Episode #116 – Dave Schneider on Highly Successful Influencer-Outreach Strategies
From a corporate cube-dwelling analyst,
To a successful online entrepreneur,
Dave Schneider realised after 2 long years in corporate america,
That that’s not where a true fulfilling career is found (a sentiment I am sure doesn’t need much explanation).
Because spending your life in an AC filled cubicle is much different than traveling through 40 countries in 2 years and building a professional SaaS business.
What sounds more fulfilling to you?
And that’s just where Dave excels…
…reaching influencers and getting heard.
During development of his Ninja Outreach software,
Dave, being a marketer,
..went to work on professional outreach,
Along the way Dave found out what works,
And what doesn’t.
In this episode he shares with you how he has accomplished his successful professional cold outreach.
Learn Dave’s go-to strategies to getting a dialogue started with influencers in whatever market you’re in.
And his unique Twitter outreach method that chances are you never have heard of.
And not only outreach,
Learn how Dave reels them in through his bulletproof pitches and much more cold outreaching/closing techniques that you are sure to adapt into your game plan after learning.
In this episode, you’ll discover:
- how to identify and contact influencers that will help you grow the most through cold email outreach
- the number one way to improve your response rates when reaching out to cold prospects
- why you should never lead with a link when doing outreach (learn how to create tiny commitments that psychologically force people to open your links)
- the extreme necessity of having beta testers when breaking into a new industry (learn the tactics that gave Dave a strong list of influential beta testers for his new software)
- Dave’s go-to Twitter outreach method that lands him productive conversations with exactly who he is trying to reach… every time (and why he uses Twitter so much, even more than email)
- an attractive pitching technique that makes people need you and want to hear everything you have to say (simple word tweaks that work)
- the influence funnel‘s powerful ability to let you interact with influencers’ audiences (and how to set this funnel up step by step)
Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO
Its John McIntyre here, the auto responder guy. I’m here with Dave Schneider. Now, I met Dave … a code email that I sent, very nifty piece of software actually that it makes it basically the software, its called quickmail.io. It’s a worth giving a … is Jeremy the guy who set this thing up, is a great guy and he has built this really … piece of software, logs in a Gmail for you and sends the emails out to whoever you want to send to. You can throughout the database this. So, anyway I end up contacting people who you are using different pieces of software. That’s how I end up getting talking to Dave. Dave was using a web… Dave gets an email from me about you know trying to get, basically find out if … is working well and Dave hits the back and says hey man like we’re in the DC. It’s a community where we were… Community to a podcast. You know I was using a bunch of cold email to … to do that his new software CRM that he has been building. So, we decide to make a podcast out of sort of what Dave done? What their process is for bringing people on and how Dave approached outreach cold email problem. So … into the nitty-gritty in just a moment. Dave! Hey…
Dave Schneider: I am feeling great John for having me.
John McIntyre: Thanks for coming on. So before we get into the nitty-gritty how to stuff, can you give the list in a bit of a background on who you are and what you do?
Dave Schneider: Yeah, I definitely and I’ll try to keep it as short as possible, because I’m candescent in a few years here and a few minutes, but essentially I’m in …located in Boston Massachusetts and I guess how I got started with sort of an online entrepreneurship is. After graduating college, I went the route that many people do which is I got sort of corporate cute drawing type of job as a business analyst and I work that for two years, but found it kind of unfulfilling and I didn’t really enjoy working for other people and I fell the model learning that kind of went on really capped up pretty early and I want to do some traveling. So, I want backpacking around the world with my girlfriend and went to forty countries over two years and we started working online during this time as a way to earn money. This is when I got involved in the GCSE mention which is kind of a community for digital Nomads and you know start doing some digital marketing, some SEO, some freelance business and eventually got to the point where I was able to pay my way and then now I built this SAS product last year called “Ninja outreach” is kind of my core project. Right now, I’m trying to get it out.
John McIntyre: Nice, very cool, very cool! So, let’s talk about that. Tell me about Ninja outreach.
Dave Schneider: Yes sure, so Ninja outreach is blogger outreach software. So essentially you know let’s say your brand or John, I mean you do outreach, right. I mean you did outreach to me. Maybe you’re looking for influencers who are experimenting with email marketing. May be they use aweber or they’re writing about it, but you know… finding them because it’s difficult to find them in the sea of Google. You can use our software to type in your different keywords, run your email marketing strategies and it will pull up a list to bloggers and influencers contact information, first name, social and SEO data to kind of give you a means of evaluating really how strong of a candidate they are and then you can outreach to them through email, so you know cold email and we’re going to start building some social stuff as well and you can also just export the list as a … like mining the data and exporting and bringing to another tool just a nice bit of sort of combination of prospect in outreach into a CRM.
