Creating a cold email campaign with a small prospect list can be challenging — and even worrying. You want to be effective, but you don’t have numbers to cushion you. That doesn’t have to stop you from closing deals. 

Even in a small market, you can find some traction by identifying the strongest prospects, nurturing the relationship, and delivering solid value to establish your authority before pitching.

Let’s say you only have 1,000 prospects in your market. How do you cold email them so you get the maximum number of deals out of it?

On this episode of Cold Email Outreach with Jeremy & Jack, we shared some tips for approaching a limited market and getting results. 

The 80/20 rule for cold email 

Step one: Determine where to put your efforts so that you’ll have the most impact.

Thinking back to that theoretical list of 1,000 prospects. Find the top 20 percent of those 1,000 — the 200 who are leaders or influencers in the market — and connect with them first. Their feedback and your relationship with them will be valuable to get your foot in the door with the other 80 percent.

You could identify these influencers by looking at conferences in the market and noting the top speakers. Who do people seem to flock to?

You can also get a lot of value from viewing someone’s LinkedIn profile. Depending on your market, checking LinkedIn can reveal a lot about who’s active in the industry, connected with a lot of people, or running a professional website, for example.

Aim for the relationship first — sell later

Before you send any emails, build your network. Connect with the people in your market using Facebook, existing contacts, LinkedIn invites, Twitter, or even ads.

As you interact and build the relationship, start with learning, not selling. If you reach out on LinkedIn, for example, engage there to learn about who they are and what they value, not to make a pitch.

That’ll help you be extra prepared before reaching out. When you’re dealing with a small market, you can’t afford to burn through contacts. Research prospects carefully, and know which value propositions and CTAs will resonate with them. 

Get your foot in the door by leading with value

Your first outreach shouldn’t be a pitch, but instead offer some kind of value. One idea: Start a Facebook group to help people in your market network with each other. Or share a report that showcases your authority.

Give your prospect as much value as you can while establishing authority in your industry. That will set you up for successfully pitching them later.  

One of the toughest things about working with a small market is simply getting your foot in the door. Once you do that, keep the door open by maintaining contact and building that relationship with each prospect instead of burning through prospects one at a time.

Take your sweet time (seriously)

Don’t rush into pitching! Approach this small market humbly, with a focus on learning. You only have 1,000 prospects, so you should give each one your all.

If you contact 20 people a day, that’s about two months of just making initial contact. That’s the round of just engaging, learning, and providing value. Take about another two months to simply continue to add value and gain additional understanding.

By this time, you’ll establish authority in the space, earn trust in your network, and provide enough value that when you reach out to offer a demo or set up a meeting, prospects should be happy to give you the time.

It’s not just about email 

With such a small market, you can’t afford not to use multiple channels before sending a cold email. You need to warm up prospects through networking before trying to sell anything, because each of those emails is really important.

Connect with prospects first through Facebook groups, LinkedIn messaging, Twitter communication, Facebook ads, or a phone call.

Use this initial contact just to get to know them and their business, understand their pain points and needs, and establish yourself as an authority in the industry. You can offer a free demo and ask for feedback. 

Once they’re warmed to you and your business, they’ll welcome your pitch when it comes.

Check deliverability obsessively

Finally, once you start emailing, keep a close eye on deliverability and open rates. You don’t want to burn through 150 prospects and find out your emails have been bouncing or going to spam.

Use open tracking for all of your emails to keep track of how you’re doing.

You can also afford to take the time to be super personalized in these emails, pay attention to the subject line and first few sentences to boost both your open and response rates.

Good luck!