We consistently see one repeating scenario when it comes to generating app development and b2b leads in general:
You have a great and experienced team, but generating more leads and closing more clients is increasingly harder. You are great at building well-functioning things, but you are not great at marketing your skills.
So how do you solve this problem? There are several b2b techniques you can try to implement for generating more leads for your business. In our last article, we discussed how you can use referrals for more clients.
Let’s look at a study about the effectiveness of b2b marketing channels from MarketingCharts. We see that email marketing is clearly the most preferred lead generation strategy.
The reason for email being the preferred channel is not accidental. We are aware of the unique mix of inbound and outbound techniques an effective email campaign can include.
However, the reality is that many marketers shy away from cold email. Why? It’s caused by the sophisticated inbound marketing strategies that don’t force people to buy from you, but instead, they rely on your ability to attract people by the content you share. Sounds nicer than bombarding them with emails, right?
While inbound marketing is a great strategy for generating app development clients, and it’s something we do here at App Marketing Minds too, inbound is a long term strategy (and expensive). Do you need to get new clients to your business this month, or this week? Outbound email might be the right channel for you.
To clarify, outbound emailing is not referring to spamming thousands of businesses. Firstly, there are regulations preventing email spam in pretty much every country.
Instead, we’ll show you how to reach out to relevant businesses through a personalized email, offering genuine value to their business.
You might ask, how can I offer value through a cold email? Cold emails are annoying!
You will give value to your recipients through the offer of your product and service. Based on your research, you will see who is suitable for your offer and who is not. This way, you will reach out only to people who will genuinely benefit from your services.
So why should you try outbound email marketing?
- It’s predictable
- Emails are scalable
- You can continuously analyze and iterate
- Emails can bypass the gatekeeper
In this post, we’ll look at the following ways to generate app development clients using email:
- How to segment your target audience
- Email copy optimization
- Automating lead generation
1. Your audience of prospects for app development needs to be carefully segmented
It goes without saying that like with any marketing strategy, you need to know who you want to target. Putting the right offer in front of the right audience at the right time is the difference between a successful and a failed campaign.
Proper segmentation will allow you to niche down to your audience that provides the most return on your investment. You will also a the chance to A/B test different segments and see who is likes different kinds of offers the most. Knowing what segments drive your sales will allow you to scale your marketing efforts in the most profitable direction.
So how do you segment? You should have two processes for segmenting your potential clients.
Firstly, consider the following:
- who are your current clients?
- from what industries or verticals do your clients come?
- what industries need apps now and in the future?
- what current client segment is giving you the best ROI?
- where is likely to be a big shift in demand for mobile apps? Example: Studies show that retail customers are highly dissatisfied with mobile websites, and that retail apps can convert up to three times more. This clearly shows a new trend where app development clients can be found.
Secondly, you want to focus on a specific segment within that group of businesses. You can niche down based on:
- Geography – focusing on one area and winning key app development projects will allow you to leverage social proof
- Their specialization
Lastly, you need to determine who to contact in the organization. Who has the power to make decisions about long-term projects, or who has access to people in a position to make decisions? The type of person that will be contacted by you will depend on the business and industry you want to target. But broadly, here are some ideas…
Who to contact?
- The decision maker. This is the person that is directly responsible for making decisions about the project you want to propose
- Someone above the decision maker. Especially in larger organizations, the CEOs might not have time to deal with you, so they will simply forward your message down to the appropriate person
- Gatekeeper. You are most likely to find a gatekeeper’s email address. This is the person that has access to the decision maker.
- Anyone in the company. These emails, usually sent at scale with little personalization don’t tend to work too well. Businesses receive a couple of these random emails per day, and are often deleted straight away.
You will spend time and money to segment your market, write email copy, and find the appropriate person to contact. Given all this, the last thing you want is for your email to go directly to trash and lose a possible client for app development.
Hence, you need to optimize your email copy.
2. Optimize copy
There is a lot of content about cold email out there on the internet. Some of it is excellent material, but a lot of the guides seem to go for a quick and easy ‘win’ with their audience. Marketers looking for information (and people in general) want quick answers to their questions, and even quicker fixes to their problems.
They want solutions, and they want them now. Hence, a lot of the content about email makes two huge mistakes.
- Not enough information about subject lines
- Email templates
How to create great subject lines to win more clients
If you really want to generate more leads for your app development business, you need to have your subject lines optimized. It’s simple. If your subject line is suboptimal, your email copy, research about each prospect, call to action, offer, the resources attached and even your website are completely irrelevant! The recipient simply won’t open your email if the subject line is not enticing enough.
From our outbound campaigns and from testing hundreds of different subject lines, here are the underlying factors of success that you need to do:
- Personalize subject lines. If possible, include prospect’s name, organization and something specific about them.
- Use questions. Intriguing questions will make the reader keen to find out more. Make sure the question is something your reader would want to know. If the question is irrelevant, you’ll fail.
- Frontload benefits. If you target a segment of potential clients where the need for your app development solution is vital, stating the main benefits up-front in the subject line can work much better
- Intrigue. Similarly to a question, make them want to know more. Common statements and variations of this can be: ‘we included you in our report’ or ‘this is what we found about [company name], ‘are you still making this mistake?’
Creating outreach emails for app development leads
The ubiquitous amount of email templates you can find literally anywhere online are a good start. But never use the exact email template you find. Your emails must be unique and specific to your audience and offer.
Similarly to subject lines, all your previous efforts can fall just because of a bad email copy. Taking necessary time and testing is therefore absolutely necessary.
Here are the best practices for an effective email:
- Personalize. Once again, include the person’s name, their company and information about them too
- Get to the point. Nobody wants to read long emails! Let alone from someone they don’t know. The person reading your emails is most likely aware that you want to sell them something down the line. And people hate being sold to.