John McIntyre: Very cool man, I like it. I’m on the sales page right now. What’s interesting about this is you got a software that sounds like basically you know you find influences and you rank them according to some of the social signal, so you know who’s important, who’s worth reaching out to and who’s not and what’s interesting here is that it sounds like what the software does, you have used the software to build the customer base for the software.
Dave Schneider: Absolutely, kind of anything is I guess about the product. You know it’s kind of like it’s a… how I reach in a lead generation tool and we’ve been using it ourselves as a means to kind of get ourselves out there, because we’re start-up. We are looking to get promotion and you know we believe in strategies that we teach.
John McIntyre: Yeah Okay, so I mean how if you done it? How long you have been raffle?
Dave Schneider: So, the product actually just launched in January earlier this year. So just been live for three months and things are going well. We have a couple of dozen customers and we’re just building, but you know it’s a much longer back-story of development which started in June of last year and that was when I partnered with two other guys who are also online entrepreneurs and you know we look at the market and we felt that there was a need for sort of a prosperity in outreach product that are kind of a reasonable price point that was something below. Several thousand dollars a year which is just not necessarily affordable for a lot of small businesses and start-ups and things like that, so we started kind of putting together you know the product, but at the same time you know we were building, development takes lot of time and you know took us five months just to get a better product out there. You know we wanted to kind of hit marketing as hard as we could during that time to start to get out there as well, so we would have a beta tester of people kind of ready because when
you’re nobody and you launch this product and then you know when there’s nobody ready to test it right, so you know I am a marketer not a developer to check out really. So, instead of my job to find out you know how am I going to get people to kind of get on board to give this thing a shot and I had some benefits from being able to use this software a little bit obviously, but there is also a time when the software wasn’t really developed and I had to just go back to the old school message of how do I identify my influencers … market, how do I find their email address and contact information, how do I send them a template that’s going to convert, so have developed lot of different strategies and recommendations, obviously have to go into more detail when you’re ready.
John McIntyre: Yeah, I mean let’s do it, let’s talk about it because like for me for example: I have been reaching at using different types of software, whether it’s aWeber or Infusion soft or macadam. The different platforms that people are on with the idea that using that probably need someone to help them set it up properly and to do the email marketing like the strategy and create the campaign’s and that sort of stuff and so how if you, I mean what do you learn in this process of reaching out to influencers and you know what’s working and what’s not working?
Dave Schneider: Yes absolutely and I gotcha and I remember you know you sent me that email and you said hey! Look how’s aWeber working for you? You probably spend a lot of money on it. It’s an expensive software and you know I wrote this article about some mistakes people are making with aWeber instant check in out. I thought there was such a great email, because I do use aWeber you know it’s like I start and I said yeah, I do use aWeber. This is just like some normal standard cold email like this guy sort of done the researching and I think that’s what a lot of people don’t always understand when it comes to cold email and everybody’s looking about the templates and you know how can I kinda increase the response rate in the open rate and all those such of things with kind of the copyright in the messaging and well I think there’s a lot of benefit there obviously you know we’ve all seen kinda just the awful copywriting with somebody writes four paragraphs and you just like your own … under the spam trash immediately, you know but really the first step is how you identify the people and how do you find somebody that’s you know really a good candidate because to try the best way to improve your results is to just improve your targeting. So, you know in this same example of how and when you know and you found me that I was you know working with aWeber. Maybe you saw that on my blog I’ve been writing about it. You can leverage those same type of strategies, so I’m talking to people who are using aWeber, you know let me go and just simply I can go on Google and you know who’s writing about aWeber? Who’s got an article about and I can kinda go under that blog and start to kind of you know get the idea okay this guy’s probably use aWeber. Maybe he’s got a you know as one of his listed resources on resource page he’s wrote an article about it and then from that one data point you start to kinda extrapolate out to what are the other people that could possibly be involved with aWeber. So, for example who commented on that article? You know because you .. to kinda be engage, not interested and not to wanna say something, not just everybody leave a comment, so you know somebody must have came over saw your web and said Oh! I use aWeber too and this is what I think. So, now you’ve got commenter’s and now what about people that may be shared that post, so can I go, can I look up in the sort of the twitter history and see who shared that post? Those people are probably somewhat interested in aWebber as well. What about people who link to that post? They obviously read that article, thought it was quality and probably are using aWeber as well, because they thought well I can relate to what this guy is saying because I use it too. So, I’m gonna link to it and then so you sorta kind of build out this whole list of different people that could be involved, all from this one data point. That’s just from one article right and now just imagines that you have dozens of articles about the topic and all of the sudden that become hundreds and even thousands of names and kind of skills like that.
