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Inbound Success Podcast

What do the most successful inbound marketers do to get great results?

You’ve heard the stories about companies using inbound marketing to dramatically increase sales, grow their business, and transform their customer relationships, but not everyone who practices inbound marketing knocks it out of the park.

If you want to know what goes into building a world class inbound marketing campaign that gets real, measurable results, check out the Inbound Success podcast. Every week, host Kathleen Booth interviews marketing folks who are rolling up their sleeves, doing the work, and getting the kinds of results we all hope to achieve.

The goal is to “peel back the onion” and learn what works, what doesn’t and what you need to do to really move the needle with your inbound marketing efforts. This isn’t just about big picture strategy – it’s about getting actionable tips and insights that you can use immediately in your own marketing.

Aug 26, 2019

How does Alex Berman consistently get sales appointments and land deals with billion dollar brands?

This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Experiment27 Chairman Alex Berman pulls back the curtain on the email strategy he uses to close deals with Fortune 500 companies. From identifying your target audience, to developing an offer and writing cold emails, Alex goes into detail on his campaign blueprint and shares how both he and his clients have used it to win business.

Highlights from my conversation with Alex include:

  • If you want to get in front of big brands, Alex recommends that you start by identifying industries where you've had strong performance or a great track record.
  • Then develop a "no brainer offer" for other businesses in that industry.
  • Alex says that enterprise level companies want to see that you've done work with other companies of their size and in their industry. If you can nail those two things, then cracking into big companies becomes much easier.
  • If you don't have a relevant track record, he suggests going after a smaller company in that industry and then gradually working your way up in company size. 
  • Once you have identified the industry you are targeting and you have your no brainer offer, the next step is to build a landing page for it. Alex recommends creating four different variations of the landing page and testing to see which performs best.
  • When it comes time to email the target audience, use a short subject line. Alex says "Quick question" performs best for him.
  • The first sentence of the email is then a custom compliment aimed at the recipient (the emails are one-to-one). Alex has found that adding this in produces 10X the responses.
  • That is then followed by a one sentence case study highlighting work you've done for a similar company in the same industry, and a pitch to meet with the recipient.
  • Start by testing different subject lines with small audiences of 50 to 100 people to see which ones work best. The goal is to get a subject line that has an open rate of 80% or greater.
  • Alex generally strives for a 4% meeting book rate (so, four meetings or every 100 emails sent).
  • Alex likes to test different times for sending emails, but has found in general that Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 10 am works best.
  • The strategy that Alex uses works best for companies that sell a product or service valued at $1,000 or more. Below that, Alex says that a company is better off using Facebook ads.
  • The biggest mistakes that companies make when implementing this strategy are outsourcing it, not customizing the emails correctly, and giving up too soon. It can take several tries at testing to land on a really powerful subject line and offer, and the best marketers are the ones that stick with it.

Resources from this episode:

Listen to the podcast to get the details on Alex's email campaign blueprint and learn how to use it to close deals with your target prospects.


Kathleen Booth (Host): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast.

I'm your host Kathleen Booth, and today my guest is Alex Berman who is the chairman of Experiment27. Welcome, Alex.

Alex Berman (Guest): Thanks for having me, Kathleen.

Alex Berman and Kathleen Booth
Alex and Kathleen recording this episode together .

Kathleen: Yeah you know, I was intrigued to read your background and your profile. It talks about how you help clients get meetings with billion dollar brands. So like, land the big whales, if you will, and I'm really excited to talk to you about that, but before we dig into it, will you just give my listeners a little bit of background on who you are, what you do, and what Experiment27 is?

About Alex Berman and Experiment27

Alex: Sure. So Experiment27 is part of a bigger holding company that I run. X27 does "done for you" lead generation. So we help companies match with billion dollar brands, but then we also have Email 10K which is of course where people it for it, or they can do it themselves following the course, and there's also consulting for advanced entrepreneurs, but we just kind of help them with lead generation.

So basically, if it has something to do with lead generation in the business to business space, that is my specialty. We've been doing this for almost a decade now, and also I run a YouTube channel where we have I think over 28,000 subs, and all we do is post about free business to business sales training.

Kathleen: Oh, I love it. And how did you get to be such an expert in lead gen?

