“I was scrolling through the WePay Twitter and saw the article you shared about how 38% of financial institutions have a hard time identifying fraudulent activity. That’s really scary to think about!”
“I saw on LinkedIn that you went to Duke — go Blue Devils! Think we’re gonna have a pretty stacked basketball team this year…fingers crossed that we get #6!”
Two things I know for sure: you should always (okay, almost never) trust Michael Scott for advice, and personalized sales email content is a surefire way to make an outbound campaign more successful.
The two blurbs above are examples of what we consider friendly personalization — we did a little bit of research and found data points that allowed us to craft relatable content that is individually relevant to the prospect.
Friendly personalization is a slightly easier-to-digest concept that involves a more straightforward workflow than some of the other approaches that we’ve discussed — it’s basically a long fill-in-the-blank, no-parameter approach that can be used in the intro of your outbound email to quickly grab a prospect’s attention and let them know that you’re invested in establishing a relationship.
It’s less involved than the one-at-a-time approach, since you’re only using one nugget of content, but it’s still effective in making your outreach seem highly personal.
As an added bonus, a friendly intro also significantly increases the likelihood that someone will read your email on the go. How many times have you gotten an email on your phone that you automatically swipe and delete before opening it? The iPhone only shows the first two lines of text in the preview, so you only have a second or two to make a strong first (virtual) impression.
Imagine two scenarios: “Hi Kelsey, I wanted to see if you have 15 minutes to chat next week about operations platforms…” versus, “Hi Kelsey, I was scrolling through the RevBoss blog and love your posts about personalization…” I’m definitely going to swipe & delete Scenario A, but Scenario B has piqued my interest (because who doesn’t love a little stroke of the ego?!).
So, how does it work?
We’ve spent the most time figuring out this process because it’s what drove the huge lift that we saw in reply rates. If you can find a way to connect to your prospect on a personal level, more times than not, they’re going to at least respond.
Our workflow for friendly personalization is pretty straightforward — we trigger prospect research tasks to a team of US-based human authors, provide them with a little bit of background/perspective, and give them some general direction that will make the research part of their process as painless as possible.
Our workers then use the interesting data that they find in their quick research to craft a one-two sentence blurb directed to the prospect, which will be used as a variable custom field in our outbound email message copy. And…voila! Personalized emails!
Creating a Research Perspective and Persona
Perspective is an interesting piece of the personalization puzzle that we didn’t expect to need to solve in the very early days of testing — but it really enhances your content if you’re outsourcing the work (which you’ll probably need to do if you’re planning to scale).
We give our workers some pretty basic info with regards to a persona to keep in mind — so we’ll provide a quick, two-sentence overview of what our company does, where we’re located and whether they should form their voice from a male or a female perspective. We also give them things to look for that may be important to us, like if the prospect they’re writing to has just raised money or if their company is hiring for certain sales positions.
These things can help a remote worker more easily relate to a prospect on your behalf. For instance, if the worker notices that the prospect they’re researching graduated from an ACC school in North Carolina, and we’re in the heart of Durham, bam! Some mention of Tobacco Road basketball (see example #2 above) is sure to garner attention and maybe even ruffle a few feathers (which isn’t the worst thing…I mean, objectively, the Tarheels suck Eric won’t let me say that).
We also provide similar background info on the prospect to make research super simple and to improve efficiency with our workers. We give them links to the prospect’s LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook profiles, as well as a link to a general Google search of the prospect. This makes it easy for the worker to quickly find the data that they’re searching for.
Where to pivot when you can’t get personal…
One problem you may face with this approach is what to do in the event that you can’t find any data that connects you with the prospect on a personal level — their LinkedIn profile is bare, they haven’t Tweeted in 3 years, and nothing good comes up in a general Google search.
In this case, we turn to interesting company news/data — maybe they’ve recently announced a round of funding or a new partnership…either would suffice and still be personal enough to show that you’ve looked into the company before sending your email.
We think that the friendly approach to personalization is easy to grasp and highly scalable — especially when you consider incorporating some level of a machine author-based system with human reinforcement…
We’ll keep you posted on that second part!