John McIntyre: Interesting okay, okay and then what happens? So, let’s say let’s be something different. I mean aWeber so let’s say you know something else do it, let’s pick something new like let’s say I’m selling, let’s say I’m a skinny guy why like I’m skinny guy like I’m skinny who is ripped like who’s gain muscle and got jacked. I have been using this example, this is the third time this example today. It is a easy go to example, but what if let’s say I am that guy and I’ve got a blog and I’m trying to build readership, I am trying to get traffic to my site. How would I go you know maybe I’ve got products that teach us how to get, gain muscle and get ripped. How would I go about it?
Dave Schneider: Right, so I mean obviously we’re talking about this you know how do we get traffic to a website and this you know could be a massive discussion here but the method that we kinda talk about is influencer’s outreach which is that probably the biggest shortcut to kind of getting traffic is so much piggy backing of people who have already kind of that audience before. So, in addition to sort of the methods that I kinda just mention, where you can say hey! look let me look about other influencers in my niche who are writing about topics such as how to kind of a maybe put on some weight to bulk up or just how to kinda get ripped? Can I also see that the audience that is engaging with him instead of reach out of them and for example: what you did with aWeber where you said hey! Look I got this great article. Are you interested in checking it out? He could do the same thing with you know in article that he wrote or product you know that he’s got and say looking interesting, checking our interest in sharing it. I get those types of emails pretty frequently and if the person is kinda polite about it like a little small trick where I saw you doing. I’ve seen people doing it and it’s you know you don’t lead with sort of a link and say look here it is right. You ask permission and say are you interested in checking this out? If you say yes I’ll send it over and it’s a little small commitment kinda psychologically makes them you know they can make a small commitment and then they can make a slightly larger commitment to actually check out the article, maybe share it. So, that sort of we kinda do an .. to what you know what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to build up the software that kinda really automates this process lot quicker with you can kind of get all of these different influencers and articles and contact information based on the keywords that you’re looking for but this is obviously a manual way that came before this.
John McIntyre: Right, right okay. So, I mean how if you, what … been doing? So, I mean I think it’s been a great case study building software that helps bloggers, will help anyone really reach out to the influences. So, how if you been either using the software already or have you been building the audience to get people to the site?
Dave Schneider: Right, so I think the first sort of monumental task that we had before we were you know anybody in anybody was really to get beta testers that was kinda first goal that we had. So you know we implemented the methods that I talked about which is you know we’re gonna find the influencers who are talking about blogger outreach in social media and we’re gonna try to get all the people that are engaging with their articles to commenting, liking and sharing. We buildup was our large list of sort of you know what we consider to be a target market that we knew we could get in touch with and now becomes about you know how am I gonna first ah% I have gotta get their contact information. In this you know really just a ton of ways to kinda to go about that but some of my favorites that I’ll mention are: one has to actually sign up for the newsletter, if they have a website because what you gonna get is you usually can get an email follow-up series and that’s gonna have their email address right there and you can literally start the dialogue right then and there I read this method on video for which is Brian Harris’s blog and I think is really nice because if you’re gonna pay attention .. John is probably somebody who is subscribing the newsletter like this is you know of valuable audience member for you, so you know you can almost say like you really start that conversation not them right, because you’re the one who emailed them, so now they’re kinda replying to you instead of it’s really not called that email are anymore, is it. So, I really like that method that’s kind of just kind of gain the dialogue going and is not really difficult research that needs to be done. Most people try to make it pretty easy to sign up for the newsletter but there’s also really a ton about other little tricks and tips which is … look and the contact information or the engaging with people on sort of a apparel platforms such as Twitter and being like know hey! John I read that great approach that you wrote about aWeber, I like to send you some follow-up questions. Can I get your email? Now that might not of in the 140 characters whatever, but you can make the edits right. So, you start to kinda go that route and engage with them and get their email. So, we did a lot, so that was one of our main things. We like Twitter outreach because it’s a lot easier to get Twitter handles than safe email addresses, for example like one great tool that we’ve used is follower wonks. I would use that tool in order to success. You can you know this is a mass tool, you know followerwonk.com. You can head over there and you can put in the keyword, you know for us it might have been digital marketing agency and build literally pump you with tons of thousands of Twitter handles within minutes, so you can kinda export it. So, that’s a