- Keep it relatively short. Ideally, 3 short paragraphs of about 2-3 sentences each. Depending on how you approach it, you still need to communicate enough value so they reply. However, you should test the length.
- Clear and simple call to action. There must be a very simple question (or statement) regarding next steps. You must keep it very simple and straightforward. Include date, time and how you want to contact them.
- Social proof. Did you conclude a project with someone relevant to them, such as their competitor or someone well-known in the industry? Tell them briefly about the project and the end result benefits.
- Keep the next step extremely simple. Forget about calendar scheduling tools. Your prospect’s answer or the next step should be a very simple YES or NO. The more complicated the process will be, the more likely it is they won’t do it, or even acknowledge that they read your email. Your potential app development clients don’t know you and they haven’t receive any value from you yet. Why should they invest too much of their time into something you want to tell them.
The 2 biggest mistakes that are costing you more projects
Now, probably the biggest mistake with outbound emails we see is selling your app development services in the first email. This is a grave mistake. Closing and carrying out an app development project is not an easy and short process, and it’s very unlikely the prospect was thinking about building an app in the first place.
Because of this, you can’t sell your services straight off the bat. Instead, sell the next step.
This is tied to the second mistake we see. You need to make a statement of low commitment. The person reading the email doesn’t know you, and is not sure what to expect. Because of this, make sure to explicitly say that they don’t need to worry. You can include statements such ‘to see if there is a potential fit between us’.
This clearly communicates that they don’t need to worry about some sales person trying to make them sign a contract on the next call.
3. Automating the process
The greatest advantage of using emails is the ability to scale for a mere fraction in comparison to other outbound techniques. What’s even better, outbound emailing tools are progressively more sophisticated.
The outbound process can be automated by using both, manual research and automation tools together. These are the steps in of the whole outbound process:
- Prospecting – finding the right people to reach out to
- Research – finding key information about the prospect, their company or industry news to use in the email
- Outreach – sending first and follow up emails
- Sales-hand off – a sales rep will respond to any questions via email or attend to the next steps described in the email
After you clearly selected who you want to target, you need to find your prospects. There is a variety of outbound prospecting strategies that allow you to find people based on their position, company size and so on. Try the following and test what gives you the best results:
- Comprehensive lead generation tools such as leadspace
- Tools for digging up information about a specific individual, such rocketreach
- Or tools for sourcing prospects directly from the largest database of business individuals, such as salesloft
Creating a well researched and personalized copy is going to boost your conversions. You will show that you are not simply spamming millions of people. Again, you will personalize it depending on the industry, but you might focus on aspects that would make them interested in your app development solutions.
You should dig out the information about the person, such as:
- Their role and tasks they carry out
- Their blog posts
- Their media appearances
You need to find information about their organization too. For instance, the company news, media mentions and so on. Given that this information is crucial for your campaign, make sure to follow their social media channels, monitor their website or blog for relevant information, or simply do a Google search about their company.
Storing information about each prospect can be simply carried out in Excel or Google sheets. The next section will cover how to plug this information into an emailing platform, but for now, this is a great way to store information about potential clients for app development.
Next, after you conducted research, you can also input the extra information you research to the sheet. Now it’s important to understand how will your emails be drafted.
You want to input the extra information in a way it will appear in a sentence of the actual email. For instance, the email will read:
Hi [FIRST NAME],
I really enjoyed your latest blog post about [CUSTOM INFORMATION GOES HERE].
As you see from the example, the information we put into excel must naturally flow into the sentence and not create any errors with the sentence’s syntax. So let’s imagine we want to mention a post about how to create viral loops. The sentence in the email can read: about ‘how to create viral applications’.
The information would be in the same way entered into the sheet
Keep gathering data
If they respond to your email, keep on top of the news about their organization by creating Google Alerts. Think about how the information will help you to close an app development deal with the prospect. Setting up alerts is extremely simple and will allow you to use data in your favour when it comes to creating proposals and closing the deal.
Creating Google Alerts is easy, you simply enter the phrase you want to monitor on the web, and receive notifications when new information appears.
The next step is to send out the emails. Again there are many tools that can do this for you. Such as:
You can find many similar tools, they will differ in functionality and price. However, the process described above is a basic feature all decent outbound emailing tools will have.
You will be able to seamlessly integrate your own database of leads and information with these tools, so each email will appear as if it was sent to one individual, after a thorough research. The tools mentioned above will also allow you to create follow up sequences.
The outbound emailing tools will allow you to match the data from your cells with their email templates. So each prospect will receive an email with their name, organization and the information you researched.
Lastly, don’t leave any money on the table. This is why you need to follow up!
Follow-ups are extremely important, so make sure you do remind people that you emailed them. Again, do this intelligently with personalization, and testing the copy. Lastly, while checking up on your email is great for sales, don’t over do it. Remember that they didn’t opt-in for your mailing list, so space out follow-upw up emails and follow up to 3 times in the next 10-14 days after the first email.
Great, your potential client has responded and now it’s time to work towards your end goal. Set-up the reply address to be of people in charge of handling sales, and deliver on your promise explained in the email.
Remember to reply and follow up with them as soon as they show interest. Replying to b2b leads within the first hour can actually increase your conversion 7-times.
Lastly, plug your prospects into your CRM and start the lead nurturing process. Educate them about your services and app development, and how will your solution help their business.
Sometimes the pipeline of hot leads dries up, even for very skilled developers. Because of this, having a process in place that will keep new leads coming in is vital, for survival and growth of your business.
Do you have anything to add to this post? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!