In carpentry, the saying "Measure twice, cut once" underscores the value of preparation. The same applies to sales outreach. Before diving into communication, it's crucial to be well-prepared, ensuring that every effort is precise and impactful.
This section will guide you through the essential steps to fine-tune your approach, ensuring that when you reach out, it's with clarity and purpose.
What are you selling?
Although it may sound trivial, it is paramount to have an intimate understanding of what you're offering before diving into the technicalities of personalization and outreach. AI won’t fix this for you.
Understanding your own offering isn't just about listing product features or service specifics; it's about grasping the very essence of your value proposition.
There are dozens of fantastic books on each of the following subjects so we will keep it concise:
- Job to Be Done: At its core, every product or service addresses a specific 'job' or need. Understand what this 'job' is. What tasks does your product simplify? What outcomes does it facilitate for the user?
- Pains and Gains: Every effective sales pitch is grounded in a clear understanding of the pains your product alleviates and the gains it provides. What problems does your product solve? What benefits does it offer that makes life easier or better for your potential client?
- Competition and Alternatives: Be aware of your competitors, how your audience currently solves the problem you are tackling, and how the different offerings differ. What makes your product or service unique? Knowing your USP will help you position yourself distinctively in the market.
- Value: Determine the value of your offering relative to all the given alternatives.
- Offer: How you present your product or service to a potential buyer is at least equally important as the thing itself. The right bundling, incentives, and risk distribution between you and your buyer determine how hard or easy a sale will be and helps you stand out in a saturated market.
- Audience: Recognizing who benefits from your product or service is critical to find the right people to target. Who are the ideal users or beneficiaries of your offer? Knowing this will not only refine your outreach but also ensure that your message resonates with the right people.
Bonus Tip: In case you haven’t read it, we highly recommend you dive into Alex Hormozi’s fantastic book “$100M Offers: How to make offers so good people feel stupid saying no”. Much of what we do at Narratic Labs is, well… turn his teachings into code. One of the biggest drivers of our discussions is his value formula:
Warm-up Procedures for Successful Outreach
If you have experience with email at scale, you can fast forward to the end of this section and complete all action steps.
If you don’t, we strongly advise you read and follow this section carefully. Although it sounds less exciting than “doing AI stuff”, now comes the piece where you get the scaling side right.
Email Warmup 101
Think of Gary Vaynerchuck what you want but one thing he said at a conference in 2016 is true: “Marketers ruin everything”. Email has always been a free channel, hence people have been overusing it.
This is why spam filters were invented and Google added funny little tabs called “Social, Updates, Promotions” to Gmail. You don’t want your messages to land in any of them and warming up your new accounts gets you one third of the way there.
What follows might be the most complete FAQ you will find on warming up your email domain(s):
What does it mean to warm up an inbox?
Email warmup is a process of preparing a new (or long-inactive) email account for future email outreach, campaigns, etc. It is especially useful for cold email inboxes that usually suffer from lower deliverability rates due to the character of the emails they send.
Why do I need to warm up my inbox?
Over time, all cold email inboxes inevitably suffer from deliverability issues. A well-administered email warmup will reverse this process and help you maintain and improve your deliverability and reputation.
Who should be warming up their inbox?
Anyone who is actively sending any kind of cold emails. From marketing teams to lead generation and sales departments, from recruiters to outreach specialists.
What is good email deliverability?
Good email deliverability means that your emails are successfully reaching your audiences' inboxes and not being marked as spam.
Here are some metrics you can use to track your deliverability:
- Deliverability score is > 90
- Bounce rates < 5%
- Open rates > 45%* (cold emails)
- Spam complaint rates < 0.08%
As with all things in life, better is always better.
How long should I be warming up my inbox?
Generally speaking, the longer you keep warming up, the more reputable your inbox becomes over time. The initial warm-up phase takes around 3-4 weeks.
Stopping the warm-up process after this stage will make your sending pattern irregular, which can reduce your deliverability score and land emails in spam.
For long-term results, it's essential to keep the feature running before, during, and after sending campaigns. This is especially true as these services have the ability to revert some of the damage done to the reputation of an address. The services flag emails from your addresses as relevant, should they land in spam. This makes the actual spam reports look like outliers.
Action steps for email warmup
Step 1: Buy domains
You want to build a scalable system so it’s a good idea to use a few domains in parallel. Why? For three reasons:
- You don’t want to put your main domain in danger
- You want to be able to send a few thousand mails within a week
- You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket
A useful hack is to add a prefix and suffix to your actual domain.
Main domain: narratic.ai
Email domains: getnarratic.com, usenarratic.com, ...
Some domain marketplaces even offer this as a default, such as Namecheap:
You can literally order a few dozen of these addresses to scale up your outreach game. Just be aware when you are choosing your mail software that they have the possibility to rotate between these domains, otherwise you need to coordinate much more complex chains.
Step 2: Set up domain authentication and redirects
Depending on the platform you are using, you will need to verify your ownership and authenticity of the domain. There are numerous guides for how to do this, just search for SPF, DKIM and DMARC setup. However we will shortly outline what those terms mean, so you know what you are looking for:
The Sender Policy Framework is very easy to understand once you know that email allows every sender to impersonate every other one. Sounds crazy but it’s true. If you know how, you can basically set every address as “from” address in an email.
To prevent this, owners of a domain such as “narratic.ai” have to make known to the world who is actually allowed to send on their behalf. This is done by setting a DNS record on that domain that tells which IP addresses are allowed to send. Not having this record is a big red flag and will make your email look like spoofing or scam to an email system.
If you have ever seen a movie where someone writes a letter, seals it with some hot wax and pressees their signet ring into the soft wax so the recipient knows it's from them, you have already understood DKIM. It’s the same thing just with fancy cryptography.
By setting the DKIM record on your domain's DNS you basically tell the world how your signet looks like. This way everybody can easily check if a message really is from you. Again, not having this set-up is a red flag to an email server.
This one is the easiest. It’s a mechanism that tells email servers where they can send reports if someone tries to abuse your domain for emails or impersonates you via spoofing. Email servers will assume that you are interested in your reputation. Therefore again this is a red flag if it is not configured properly.
Additionally, you also want to set up redirects (301) to your “real” domain. If someone checks trynarratic.com, I want them to land on narratic.ai. If they end up on a domain parking page they will think something is shady.
Step 3: Start the warmup process on your platform of choice
Many email tools have warmup as a default feature, e.g.
and there are standalone options, e.g.:
Since the warmup mechanism should stay activated for a long time, expect to stay with this tool for a while and set aside a budget for this.
Step 4: Be patient
We all want instant gratification and show our boss, significant other, or parents that our plans are leading to prosperity. But making Google et al. think that your thousands of emails are genuine and written by a human requires you invest a resource scrappy marketers tend not to have: Discipline.
We are frontrunning a few topics we discuss in the upcoming chapter but to give you a bit of structure, we put together a checklist with all major pre-outreach steps on Notion. Feel free to make a copy.