I like the History and Discovery channel way too much.
Last night was a replay of one of my favorite shows Expedition Unknown, and they were talking about real life vampires. My hero Josh Gates and their experts scoured Eastern Europe for the origin of the use of garlic to ward off vampires, blood sucking, and my favorite, the wooden stake. Turns out, the locals used wooden stakes to keep a body "stuck" in it's casket to not rise again. Unfortunately, most often these poor souls turned out to be folks that were mentally or physically ill and not vampires.
Sordid history aside, Halloween got me thinking of some sales and marketing practices that really need a stake in them. These are some myths we have seen that must die forever!
Email Blasting Scraped or Purchased Lists
Basically every startup uses this tactic. Not sales reps using lists to reach out, but using tools, domain spoofing, offshore resources, etc. to blast tens or hundreds of thousands of records at a time. Call it "cold emailing" or call it SPAM, but part of why it's popular is that in the law of large numbers, some tiny amount of success is bound to get founders thinking "It works!!." Here's why you shouldn't do this:
- It doesn't really work. Depending on the statistics you look at, the response rates can be as low as 0.2 - 8%, compared to 10-25% for targeted, personalized outreach.
- It affects your deliverability, even in the moment. If the systems see a bunch of non-personalized mail, it sends it to the spam filter.
- Your Email Service provider (ESP) can (and probably will) shut you off. If you haven't cleaned the emails using a tool like NeverBounce, you're going to have a high bounce rate, which will create a red flag at your ESP.
- It really is Spam. When you load emails in a 3rd party ESP they make you certify that you have permission to email the people you're loading. You don't.
- It burns trust with your prospects. Brand reputation is real, and hard to recover when lost.
Try this instead: Build a real email sequence, to prospects who really could use your product, with researched, personalized emails that demonstrate how your product can solve problems they are likely to have. Your results will improve and you'll save yourself some trouble and expense.
Cold Calling from a "Factory", whether on- or off-shore
Same as above. Your prospects just hang up on cold callers, because they recognize a rep that is just a warm body. There is a real proliferation of services offering cold outreach. I've recorded the results of a number of these, and have not seen consistently positive ROI yet. (Note the operative word consistently. Of course even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.)
Not only are you wasting money, but now those prospects are going to be more resistant to your other sales and marketing efforts.
Saying Inbound Marketing is Dead
Look, nomenclature is a funny thing. If you mean that the idea that just posting content for content's sake isn't getting the job done, I'd agree with you. But neither does advertising and outbound sales, which tends to be the growing trend in early stage SaaS right now. It's causing sky-high bids on Google, crowding other ad platforms, and creating confusion in the marketplace.
Try this instead: Using valuable, interesting content, delivered to the right people at the right time, with a way for them to interact back (forms, chat, re-targeting etc.) and nurturing buyers along their own path at their pace is still en vogue. Back in the day we just called this marketing. So maybe we should return to that.
How about you? What other tactics that need to be six feet under?