Alex: A lot of trial and error. It's the same thing that we talk about ... I mean, it's like any marketing channel where the first time you try lead gen, the first I tried it I tried it all wrong. I was spamming a lot of people. I didn't have the offer down, and what I learned is by sending in small batches and by customizing the messages, it allows you to get a lot more feedback quicker, and if you're able to get feedback quicker, you're able to improve the emails constantly.

So the main thing that I teach is it's an iterative process of testing a campaign, sending it out there, seeing what the results are, improving it, and then getting a new list of leads that hasn't seen the previous campaign and testing that optimized campaign with email, and then continuing to improve that over and over again.

And what that allows you to do is, one, you can get a bunch of sales with cold email which is really cool, but the other thing it does is it really strengthens your offer. So when you do use inbound, you use social media, you use YouTube like we do, it makes the offer that much more likely to convert.

Designing Marketing Campaigns That Target Billion Dollar Brands

Kathleen: Hm. So walk me through this. If I am a marketer, and I come to you, and I say, "I'm looking to reach people at these huge companies," the billion dollar brands that you talk about, those can be hard target markets to crack into. Walk me through your process from beginning to end if you're going to do this for me.

Alex: Sure. So if you're an established company, the first thing I'm going to do is ask what case studies you have and what sort of companies you've worked with in the past.

And from there, what I want to do is try to find patterns. So for instance, a lot of our clients are software as a service businesses or services businesses where, let's say, you had a good case study with a potato chip company like a consumer packaged goods company. Then what we're going to do is create an offer just around that company. I call it a no-brainer offer, and what we want to do is come up with an offer that is so good that people can't say no.

For instance, for lead generation which is what I sell, it might be something like we're gonna book ten meetings in the next week with people in your ideal customer base, or we're going to give you the money back. Something like that is what we really want to nail down in an ideal situation, and you could do it across ditches like video production we help some people. Usually it's coming up with either a video idea that they like or their money back or coming up with a list of what the video is going to be like bullet points, an outline.

From there, once you have the no-brainer offer, it's writing that in a way that highlights the case study, and we could talk about this in a second what to actually put in that email because it's very similar to what we put in Facebook ads when we do that too. But once you have that no-brainer offer and you frame it in a way that is extremely niche specific, then you test it in the market and see what they say.

What I've found is with enterprise companies, what they want to see is ... they want to see you've done work with the companies of their size, and they want to see that you've done work with companies that are very similar, as similar as possible, to them. If you can nail those two things, then you're all set to scale the enterprise. If not, I would not approach someone like a Fortune 500 but instead go after people that are $5+ million in revenue, and then try to get one of those smaller case studies that you can then leverage to get these large enterprises.

How To Get Started

Kathleen: Okay, so that was going to be my question which is, obviously everybody's got to start somewhere. So, it sounds like what you're saying is you start within the same industry or product service, vertical, but you just start with a smaller firm. Correct?

Alex: Exactly. So one mistake that a lot of companies make, even big enterprises, is they don't have marketing that's specific for one vertical. So for instance, let's say you're running a software as a service business and you're crushing it with live events, and you're also crushing it with CPG, or you're also crushing it with retail. They will be sending all three of those customers to the exact same funnel, they exact same website.

So one of the things that we focus on is not only separating the marketing, so we'll have three different websites for each of those, or one different website for each one of those verticals.

Kathleen: A full website, not just a landing page?

Alex: Well, a landing page is basically a website.

Kathleen: Or a microsite, a microsite. Okay.

Alex: It's like a microsite, it's a one or two page site. Usually it's just a headline, some kind of testimonial, some case studies, and then the contact form. Maybe a breakdown of the services.

But yeah, and then it's not just coming up with that, but it's coming up with three or four of those options and then testing all four in the market, seeing which one gets the best response, and then only at that point doubling and tripling down on the marketing. Because a lot of entrepreneurs, they have a theory for what their customer looks like, or they have a theory, even if they've been running a business 10-15 years, they kind of know who their customers are, but they actually haven't done a real analysis and figured out one, who are the customers that will be most successful when using this, and then two, who are the customers that I actually make the most money from?