nice way obviously to kind of you know to get another piece of contact information and you’ll find that some people are even more active on these platforms than they’re in email because this is less in noise out like. So, those couple other ways that we… about you know really trying find the contact information and now really comes down to the pitch, you know this is kinda like your mom and then the son here to show that your … here and solved and I really enjoyed that podcast that you did about the cold email and I thought he nailed a lot of the strategy. So, I’ll try not to go over them again and reiterate them; accept to say that you know that’s good podcast, the episode to listen to. You know but it’s really about I think you know some of the real key takeaways there which is you know what we did ourselves was how do you make it about them? You know how do you make it about you know what’s the value that you can add for them, instead of hey! Look I’m Dave and I write here and I’m developing the software and we need beta testers, but hey! Are you are using buzzstream which for us is kind of like a competitor. Are you using buzzstream? How you’re finding it? Is there anything that you don’t like about it and you know we would love to get on a call and understand if there’s any way that we can add value with the software that we build and let them know that the development, the sort of the insight that they would provide early on would actually be used to make development decisions on the software. You know understanding what features they want to prioritize. How they want the UI and UX to look and just kind of show and yeah there would be value to the conversation that we’re trying to kind of pull you into. So, you know for us to call action was really trying to get people on the phone to get customer development and then eventually we felt like if we could get them on the phone, then they would be down to be a beta tester right, because they already gone that far. Why not go that extra step of actually seeing what came out of it and essentially we did that over several months and we were able to get over 400 people the kind of beta tester software. You know what really out? What really without really a brand name or anything or a large you know side audience to pull from. So, I thought it was a good case study.
John McIntyre: Very cool, I like that, I like that, so what’s going on here? I just think this is such a good case study because the software that’s designed to reach out to influences and then that’s by the sounds but that’s exactly the strategy you’re following to build the business in the first place.
Dave Schneider: Absolutely, I mean you know that was just you know sort of how we went about getting beta, but now that we’re kind of out and we’re live. We are essentially reusing those strategies because they’re the same sort of business principles and average strategies that have sort of always work to just how can we just now get sort of more press and mentions and things like that. So, we so do a lot of guest post outreach. We do a lot a product you know reviews, looking for people who can be affiliates. It’s all it’s sort of outreach for the different flavor but it all comes back to you know how do I identify the proper target market for this type of thing and how do I get their contact information and then kind of craft a really well designed pitch to convince this person that this can add value to them and you just make the subtle tweaks to say well this is for affiliates, this is for guest posting, this is for product reviews, and now obviously we have our tool to benefit from where we can put in websites and it will get us a lot of the information of our needs such as their contact information and it tells us if they do guest post product reviews and things like that, but doesn’t change the fact that you still got a close deal and that sort of a thing, so that’s really what we’ve been doing in the last few months to grow and try to put our money where …is.
John McIntyre: Okay, have you been getting on the phone with people or you just like when it comes to closing these… and another beta testers, the actual customers, are you getting on the phone with them or you just pushing them to the sales pitch?
Dave Schneider: Both, you know we do a little bit above and in the majority of it is sort of pushing people to a sales page because you know at least in our minds we have a large market of digital marketers and we’re trying to look for marketing methods that will scale very well. So, you know if we get out there with guest post and product reviews and podcasting appearances, then you know we can reach a larger audience making come over to the website and maybe they’ll sign up for email list or they make a purchase of things like that. I don’t do a lot of cold email for example I called phone sales because it’s just a little bit too much. You know it’s a bit too cold sometimes, but we do obviously to get on the phone with anybody who is interested in and really chatting with us about the software we’ll use in our funnel you know what we’re doing, we have free trial sign-ups and obviously buyers and we always put in our funnel in the signature, hey schedule a call with us here. We’re happy to catch up with you because you just feel that it really adds a lot of personality to the brand, really helps us kind of improve the conversions down under the funnel. We’re making kind of gets on the phone and walk them through their problems.
John McIntyre: Yeah very cool, okay, okay. I like it, I like it. So, what’s the base that you have learned so far? The interesting part is thinking like what’s next? Because now you get the software and now you’ve got some momentum. Are you going to keep following strategy like this or you gonna try something else?
