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Truth and Lies About Cold Calls, Cold Emails, and Advertising

Jul 19, 2017   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business  //  4 Comments

Cold calls.  Advertising.  Cold Emails.

That’s Old School marketing at its finest.  It’s no wonder that guy in the photo looks so darned cold in his office.  Does your CNC-related business use these methods?  Is there a better way?

When you approach someone cold and try to sell them something, that’s called “Outbound” marketing.  That’s because you’re reaching out to them even though they never asked you to.  When they do ask for your attention, that’s called “Inbound” marketing, because they’re reaching in to your business.

It pains me to think about the subject of cold calls, cold, emails, advertising, and outbound marketing in general.  Personally, I don’t think businesses should waste a dime on any of it.  It’s a revolutionary thought, I know, because so many businesses make those avenues their primary means of marketing.

But Outbound is so terribly flawed and inefficient.

Actually, abandoning outbound isn’t all that revolutionary a thought, as many are realizing the truth of it.  Way back in 2008, marketing expert Seth Godin was saying:

Content Marketing is the only marketing left.

As we will see, Content Marketing is just another term for Inbound Marketing.

Recently, I was answering a Quora question about cold emails.  The question was all about what the best tactics were for using them.  A bunch of authorities weighed in with advice about creating subject lines to get people to open then, making your you give value in the message, yada, yada, ho, hum…

STOP!

I couldn’t take it.  My answer was all about telling the audience to quit wasting their time on cold emails at all.  Forget optimizing them, why do it at all?

Apparently I hit a chord because the answer went viral and I soon had experts like Dharmesh Shaw, founder of marketing software company Hubspot talking about it:

( Dharmesh is the Founder and CTO of Hubspot.   Thanks Dharmesh! )

Let’s use cold emails as our petri dish for talking about outbound marketing.  in this post, because convincing you not to waste your time and money on it (except in very special circumstances where you have no choice) is something I believe in deeply.

Here’s why:

No matter how hard you work on your subject line, your cold email is an unwelcome party crasher in your recipient’s mailbox. The vast majority of them will never read the email.

But even if you can craft a subject line that gets a great open rate, what next?

FastCompany writes that after getting a fantastic open rate on their cold email experiment, only 1.7% bothered to click and take further action.

That’s right—only 12 out of the 1000 they sent emails to bothered to take action.

Only 12 out of 1000 did anything with the cold emails…

It gets worse though. Many recipients will consider your cold email to be spam. After all, they didn’t opt into it or ask for it. And it’s oh so easy for them to mark it as spam.

Also, many ISP’s watch what happens to email to determine if they are spam. If a particular sender has low enough open rates, they may blacklist them as spammers, particularly if many recipients are calling the messages out as spam.

You can destroy your online emailing reputation in a hurry with cold emails if you’re not careful.  Suddenly, all your emails, not just the cold ones, can start ending up in the spam folder.

Not only is the upside limited with cold emails, but there’s a big downside too.

So why do firms still send so many cold emails?

Lots of reasons:

  • Because they can and it’s cheap
  • Because there’s a certain badge of Old School Honor in Cold Calling that carries over
  • Because they’re desperate for leads

But here’s the thing—you’ve got a zero sum game here. You’ve got one budget. You need to make every lead generation dollar count. So why waste any of it on a tactic that has such a low likelihood of success?

 Why waste any money on a tactic with such a low likelihood of success?

y now you’re thinking, we’ve always done this, we have to get our leads somewhere, so what’s the alternative?

For me, this is just a very specific part of the whole inbound vs outbound marketing question.

Outbound is all about advertising, cold calling, cold emailing, and generally knocking on doors uninvited. Inbound is all about dangling bait in the form of content that potential prospects search for.

They are “inbound” to your company rather than you being “outbound” to their door. They come willingly rather than having to be beaten into submission by the unbearable din of endless ads and marketing campaigns.

Here’s the important thing most experts agree on:

Inbound marketing is cheaper and has a higher ROI than outbound marketing.

There are a lot of numbers floating around out there, but one source I tracked down says that Inbound leads are 62% cheaper than Outbound.

Getting back to that zero sum budget, why spend dollars on one method of lead generation when you can get 62% more sales using another method?

Do the Best Marketing Experts Use Outbound for Their Businesses?

Which method do real marketing experts choose to market their own businesses?

I bet you’re curious about that one, and so was I.  To find out how much the best marketing experts spend on outbound, and to learn what alternatives to outbound marketing are available for your business (not to mention learning when you have no choice but to use outbound), check out my article on this subject:

[ Entrepreneur’s Tips: Truth and Lies About Cold Calls, Cold Emails, and Advertising ]

 

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Truth and Lies About Cold Calls, Cold Emails, and Advertising
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4 Comments

  • I completely agree with you! In my ex company they relied too much on cold calling and cold emailing which had results here and there. Sadly we just started incorporating different funnels based on content that has a value but then I left and it seems that they are back to basics :O

    Funnels are key – give them valuable information – get them engaged – and then sell them. I think those are the steps everyone have to follow not vice versa.

    But when you are choosing between cold emailing or cold calling – which one would you choose?

    (for those who are still not sure what’s the difference: https://platformax.com/en/cold-emailing-vs-cold-calling-final-battle/ )

    • Tijana, given the choice and the requirement I have to pick one and not none (LOL), I would go with cold emailing. It’s a lot cheaper than cold calling, and you can at least do a warm call to whomever responds to the emails.

  • in a manufacturing business, can you provide examples of content marketing. a lot of people that we do business with we need to keep in touch with face to face. that makes growth difficult especially for a small business or startup.

    • Hi Jerry. First, let me differentiate contact with existing customers versus prospecting for new customers. All contact with existing customers is by definition “warm”.

      As far as content marketing examples in the Manufacturing world, two of my favorites are Sandvik’s “Yellow Coat” series and Haas also does extensive content marketing.

      Here’s another–ProtoLabs. Send them a CAD drawing, they’ll send you back a quote and you can get the parts made. They a bit more up the Job Shop alley. They have all sorts of content on how to make your designs cheaper to manufacture.

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