And it's cool to do that analysis and then also compare it to which one of these offers actually gets people to buy most often, and then hopefully you find an overlap there. If not, you need to do more research.

Developing An Email Outreach Strategy

Kathleen: Okay, so you craft the offer, you develop your case study, and then you're sending ... it sounds like you're starting with an initial email. Is that right?

Alex: Yeah. It's normally a short email. We can breakdown what the email says if you want.

Kathleen: Yeah, let's do it. I love to get as specific as possible.

Alex: Okay. So the first thing that I like to test is the subject line. Normally I'll just say if people are writing their first email from scratch, I would say just go with "quick question" because I've sent over 2 million emails now, and that one still outperforms cross niche. So the highest chance to get an open rate is with "quick question." So sending that as a subject line's good.

Then what we do is the first sentence of the email is a custom compliment towards the person's business, and this is not something you can outsource, this is not something that you can kind of fake, especially at the enterprise level. It needs to be a custom compliment, and it sounds something like, "Hey Kathleen, really love your Inbound Success Podcast. Long time listener. Love the interview you did with Alex Berman." Just something like that.

Or if it's someone at Sony like, "Hey," director of marketing name, "congrats on the Q4 growth. Loved the latest earnings report." You know, just something that's very specific to their business, and what that does is it gets them to keep reading the next part which is the one sentence case study which usually goes like ... Let's say you are talking to Sony, and you worked with ... Who's a competitor to Sony? Like Hitachi.

So that custom compliment. So, "Hey, I really love what you're doing with Sony. Love the Q4 growth. We just wrapped a project with Hitachi where we optimized their entire backend, and we were able to generate a 14% increase in," I don't know like new user engagement or whatever you guys did. "We'd love to do the same for Sony. Are you around for a quick call later this week? Let me know, and I can send over a couple times."

Kathleen: You know, and I can serve as a testimonial to the fact that this approach works because all right, I'm going to actually read the email that you sent pitching me for the podcast which totally follows your formula. So the subject line was "Huge fan," and you said, "Hey, Kathleen. Just listened to your interview with Sangram Vajre from Terminus, and I was really impressed with the idea of using AI to fit data and automatically build landing pages and ABM campaigns for prospects."

That was the initial compliment line, and then you said, "It would be incredible to come on your show as a guest. I run a YouTube channel with over 23,000 subscribers and have been on more than 100 podcasts including," and then you listed some out.

So totally following the format you just described which is awesome. I love that you practice what you preach, and it worked, and I got back to you and said, "Yes!" So there you have it.

Alex: Yeah. We practice what we preach because every other way is inefficient.

Like okay, what I found is when we started doing the personal lines, when we started doing that we got a ten times increase. I know it takes more time. That might have taken four or five minutes. Like I had to look up that podcast episode, we had to listen to part of the episode and figure out what it was, and then after we booked, I did check out the actual episode so I wasn't lying.

That all takes time, for sure, but the response boost is worth it, and the conversion rate increase which you might not even see when you send the emails out, but you'll see it like three, four months later.

The number of people that work with you or get you on their podcast or whatever from an email like that is much higher than one of these generic cold emails that people are sending out.

Kathleen: Absolutely. Now, you mentioned ... I love that you have this formulaic approach. I mean, it's formulaic, but it's like customized formulaic I would say. It's a blueprint more so than a copy and paste. So you apply this blueprint to the email, and you mentioned sending it out to a smaller group in the beginning. So define small.

Alex: Small would be anywhere from ... So you want to make sure you get enough data. I would say a minimum of 50 people, a maximum of 100 people with a pitch like this. And what you want to test is a few things.

So for instance, what was the subject line that you just read?

Kathleen: Huge fan.

Alex: Huge fan, okay. So huge fan might have been iteration number four or five, and the first thing that we're looking for is, and by the way this is all broken down in our course, Email 10K, What we want to do is you want to find the subject line that gets over an 80% open rate. So for instance, for podcasts if you open that, that's amazing. Quick question might have gotten under 80% so that was optimized out.

When we were sending to breweries, actually the one that won when we were doing ... It was digital marketing for breweries in the United States, it was a beer emoji, and when we were sending to the entertainment companies like Netflix and TV Land and stuff like that, what was booking meetings was, "I was born to work with HBO," or "I was born to work with your company."

