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The Art of Cold Emailing: Buyer Persona Research

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Let's face it , the idea of cold emailing potential clients sends chills up your spine.

Like it or not, the fact is that sending cold emails to your potential Business to Business (B2B) clients can be an extremely effective way to identify and connect with actual prospects.

Unfortunately, if you don’t know how to effectively send cold emails, it can be a complete waste of time.

The team at SalesHive doesn’t want to see you spin your wheels, and that's why we're kicking off our Cold Series, aimed at walking you through the process.

Start strengthening your skills, and boosting your confidence to ensure that your cold emailing tactics get off to a successful start.

Why You Should Bother Sending Cold Emails

What's the goal of sending B2B cold emails, anyway?

The simple answer is targeting and reeling in new potential customers. But in reality, it's more than that.  

Cold emailing is an exercise in confidence, organization, and relationship building. You may be thinking that once you send the initial email out to a prospect they should respond and show immediate interest in purchasing your product or service. The fact is that it simply doesn’t work that way.  

Before sending anything you need to know your prospect well enough to make a genuine connection and start a conversation.  

Once your conversation reaches a certain point, the prospect then becomes a qualified lead and more easily engageable. But, you have to put in the work of crafting better cold emails to spark their interest, and learn how to engage with them in conversation once the connection is established.

Where Do You Begin?

To start you must first develop your "buyer personas." 

Think about it this way:

If you were an author writing a novel, you need well-developed characters.

A character in a story with no details, development, depth, or thought isn't going to bring anything to the story and won't propel the action forward.  

Think of yourself as an author. Before you can write your story, you need to know your characters. 

You can’t create an effective cold email if you don’t know who you’re writing to, and this is where a fleshed out buyer persona comes in.

Creating a buyer persona

To create your buyer persona(s) you must do your homework - Simply knowing someone's title and email address is nowhere near enough. You need to gather and organize all the details that relate to your ideal prospects. This includes things like:

  • Company size 
  • Industry 
  • How your offering solves their challenges and brings value 
  • Geographic location  (if appropriate) 
  • Their current priorities
  • Their pain points 
  • The things that keep them up at night 
  • What they read 
  • What experts they follow 
  • What they talk about 

When you have your buyer personas built, you can start organizing your prospect lists by persona.

Take it a step further by reverse engineering your list of personas.

Once you have your list of pertinent information, you can build a list of contacts by doing research to find potential prospects that meet the criteria of each persona you've pieced together.

Get Inside Your Buyer's Head

Now you've got your list and you're ready to write, right?

Wrong. You're still not finished developing your characters. 

After you’ve created and segmented your list you need to learn more about your prospects, and that takes a bit of additional research.

You need to be able to answer these questions about your buyer: 

  • What are their pains? 
  • How do they measure their success? 
  • What are their career ambitions or goals? 
  • What keywords do they use? 

How do you actually do this research? 

Start by selecting 5-10 names from your list, find their LinkedIn profiles, and start to gather as much of this information as you can. Look at their background, their education, job experiences, and recommendations.

You’ll see certain keywords in common with all or most of them, and you’ll also be able to make note of their career path and trajectories. These are the keywords and themes to make note of for use in your emails. 

Next, do a full-on social media audit.

Visit their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media profiles to view their activity.

Skimming a prospect’s social channels will often reveal their interests, challenges, and pains. It's also worth taking the time to scan through online forums that are popular with, and visited by, the prospects on your list.

These forums will glean additional insights into their challenges, goals, and measurements of success.

Exercise

Let's put it all into action!

The below exercise will help you with buyer persona development skills so you can start seeing results from your cold email outreach.

  1. Select 5 names from your list
  2. Track down and review their LinkedIn profiles
  3. Look at their background, education, job experience, and recommendations
  4. Locate and scroll through their social media profiles
  5. Visit online forums that you feel fit these individuals' personalities to gain additional insights
  6. Write down and organize all of this information into a buyer profile 

Now you're almost ready to start writing some cold emails and connecting with potential prospects!

In Part 2 of our Cold Email Series, we discuss understanding your competition, knowing yourself and what you can offer, and some key rules for killer cold emails!