you play with it you can find tactical instances that work well. Interested to understand how you go!
Hey all! Maker here. I'm going to be hanging out for an hour or so, grabbing a little sleep, then I'll be back on around 7am PT to continue to answer any questions. In the meantime, let's get the obligatory "What is this and why did you build it?" out of the way. Pluck is our solution to needing to do cold outreach but thoroughly hating traditional means of doing it. I get a lot of these emails: > Hey Ryan, congrats on the current round of funding! As CEO, are you looking to grow your sales organization? [etc etc] Two problems with that email: First, we didn't just raise money. We raised money almost 2 years ago. Second, we only raised $278k through an AngelList syndicate back then -- hardly enough cash to go building out a sales force. I get these emails almost every day because somewhere inside BuiltWith,, Mattermark, Salesloft, etc... I'm listed as having the following attributes: - Industry: SaaS - Title: C-level - Raised money: Yes While these emails aren't exactly "spam" -- like the emails asking if I want to buy mining equipment or Viagra -- they're also not very well targeted. They're sort of in the ballpark, but the external optics of the attributes used for targeting rarely map to actual current needs inside an organization. So that's problem #1 with the traditional methods of doing cold emails: Lack of targeting. I also get a lot of these emails: > Hey Ryan, following up on my last email [etc etc] Either they sent no previous email and are trying to play some psychological game (tsk tsk people who do this) or they are actually following up for the 3rd, 4th, sometimes 5th time. Sometimes, these emails don't even have unsubscribe links. So that's the 2nd problem with traditional methods of doing cold emails: Giving people email lists encourages them to be bad citizens. So after struggling with ways to grow our other products, we had the idea for Pluck. We put together a hack, tweaked it over the last 3 months, and starting delivering emails like this: > Hey there, saw your your tweet about [topic] and wanted to reach out... This technique yielded some staggering results: - 3,000 emails sent - Over 70% open rates - Over 15% click through rates - Under 0.5% unsubscribe rates So after a few months of testing this out and seeing how powerful it is, we decided to pull the trigger and build Pluck. There's some "philosophy via product" that we've imparted on Pluck: 1. To ensure high quality, we manually review every account when it's created. This might hamper our ability to scale in the beginning, but we want to make sure only people with legitimate campaigns are using Pluck. 2. You cannot buy email lists from Pluck. We send emails on your behalf, and the only way you ever get to see the email address is if the person replies to the email or if they go to your site and sign up. 3. An individual will only ever receive ONE email from you through Pluck. You don't get to subscribe them to drips. You get one shot to make a good impression. So that's Pluck. I think this intro comment may be approaching the longest intro comment ever made on PH, so I'll stop here and leave my other ramblings to answer your questions. I hope you have lots. Talk soon!
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@angilly This is cool, thanks for sharing. #3 is your smartest move here, drips are frustrating to me no matter how polite they are. If I had a dollar for every email I received that started with "I'm reaching out because I'm a huge fan of (insert company)"...I'd have many dollars :)
@allisonshea30 thanks, Alli! That means a lot. I wasn't sure if anyone would actually read this novel of a comment :)
@angilly Ha. TL;DR is for squares!
@angilly: 1. Cool concept. There is a good level of intent if someone discusses a topic on twitter. I see the benefit. Love the simplicity of ur solution too. See below though. 2. I am surprised that you compared funding event emails to Viagara emails. If you target companies and decision makers that just got a significant amount of funding that is going to be a way better option than someone who passively mentions something on Twitter. Companies that get over $10M in funding are spending money all over the place. They are dumping money everywhere to make sure they meet their benchmarks. Sales is not just about needs/interest. It is also about timing and budget. There is a reason why it is called BANT. 3. Besides funding events there are tons of other triggers that can find demand. If you target using specific events you should increase your close rate 4x. See below... New Job Openings: If a 150 person company just adds 40 new sales jobs you know that their big corp initiatives are focus on sales growth. As opposed to product, R&D, finance, etc. New Decision Makers: New leaders at a company always make changes when they get hired. They have to prove their worth. New Locations/Hiring Plans: When there is a new facility there is always money spent.
@tomblue yeah 100% in agreement re: the unfair comparison of funding event emails to Viagra emails. I got a bunch of emails right after raising money that said "hey congrats on the seed round! do you need [thing I reasonably needed at the time]" and they were actually helpful. I was referencing the extreme case where I'm still getting those emails 2 years after the most recent funding event :)
I never know how I feel about products like this... Just because I'm tweeting about something, doesn't mean I want to receive an unsolicited email. People receive enough unwanted email as it is. Also, 'automated and personalised' - those two don't really go together IMO. Like saying 'automated and personalised' DM - I just don't see how they can work together.
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@bentossell yeah I hear you, man. To be honest I was sort of the same way when we started to play around with this concept. This has been an interesting ride for me personally. Our first test was only 50 emails, then 100, then 200, then we started to get bigger (and smaller -- running campaigns that only get 1 or 2 hits per week). As we dug in, the response was just overwhelmingly positive. Yes, we definitely got a couple people who were SUPER mad that we emailed them, but on the flip side we had hundreds of responses and people like Rand Fishkin tweeting out stuff like this: At the end of the day, unsolicited email is never going to stop. This is something that we think can lower the percentage of unsolicited mail that is also unwanted.
@angilly hmm I suppose if you hit the bigger numbers then there are always going to be positives vs negatives but I just cannot see the +ve in emailing people who didnt give you their email or ask to be emailed. Also I dont think that something that will help unsolicited emails is to send unsolicited emails that I may or may not find interesting. I guess there is no place for someone to put their name on a 'Never send' list either?
@bentossell not before they will send you email. There is unsubscribe CTA button at the end of the email in Rand tweet. @angilly I suppose you will not tell us the percentage of FBL in gmail ? :]
@bentossell yeah I get where you're coming from. Like I said, I was very surprised by how overwhelmingly positive the responses were. Otherwise, we wouldn't have built this. I actually had people emailing me saying things like "I wish more cold emails were this good" etc etc.... This is one of things where the customer development and market research generated data that went against not only my intuition, but my inclinations as well. I think the never send list is probably coming. It's still early days so there are a lot of features that are yet to be built.
@bentossell If the content of the DM or email is engaging, then I think it's okay. I came up with engaging questions for my DMs because I don't like the bad rap DMs have gotten because spammers abuse them. With that said, I do see your point about it being a bit invasive, and understand your concern for spamming. "One bad apple ruins the bunch." That sparks a question then: Can people opt out of being a part of this or make emails private, something?
We've been testing out Pluck to spread the word about Inside VR & AR ( the past couple of weeks, and are very impressed with it. Great work, team!
@jason thanks! it's been great working with you on it!
@jason are you an investor in Pluck? if so, what drew you to it?
@angilly really smart. How are you getting the emails? Clearbit?
@mscccc thanks Mike! We actually do a bunch of stuff to make this work so it's sort of secret-sauce-ish. Perhaps in a couple months I'll do a write up of some of our more clever (but by then possibly outdated) techniques :)
@angilly @mscccc If not Clearbit then probably the same sources