Dave Schneider: Yeah, so I think you know we have a couple of different ideas about really how we want to kind of to try to grow the audience and every one of them has outreach really as a component because I’ve just found that this is really pretty impossible this sort of kinda get out there without some degree of outreach, but you know we’re looking to do is kind of scale up really the interaction with each person and each influencer and what we can kind of bringing with their audience? So, for example you know in the past we’ve been doing things like guest post and product reviews and those were very nice and they do okay, but what I would really love to do is say you know do a webinar or something like that where we can kinda get in front of their audience may be for you know thirty minutes or so and kinda show off what we’re working on. Try to show the value of what it is and really have some time to kinda sit with people, talk with them, answer the questions live and kinda saturated and you know a lot of people talk about kinda email funnels is so is about sort of kind of getting you know the buyer to kinda the potential prospect to buy at the end of the funnel and one sort of I guess variation on that is what I think of this is the relationship funnel which is how can I get the influencer to kinda allow me sorta more and more leeway to work with them in their audience. So, what we talk about is we have almost like our own relationship funnel idea that we’ve built our way in the first step is you know the things I mentioned earlier which are a subscriber and their newsletter. We’re going to engage in dialogue. We’re gonna comment on their post. We’re gonna follow them on social media. We’re gonna tweet their stuff. We’re gonna kind of let them know that we’re following them, we’re listening to them, we’re supporting them. We are like a cheerleader on the side and that allows us to kind of get over the hump of, maybe then we can do something like a guest post and a product review…get an initial… with their audience and from that they’ve sort made this commitment that they are interested in working with us. They have seen the quality of what we put out and then we want to continue to sorta add value to them. So, we’re looking to start like a podcast and then invite them on the show and say hey! look, you featured us to your audience now we’re gonna try to do the same for you about bringing you on this podcast and then the final step would be to do some point the webinar because we feel like you know that is something that’s gonna convert a lot more, you know so say, Hey! look we did all this cheerleading for you, now we did a guest post on your website, then we had you on a podcast. What do you say about a webinar and these kind of build and strengthen that relationship along the way and becomes like its own funnel.
John McIntyre: Yeah, it just keeps on going and going and going. It’s… in my experience, but my businesses follow set-ups. So, over time they’ve almost taken a lot of their own where you start off with some things, you know sort of webinar, setup something and over time you just get more insight, people reply to your emails, they stay member you get on the phone with you and get more and more. You just pick up more and more ideas and if you’re asking people to reply your emails, you do create this ongoing dialogue where instead of you as being a very static list is just getting blasted out you know millions of people or … you know whatever it is. You become this, you’re a person to them. People are so open to them and this is so turned on by that and they know that they can email you and that they can have that dialogue with you, they love it.
Dave Schneider: Absolutely, may I get that type of stuff all the time? It’s almost like people don’t expect it sometimes. They are like wow! Like you replied to my email, like you are a real person. You came here with real personalize and customize response and even a little picture of you in your Gmail, that sort of thing and sometimes it makes me think like what is everybody else doing but you know when obviously a startup we are just trying to kinda gain traction against you know other software that’s been around for a longer years and you know one of our sort of our competitive advantages is that we can be personal with people. We can get on the phone one on one and say hey! look how can I help Ted today and that’s sort of thing and then when you start to kind of build those relationships and you built that data, you can then kind of almost rehash in a little bit where you know Ted becomes a case study. His testimony is going your website. They are going in your email funnel. He becomes a success story that you feature on your blog and all of this kinda hopefully spirals into you know getting larger and larger and more authority and trust.
John McIntyre: Yeah exactly, exactly! I think you’re on the right path man. I think this is unique good piece of software. So, we are coming up to time here, but before we go, if people wanna learn more about Ninja outreach, what’ the deal? Where should they get on and why should they get on?
Dave Schneider: Absolutely, so I mean obviously we recommend people to check on ninjaoutreach.com. We have a nice blog, we try to talk about the journey of the startup and kind of what we’re trying to do with margining and then we even have monthly income reports and things like that, so we get in kind of the behind-the-scenes details that I think are pretty kind of juicy and now you don’t get those everywhere else and of course you can always email me at: [email protected] I always find there every email and I check my spam too. So, I’m pretty guarantee to reply or something hopefully valuable.
John McIntyre: Perfect, perfect, alright Dave thanks for coming on the show man.
Dave Schneider: Thank you John!