Benchmarking Success

Alex: So that is found through ... Yeah, just hardcore testing. 100 at a time. That's the first thing you're looking for is ... Well two things you're looking for, one is are people opening the email? You want at least an 80% open rate before you even touch anything else, and then two, are the emails any good? Meaning if you get a super high bounce rate then you're going to want to change the way you're finding leads.

Kathleen: Now quick clarifying question on that. So you're testing these subject lines. Are you testing simultaneously different subject lines with different small audiences, or are you testing sequentially? Like, you send one, it doesn't work, you send another one?

Alex: Sequentially's usually enough. Because the numbers that we're talking about ... So what you want is an 80% open rate. You want at least a 4% meeting book rate. So every 100 emails, you're getting 4 people signed up. So when you're dealing with numbers like that, it's a little easier to see when things are failing or they're succeeding. You'll be able to see pretty quick because you're either going to get a 14% open rate or like a 30%, or it's going to be 90. Right? And that's ... You're really going for those major win emails.

Kathleen: All right. So it sounds like shorter subject lines work really well also.

Alex: It completely depends on the niche. What I've found is in some niches, yeah, "quick question" works really well, shorter subject lines work really well, and that's because your custom compliment can be seen. If you look at Gmail or even Outlook, you'll see the subject line, and then you'll see that first line of the email. So if you have even just "Quick Q," which also works pretty well, they see that subject line, but then they also see the first line of the email before they open.

So a good first line also will improve open rates.

Testing Email Copy

Kathleen: Yeah, that makes sense. So all right, you test this out, you land on a good subject line. You already have the body copy within the email written. Are you testing that as well?

Alex: Yeah. So the main thing I want to make sure first is the subject line gets over 80% before we touch anything to do with the body. I would stick to the exact template that we talked about earlier. That's the baseline template, and then from there if 80% of the people are opening, and you're getting ... Usually it's about 20% reply or less, then we're rewriting the body of the email. Usually it's messing around with the case studies or messing around with the personalized compliments. A lot of people when they first start the compliments, they either go too far in one direction.

So for instance, if I was sending this email to you and I had pointed out something specific about the Terminus podcast and written this long paragraph to you, the chances that that would work, especially to an enterprise level company, would be very level. But what people are trying to find and what we're trying to find is you want a compliment that's short enough but it's not super creepy. Like, you don't want it to look like you did a crazy amount of research.

Kathleen: Yeah, you're stalking them.

Alex: Yeah, exactly. But you also don't want it to be too generic. So part of it is finding that balance.

How Long To Run Email Tests

Kathleen: Now how long do you wait after you send those initial emails out to kind of close the test? Because obviously, I don't know, in my experience I find that some people look at their email right away, and then for other people it could be a day or two, and they might still open it. What's the right amount of time for that?

Alex: After seeing hundreds of these campaigns, it's kind of evolved a little bit because I don't want it to say ... Like, the gut feeling is we should wait a couple days on our tests. What I've found is when a campaign works, it works so well that you can tell after like three or four hours.

Kathleen: Wow.

Alex: Especially if you're sending at the right times. For instance, the best time I've found actually is a couple hours before this. It's like Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 10:00AM Eastern time is usually the best because it overlaps early morning Pacific, and then the other best time is later in the afternoon. So like 3:00 Pacific so you hit like 3:00-4:00PM Pacific.

Kathleen: Okay.

Alex: But if you're sending on those times, you should be able to see opens and engages. And then the other thing I'll do sometimes with replies is, and this is a little bit of an advanced tactic, but if someone does reply to your email and you're trying to follow up, you can see when they reply and then queue your followups to go out whenever they're checking their emails.

Kathleen: Yeah, there's actually a great platform that we've used called Seventh Sense that does that for you which is pretty cool. It just tracks email open times, and then it develops a personal send time for everybody in your database. It's like magic.

Alex: Yeah no, it's sick. Because I just sent 50 followups the other day, and it was crazy. Some people only do emails at like 3:00AM Pacific, or maybe they'll do emails at like midnight.

Kathleen: Yeah. Yeah.

Alex: You just can't tell.

