The Trigger-Approach to B2B Cold Emailing: A Case Study in Open Banking 

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If you send cold emails, you should definitely read this.

Context: (you can skip this)

I recently saw a LinkedIn connection, complain about a cold email they had received from someone trying to sell them an Open Banking-powered payments product.

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As a chronic cold emailer myself… The biggest problem I see in the screenshot above is that the person contacted was not relevant to the message/product—forget the other mistakes.

This comes from how the outreach list was built, more than the email copy (I’m a writer and I still believe copy is just but half the problem).

The emailer probably took an existing list of people with ties to Open Banking and put them into a sequence. Relevancy didn’t matter to them.

Here’s a different approach to cold emailing people without always getting thrown into the spam bin—and crucified on LinkedIn.

I use the Open Banking niche as an example, but you can apply the lessons in any industry.

PS: Open Banking came from a regulatory change that allowed third parties to initiate payments from one bank account to the other.

I.e. instead of using your credit card to pay for purple socks, your retailer can use Open Banking payments to withdraw funds from your bank account to theirs (with your authorisation, of course).

Trigger-based list building

For your list to be relevant, it has to be built from activities/information/actions characteristic of companies that have bought Open Banking products before: triggers. How?

Here’s how to find triggers from scratch.

  • Find a company that has bought Open Banking products before.

In this example, let’s use Safello. 

Safello offers Open Banking powered, account-to-account payments as a faster method of purchasing cryptocurrency. 

I found them through Open Banking Sherpa, an Open Banking use case directory I cobbled together last year when something bit me and made me obsessed with the sector.

Anyway, I used a special Google search command to find all instances where Safello mentioned Open Banking on their site.

“Open Banking” site:https://safello.com

I analysed the pages for keywords that showed how the company described itself.

This would help me find similar companies that offer the same products as Safello (and could benefit from buying Open Banking payments products too.) 

The keywords I found are in yellow…

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From this, you can tell that Safello is part of a niche of companies offering monthly crypto savings, with customers regularly sending money into wallets/accounts held by these companies.

And based on what I know about payments and this type of account top-ups, they probably deal with high processing fees associated with card payments; the main pain point being solved by account to account Open Banking payments; which skip credit card companies and their fees.

If you’re using this approach in a different industry, you’ll be able to connect the dots as I did here using your knowledge of your customers, or by showing your findings to your company’s customer experts.

PS: From my conversations with people in wealth-tech (a sister niche to Safello’s), there’s also an issue of money taking up to 3 days to get into users’ wallets, making it impossible for customers to trade immediately.

Here, we know that any company we find that is using the same keywords as Safello: “savings in crypto” and “monthly investment”, there’s a likelihood they’re also facing the pain points common in Open Banking payments’ ideal customer profile (ICP) I.e. high credit card fees and having to wait 3 days for account top-ups to settle.

To build a trigger-based list, I used the following Google search parameters, “savings in crypto” as the trigger, and here’s what came up.

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As suspected, many of the companies in the Google search results seemed to have processes where customers needed to send money to the company (account funding/top-ups), which all could benefit from the perks of Open Banking. They included:

  1. ObiexFinace-a crypto exchange.
  2. Paralla App
  3. Blockfi
  4. Solidi.co
  5. Fluidcoins
  6. Rebulic.com (peer-to-peer investment community with 1.5 million members)

Chances are high that these companies experience the same problems that made Safello adopt Open Banking as a payment method. And if you put them all in a sequence with the same messaging, it’ll still feel personalised cause the list was built from a common pain point.

Rabbit hole: discovering new triggers

When perusing Paralla App’s website (number 2 in the list above), I found another keyword/trigger that could identify a different group of potential Open Banking adopters.

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How?

Paralla offers its customers the option of funding their accounts using manual bank transfers; which are part of the incumbent payment methods Open Banking is disrupting.

When I searched for “pay by bank transfer”—using quotation marks so Google only shows the web pages containing that exact phrase—more relevant companies showed up.

Including the London Metropolitan University, which deals with large volumes of student payments. And an airline, Wizz Air, also accepts a large volume of payments.

PS: Educational institutions kept showing up on the search results, revealing a niche I hadn’t yet seen when I was searching for Open Banking use case examples to add to the Open Banking Sherpa directory.

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Email outreach that is relevant

Assuming you’ve created a list of companies based on their use of these keywords/triggers. Your outreach can easily work around them.

So instead of sending general emails like the one that inspired this article, with this approach, you can better target your outreach while not having to over-personalise the copy to each prospect. Here’s a sample email copy for the list we’ve built above:

Template

Subject: {{company}}’s payments

{{First Name}}, just saw you were allowing users to pay by bank transfer.

Curious how {{company}} is dealing with {{pain caused by ‘payments by bank transfers’ trigger}}…

Been helping {{similar company that’s dealt with the same problem}}, do {{the major benefit/impact of Open Banking payments vs manual bank transfers}}.

Open to learning more?/ has reducing {{problem of payments by bank transfers}} ever crossed your mind?

Regards

The backbone of this copy is the trigger used to build the list and the pain point associated with that. Everything else ties back to it.

Here’s the strategy behind this email structure:

First line= answers the ‘why is this email for me’ question.

2nd line= makes the prospect think about their current process as a problem, and see its impact. It agitates them.

3rd Line= talks about the emailer’s solution without pitching.

4th line= gauges curiosity without being pushy.

Strategy 2: combining keywords when building your list

By now, you know it’s always better to start with an existing buyer—yours or a competitor’s—to find triggers. But sometimes, they are not as obvious. 

Example:

Let’s use HeyTrade, a social investment company that allows people to buy and sell US, EU and UK stocks & ETFs from their phones.

From conversations I’ve had, I know HeyTrade uses Open Banking to allow its users to top up their accounts and start trading without having to wait 3 days to get their money into their wallets. This is the problem Open Banking solved for them.

I snooped on their site, and noticed the keywords identifying companies in the same niche as HeyTrade’s include, “trading”, “investing”, “buy-sell stocks”.

But the keywords connected to the problem/process Open Banking has solved for this niche are “fund your account” and “top-up account”.

By combining the two keyword groups, we can find similar companies with the same pre-Opening-Banking payments challenges as HeyTrade.

If you type this combination into Google, “Buy and sell stocks online” AND “top up your account”. The companies in the screenshot below come up:

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I know the companies in these search results are relevant because of two reasons.

  1. AJ Bell Youinvest (result number 3) is already using Open Banking for account data access. They are in the Open Banking Sherpa use case directory.
  2. eToro (not in the screenshot), put out a job advert for a payments director and there’s a line there that shows interest in Open Banking.

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Screenshot from eToro’s job advert.

You can do the same for every vertical that’s been embracing Open Banking: accounting, iGaming, eCommerce, etc. 

The same tactic can work for multiple industries. I use it to sell content services or get feedback for any crazy ideas that come to me in Friday night dreams.

Combine the keyword/trigger-based principles of this technique with web scraping tools like Scrapebox. You can build a list of companies to email fast, with a reduced risk of being crucified on LinkedIn for sending irrelevant cold emails.

Anyway, if you want to talk about cold email techniques, content, snooping and Kenyan tea, my DMs are Open.

#KeywordsAreNotOnlyForSEOOptimisation

Gabriel Onyango
Gabriel Onyangohttp://outboundfintech.com
I write. I cold email. I snoop. PS: If you need support with cold email campaigns, Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) research, or messaging, I can help. Check out outboundfintech.com/services. Say hi [email protected]

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