How Many Touchpoints is Too Many in Outbound?
Many companies that run their own outbound campaigns can’t really tell you why they have X number of touchpoints. For some, it is far too few (2-3 touchpoints) and for others, it is far too many, far too quickly.
It’s no secret that multiple touchpoints helps build rapport and recognition in such a noisy and saturated space, but sales teams often fail by either not engaging with a contact enough, or (worse) engaging with them to the point of annoying them. This can seriously negatively impact your brand as well as your domain, which hinders your ability to effectively contact more potential customers in the future.
We’ve run thousands of campaigns for both ourselves and on behalf of our clients over the years. Through some experimentation, we’ve been able to find data-backed insights on the ideal range of touchpoints, as well as to generate the greatest levels of engagement from your prospects. This is especially important this January as many decision makers are too busy with Q1 strategy implementation to answer cold emails. With effectively used multi-touch campaigns and a thoughtfully executed cadence, one can ensure that you stay on their radar until their calendars start opening back up!
Benefits of Multi-touch campaigns
You’d be surprised to see how many marketing campaigns rely solely on one touchpoint! Luckily this happens less in sales outreach campaigns as they often understand the value of building rapport over relatively long periods of time. We do find that the “Rule of Seven” holds true - where it is said that you must have at least 7 interactions with a prospect before you can make a sale. However, this varies by industry and campaign type, as it’s not too uncommon for highly personalised and relevant campaigns to get a positive response from the very first email.
When combined with a multi-channel approach, these multi-touch campaigns can have the added benefit of stopping you from becoming just another name in a very full inbox. After all, the first thing a prospect sees when your email lands in their inbox is your name - not the subject line. If you have the capacity, it’s best practice to integrate direct mail, LinkedIn outreach, and even warm calling into your in outbound process for this reason.
There seems to be some confusion about when diminishing returns in outbound kick in. Some say it's right after the first email, others say it can take up to the 15th. This of course varies by industry, messaging, and channels used. The time of the year when you reach out to contacts may also have an impact as to when they will reach back out and be open to having a conversation. The New Year can bring new opportunities, and we’ve found that January could be the perfect time to prospect and start a conversation with potential leads.
However, as we’ve run many campaigns across many different industries (and channels), we have some more insights to share.
Generally, you can expect lower engagement levels from the second email onwards, however, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re experiencing diminishing returns. You’ve just weeded out contacts that are truly not interested and can focus your proactive outreach on the engaged contacts. Don’t take this to mean that the prospects that initially didn’t show interest never will - we’ve seen prospects rise from the dead later in the cadence.
When tangible diminishing returns seem to kick in is actually after about the 5th email. This is typically when we’ve seen “message fatigue” kicks in. From what we’ve seen, this message fatigue can be delayed by having more relevant and personalised messaging, however, when it does kick in, it’ll mean more wasted resources from your copywriting or marketing teams because of the research that went into each following message. This is why it’s especially important to focus on your campaign’s cadence.
Campaign cadence is so much more than just spacing out emails over the course of weeks or months. It’s an essential practice that keeps your name, your company and your offering on the prospect’s radar. While this varies depending on your intended audience and your offering, here is an example of an effective cadence showing an ideal number of touchpoints for a tech company:
Day 1: Direct Mail letters sent out (Takes 4 - 5 business days to arrive typically)
Day 2: LinkedIn profile view & Email 1
Day 6: LinkedIn profile view & connection request - this is around the same day the prospect should be receiving your letter.
Day 8: Email 2
Day 10: Researched warm call - it is sometimes advisable to do an introductory cold call earlier on in the sequence, however, we don’t recommend it.
Day 13: Follow-up LinkedIn message
Day 15: Email 3
Day 19: Follow-up call
Day 22: Email 4
Day 26: Follow-up LinkedIn Message
Day 30: Email 5
This cadence keeps you on the prospect’s radar without being overbearing, assuming that your messaging is actually relevant to their needs. If you still haven’t made a sale or even built a semblance of rapport with them in these first 30 days, you may need to reassess your current messaging content. However, this does put you in an overall great position to continue nurturing the lead over the next few months before potentially filtering them into a re-engagement campaign.
We know that running outbound campaigns can be daunting sometimes. Especially when so much goes into it; brand preservation, messaging strategy, multiple channels, research and personalisation, cadence, etc. can all be blockers to successful campaigns. If you’d like to run your own hyper-personalised campaigns without straining your resources, feel free to book a no-commitment exploratory call and we’d be happy to run you through our approach.