Kathleen: So if you have such a short amount of turnaround time that's necessary to conclude a test, it sounds like you can go through this entire process within a week.

Alex: You can, and one of the things that I talk to new entrepreneurs about is especially when you're starting your business or if you have a business for a while and you're trying to find what market is worth investing in for your inbound, I would run 10-20 tests. Just even test different offers and different positions within that.

Like before you even deal with optimizing or making sure the subject line works or whatever, stick to that basic template of "quick question" and write an email, and then write 10 different emails for 10 different offers. Like maybe one is selling your company like you only work with chip manufacturers. Or only work with software as a service startups, whatever. Just doing what we talked about with the case studies.

Because what I've found is one of those ten, or even two of those ten, are going to blow away all the other tests, and then you only focus on those two.

Kathleen: And then you just slightly change the contents to adjust for different industries and roll it out?

Alex: The ... Yeah, you change the one sentence case study. So we just worked with this company, and we did this thing.

Following Up On The Initial Email Send

Kathleen: Okay, great. So I love this format. So is there something that comes after the email iterations, or is that it? That brings in the meetings?

Alex: That brings in the ... So there are followups on top of it. One, and I broke all of these down in the course, but one is just like, "Hey, I'm sure you're busy and wanted to make sure this didn't get buried." That's a couple days later. Then the third one is, I call it like the big win. So something like, "Hey, we just had a big win working with this solar manufacturer we did that ..." like basically a second one sentence case study, and then asking them for another call like, "Hey, we'd love to talk. If you're around ..." I always try to end emails with question marks, too.

Kathleen: Yeah.

Alex: "Would you mind if I sent over a few times for a quick call?" is how I'll usually end them. Or I'll just say, "Let's talk?"

Alex's Results

Kathleen: Great. You teach this method, you've done this with different clients. Talk me through what kinds of results you've seen, and is it specific to a certain type of business or industry or company size?

Alex: Is it specific ... So anyone that sells to people that check their emails. That's ... This is what I like to think about, so-

Kathleen: A narrow target audience.

Alex: It's narrow ... Well so if you think about it though like some businesses aren't good for this. So for instance what I found is loans or mortgages aren't really good because with those you just have to hit so many people that Facebook ads is a better thing. Used cars is also not a good niche for this. But most of the B2B.

Anyone that's selling to manufacturers or anyone that works in an office. Things like that are best for this sort of thing. Revenue size I've found does not matter. We've met with most of the Fortune 500 for our clients and for ourselves, and we've met with smaller ... Like everyone from local businesses up to billion dollar brands this is good for.

I try to avoid companies under $5 million in revenue because I mean, I like dealing with people that can actually afford this service. I don't like dealing with local businesses.

Kathleen: Yeah, yeah. But I guess a local business could presumably take your class or if they heard this they could test out executing it for themselves. They could DIY.

Alex: Yeah, for sure.

Okay, so what businesses are benefiting from this?

Kathleen: Yeah.

Alex: I thought you were talking about what businesses are worth selling to.

Kathleen: Oh, oh, oh, oh. Yes. Okay, got you. Yes.

Alex: So what businesses are benefiting from this? It's usually any sort of business that has a higher ticket. Because this sort of thing like we're talking about, we're personalizing the emails. Every single email, it takes a decent amount of time. So I would say if your cost is under $1,000 per user, it's probably not worth doing this. You should probably do like Facebook ads or something.

But if you're selling a service, like my background is selling mobile apps to the enterprise so we're used to selling $100,000 apps, or like $200,000 applications, websites, that sort of stuff, or even a lot of our clients will sell like $25,000 packages, $30,000 packages. Cold email is perfect for those.

Kathleen: Great. Okay. So considered purchases, if you will. High dollar value sales.

Alex: High dollar value sales, and sometimes they're not considered. I mean, you get the right no-brainer offer. Our initial marketing reviews were $8,500, and we would sell those after a couple weeks, and then that would just go into the retainers. It all depends on the type of client you're going after. Right? Because like for Sony, or for Home Depot or whoever, like $8,500 is very small.

Kathleen: Yeah, that is not a considered purchase for them. Very good point. So talk me through the results that your clients are seeing with this, and how long does it take to see those results?

