2024 fintech cold email checklist for founders, consultants, salespeople and the nerds in-between
The cold email game has changed (a lot) in 2023. Here’s a checklist of things to keep in mind when setting up an effective cold email programme in 2024.
Building your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
(In a husky voice) “thee shall know thy customers well”
Take your existing customers (competitors’ as well) and put them through databases like Crunchbase, LinkedIn, G2, and Capterra,BuiltWith, Ocean.io (to find look-alike companies). Record all the patterns you see (size, fundraising stage, employee numbers, sub-industries, technologies used...). Take screenshots.
Write a list of direct and indirect competitors. Copy all their customer testimonials/case studies on the website.
From this information, get the voice of customer data: how customers describe the problem, its impact and what success looks like. People selling complex fintech products will really benefit from this.
Take notes on any observable characteristics of your customers; such as location, the job title of the person giving the testimonials, size, etc.
(How not to land in spam—too much)
Buy a separate cold email domain that’s close to your primary domain e.g. if your site is money.com, buy trymoney.com and money.io.
Set up your DNS records, SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. There are plenty of tutorials out there depending on your domain host. (Deeper dive)
Buy an account in a popular email service provider.
Notes: Google Workspace has been making things hard for cold emailers in the last quarter of 2023. I predict it will be impossible to send cold emails from Google comfortably in 2024. Zoho mail already kicked a majority of cold emailing domains out of their platform in 2023. It's only a matter of time till Google does so too.
The cold email community is moving to Outlook, but look to diversify further. There are niche email service providers popping up tailored to cold emails, google, test them and keep them private.
For each domain you’ve bought, set it up in a separate email service provider account. E.g. if you buy one Google Workspace account, only host emails from one domain there.
Warm up your email accounts for a minimum of two… preferably three weeks. Use warm-up tools like WarmupInbox.com or Inboxy.io. Some email automation softwares have built-in warm-up tools: Instantly, Woodpecker, Snov, Smartlead, etc.
Register for newsletters/demos/webinars using your new email addresses instead of your usual email to get them active.
Add a headshot to each email account. Having headshots in your email accounts helps you stand out in crowded boxes and humanises you to prospects when you’re reaching out.
Cold email copy
Ensure the combo of your first line and subject line makes the recipient curious enough to open. They have the same job as article headlines competing in crowded newsfeeds.
Include an agitating line to get the prospect thinking about the problem you want to solve for them. E.g. “how are you dealing with X without doing Y…”
Try out different call-to-actions in your follow-up messages. Different niches respond differently to calls to action. Hard calls to action: "can we talk Tuesday?" soft calls to action: "open to learning more?"
Follow up at least twice. (Cold email video tech is developing fast for this—the AI revolution, so take advantage of this in follow-ups. Here's an example of how I leverage videos: I'll do an article soon, trying out all the cold email video tools humanly "triable".)
Show and tell the problem or impact you want to solve for them (or what success looks like). Use a screenshot, GIF, or video to do this.
Segment your list properly, e.g. based on problems being experienced or publicly observable actions like hiring. Relevance can be more impactful than personalisation.
Find common triggers among existing and competitors’ customers and use them to build your list. For example, selling a subscription management product to a list of Stripe merchants.
Have 2 to 3 contact people ready to put into your outreach campaign in case the initial contact does not work out. Especially true when prospecting into large companies.
PS: I feel list building is the most time-consuming part of cold emailing, so build your list consistently and power through even when you’re unmotivated.
Reach out to prospects on other channels away from your email sequence. E.g. Following them on LinkedIn, commenting on their posts, and viewing their profile without connecting.
Trends to watch out for
Waterfall data enrichment: traditionally, you'd pick a data provider (ZoomInfo, Lusha, etc.) and only get data under one contract. With waterfall data enrichment, you search for contacts from multiple databases; moving from provider to provider until you get your email/phone number, all under one contract. I first saw this model on BetterContact and Clay, more will open up in 2024.
Use of APIs: I've noticed that services accessed through APIs can be cheaper than using the typical non-developer user interface (check out Datagma—no affiliation).
Some of the early adopters in this space are connecting multiple APIs using an integrator like Make, Zapier or n8 (free when self hosted).
So you'd get a workflow starting with an API like Apify, which can scrape Google result pages/job postings, that data is enriched using the Clearbit API, and or Datagma, then automatically moved into an email sequencer using API connectors. This is the next level of outbound, where non-technical people are learning just enough tech to be dangerous. I've started teaching myself how to use APIs, consider doing it too.
Use of AI (in everything): I think AI is over-hyped in many areas, but when it comes to cleaning and analysing data in outbound campaigns, or mass personalising videos for follow-ups, it is making headway.
I've marvelled at seeing it used to analyse text scraped from a website to identify if it's a law firm specialising in personal injury cases. Take a person's name from a spreadsheet and say it in a video, and some other weirdly crafty things I can't remember clearly. All I know is I should get into it in 2024.
Well, that's it for now. If you know anyone that needs freelance help with setting up or managing their cold emailing system, you know the nerd to call for that ;) Phew!... enough for today, off to drink some tea…
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A writer, in a marketer's skin, wearing a cold emailer's floppy socks. The unorthodox combination of these is what you've probably experienced in this blog. Freelance cold email manager; open to working with teams on cold email campaigns, copy, ICP research (snooping()and custom list building. Connect with me on LinkedIn