Alex: So if you get an email right off the bat ... I actually just saw something in our private Facebook group this morning, some guy sold ... his name was Mark O, he sold $4,500 and then $4,000 off a month like two days after starting, but that's when everything goes perfectly if you get the offer right.

If you're willing to put in the time and you're willing to test and you're willing to be wrong 9, 10, 11 times and just keep going back and iterating, I mean it could work pretty quick. It 100% depends on how fast you are, how intuitive you are with the data, and then how much you're willing to actually put into it because a lot of people, they find cold emailing extremely boring, and I did too until ... I had to purposely reframe each email as, "Okay, this email's worth $3. This email's worth $5," like whatever, like I had to reframe it just to get myself to actually work because it is super tedious work.

Kathleen: Yeah, but it sounds like it gets easier over time.

Alex: It does, and it gets faster. And once you have an offer, it's much better. The hardest part and the thing where you can get stuck for months at a time is trying to find the way that your business should be positioned to get massive amounts of money, and I know it sounds kind of weird, but it's like there is a way to frame any business where it becomes a no-brainer for clients, and then everything else becomes easy.

And if you're not at that point where it feels easy and things are like going, until you've been there it's hard to describe it, but there's ... And you'll see it once you get it. There's such a difference between a business that works and a business that just kind of works.

Kathleen: Hm. Interesting. Well I love it. 10x improvements like you were talking about are certainly attractive, and the fact that you can do all of this in a week is also very attractive. It's just it sounds like it's really just a matter of time and elbow grease.

Alex: Yeah, and if you compare it to something like Facebook ads, like we run Facebook ads as well, and it's a similar strategy where you're filming 10-20 ads and putting budget behind all of them. Those actually take time to get the data in, and it costs money. Right, if you compare it to something like cold email, all that costs is time which for some people is money, but if you're a new entrepreneur and you're not charging like $700 an hour, it's not that much money.

Common Mistakes Businesses Make When Targeting Big Brands

Kathleen: Yeah. Now what do you see as the most common mistakes that people make when trying to do this?

Alex: First most common mistake is they think they can outsource it all, and they don't want to do the customization. I recommend against that, especially in this initial ... the hardest phase, the research phase. Once you have something that works, you can scale pretty easy. They try to outsource too early, too.

They customize in the wrong way. A lot of our clients are ... well actually, not a lot of our clients. Some of our clients are international. And so English isn't the greatest for them. Even if they come from like Germany or some Western country. So framing that compliment in a way that doesn't come off as like too crazy is actually something that I struggle with a lot with our coaching clients. That's number two.

And then number three would be giving up too soon. And actually giving up too soon/settling too soon. Because you might try three tests, and like test one and test two book zero meetings, and then test three books two meetings. Then you might be like, "oh, I'm going to put my entire business onto test three," when really if you had tested like four or five more times, you might have sent an email that got eight meetings.

Kathleen: Yeah. How do you know when to stop testing?

Alex: So I would never stop testing. I know even with our ... so with the course part of our business, we spend 30% of our revenue on research and development. So just testing new ads and doing all that stuff outside of scale. I would never stop testing. It's always surprising. What we saw our add to cart cost go from $100 to $6 this week just by testing a new series of ads.

Kathleen: Wow. That's crazy.

Alex: Right? You can only get those improvements by constantly throwing stuff out there and seeing what works.

Kathleen: Yeah. Very cool. And I love how specific you've been just in terms of sharing guidance on the actual wording of subject lines that works and the wording of some of the emails. It's really helpful.

If somebody wants to try this, how do you recommend narrowing down your list? Because a lot of the people I know ... You said send it to 50 or 100 people. A lot of the people I know have lists that are much larger than that. Is it just literally a matter of, "All right, I'm going to export this list of 10,000 people, and I'm just going to take the first 100," or is there some other way ... Do you start with like a certain subpopulation?

Alex: So what I would do is if you have an inbound list, I would actually ignore it for now. So you have marketing that works for your inbound list, right? Keep that going. What I would actually do is go over to Upwork or go over to LinkedIn and just start making lists of your ideal clients. I would send 100 cold. I would make a list of these people cold instead of going through the people that are subscribed.

Because what you want is you test with the cold traffic where you can quickly iterate, and then once you have something that's working with those cold people, then you can take it back to your main list, and you know it'll work versus burning your main list on an offer that may or may not be okay.

Kathleen: Do you have any concerns around if somebody does that, jeopardizing their sender score just because people hitting spam or what have you?

Alex: Yeah, so normally ... And actually if you "Alex Berman how to avoid the spam box," on YouTube, I broke it down. But normally I'll recommend starting with a brand new domain for cold email, and then you warm it up over like two weeks. You subscribe to some newsletters, you make it seem like a normal email, and actually I would have a different domain for your cold emails, a different domain for your inbound like your email list emails, and a third domain ... actually even a third and fourth domain. Like third domain for cold ad traffic lists, right just in case, because spam is an issue there. And even a fourth domain for just customer communication. That way you protect everything. You keep it all super segmented.

Kathleen: Does that get really confusing?

Alex: Not for me. I mean, for our ads we've got like, like is our other list. It's all pretty easy.

Kathleen: And I'm assuming they all redirect at some point to...?

Alex: They all redirect ... Yeah they all go to my normal inbox.

Kathleen: Okay, got you. Very helpful. All right.

Alex: It's a good way to protect your sender score there. Because what you'll also do is a lot of times if you want to test a bunch of different cold email campaigns also, you might, and what I make people consider a lot is you might want to buy a domain for each one of these different niches as well, and then that domain will just redirect to a website that's specific for that niche.

The Impact of GDPR

Kathleen: Do you worry at all with European like GDPR rules and the increasing focus on doing something similar in the US, do you worry at all that that approach is going to get tougher to use because cold emailing will begin to become disallowed essentially under regulations?

Alex: If it's illegal, I recommend not doing it. What I've found is there's always a place for a personalized compliment. The personalizing the emails thing is ... that's what increases our response rate, and it's also what takes it out of the spammy territory. We're not sending messages to 10,000 people. We're not robocalling. It's nothing crazy like that. But I would ... Yeah, if you're in like ... Especially if you're in Europe or the UK or Canada or Australia, definitely consult a lawyer before working with someone like us or doing anything related to this.

Kathleen: Yeah, it is getting-

Alex: As far as I know, in America it's totally good so far except for maybe California is a little iffy right now.

Kathleen: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. But it's interesting the direction everything's heading. It'll be interesting to see where it goes.

Okay. Well-

Alex: It will be, but it's not like these go away. You can use these same strategies ... Once you get this testing strategy down, you can use it for Facebook ads, you can use it for cold LinkedIn messages. You can use it for text messages. You can use it at events just like testing your elevator pitch at events. It's all the same kind of thing. Just taking words and trying to test the way that you're phrasing things to find ... it's almost unlocking a lock. You want to find a way of wording your business that gets people to buy.

How To Learn More About Alex's Strategy

Kathleen: Yeah. I love all of this. You've mentioned a couple things like you have a course and you have a YouTube channel. Can you say a few words about if somebody's intrigued and wants to learn more, where they can go to find more information?

Alex: Sure. If you want us to do this for you, I would actually just start at the YouTube channel, will go right to the YouTube channel, and if you do want to learn this kind of stuff, it's, that's the course.

Kathleen's Two Questions

Kathleen: Okay, love it. Now, we can't finish up this interview without me asking you the two questions that I ask all of my guests. The first one being we talk a lot about inbound marketing on this podcast. Is there a particular person or company that you think is really just killing it right now with inbound?

Alex: Really killing it with inbound. I'm actually not ... I haven't been impressed with very many people when it comes to inbound. Even the greats, I don't know if they're testing or what they're doing, but I see a lot of weird stuff.

Kathleen: Oh yeah?

Alex: Who have I really ... I actually like Russell Brunson, what he's been doing with his ad strategies, and he runs a SaaS. It doesn't even seem like it. He's selling a software as a service, but he's selling it like an info product. There's some real next level stuff that Russell Brunson's doing.

Kathleen: Oh, I'll have to check him out, and I will share his name and the link to his stuff in the show notes.

Alex: He does a two week free trial, and then it's only like $150 a month for his software, and somehow he's been able to frame his thing in a way where it appeals to B2B, it appeals to entrepreneurs, and it appeals to ... He's going after like people that are selling multilevel marketing. He's got everything down in terms of how he's framing his thing.

Kathleen: Interesting. I can't wait to check that one out.

Second question, the biggest kind of complaint I hear from marketers is that digital is changing so quickly. There's so much to keep up with. It's like drinking from a fire hose. How do you personally stay up to date and keep yourself educated on latest developments?

Alex: So this sounds kind of counterintuitive, but what I've found is if you stick to the basics and you just try to get like those fundamentals right, everything comes into play.

So for instance, when I was getting into Facebook ads, all I had to do was take the offer that I knew worked and put it in general targeting, and then the Facebook AI figured out what it was because we knew the offer worked. Same with YouTube videos. We just have to create content, and it'll find an audience because our offer system.

So I think if you create a product that people want, and you phrase it in a way that is very hard to say no to, you'll win, and it doesn't matter if you're at an event or if cold emails get banned, or like cold calling doesn't work anymore. None of that will matter if you can crack that, and then number two is just go where your customers are. I've gotten a surprising amount of work off of Instagram recently. Like to the point where I barely even use LinkedIn anymore.

Kathleen: Wow.

Alex: But that just comes down to who my target audience is, right? I'm going after younger people now, especially for this course offer, and they're mostly on Instagram versus when I was going after office workers ... Actually, all the office workers are on email versus any of the other social media channels. So I honestly, I don't worry about that at all.

Kathleen: That's great. You have figured something out, then, because the vast majority of the other folks I talk to stress about it a lot, so there's definitely a lesson to be learned on the approach that you're taking.

Alex: Ooo, okay. So I actually did figure this out. So if you want to figure out where your clients are, write a super targeted Facebook ad and put like $100 in it, and what'll happen is you put no targeting in. The way that Facebook works now is they'll find buyers, and what I've found there is not only will they find out who your ideal buyer is, for instance one of our ads is targeting ... it's converting really good with women between ages 25-65+ which is crazy, and then one of our other ads is only for men which is great, but the main thing that I've found was if you go to placements, it'll tell you exactly where your ads are converting.

So for instance, some of our ads do really well on Facebook. Actually, one of my consulting clients was only selling on Instagram. Like hard pitching Instagram, and when we did this ad test we found out a bunch of his people were on Facebook, and he went out and did the same cold pitching on Facebook, and it was like 10-20 minutes, and he already had a bunch of leads coming in. So that's another easy way to find it out.

Kathleen: Yeah, you know it's interesting you bring that up because I found that too that paid ads in general are the fastest way to test messaging because you instantly can see what's working and what's not.

Alex: Yeah, exactly. You can test messaging there, you can test placements, and then the way that Facebook ... Facebook's getting so smart in terms of their machine learning. So it'll give you data you didn't even know you had. The ad that I wrote, I had no idea it would appeal ... The one that hits women, I think it was getting add to carts for like $10 for $1,000 course which is crazy, but for men it was $16 with the same ad. So I had no idea.

Kathleen: Which is still reasonable, but $10's better than $16 every day.

Alex: Exactly. Especially when you're comparing it to ... I was at $100 before.

Kathleen: Oh, that's great.

Alex: But no, you have no idea. It's only the machine learning that taught me that this type of ad works for this market.

Kathleen: Yeah, it's crazy what Facebook can do now. It's a little scary sometimes, but it's also really cool.

Alex: Yeah.

How To Connect With Alex

Kathleen: Great. Well if somebody wants to connect with you, has a question, wants to learn more, how can they reach out to you?

Alex: Best way to talk to me is to grab the course, I'm in the Facebook group right now. It's unlimited consulting. If you do just want to like, talk for free, I would go to the YouTube channel. will go there. And just leave a comment. I'm usually in there.

You Know What To Do Next...

Kathleen: Okay. Great. I'll put those links in the show notes, and if you're listening and you liked what you heard or you learned something new, of course I would really appreciate it if you would leave a five star review on Apple Podcasts. That goes a long way to getting the podcast in front of other listeners like yourself who could find value, and if you know somebody doing kickass Inbound marketing work, tweet me @WorkMommyWork because I would love to interview them. Thanks, Alex.

Alex: Thanks.