How I generated over £2m through email marketing with Apollo.io
Let’s face it, finding reliable ways to generate new customers is pretty important.
It’s what drives us marketers and business owners. Because new customers are the vital lifeline for almost every business out there.
Today I’m going to tell you about a very handy little tool I use called Apollo. I don’t say this lightly, but this little piece of kit has pretty much changed my life. Certainly my lead generation results. And if you follow the steps I offer in this post, it could easily change yours too.
My name is Paul Clarke and I’m a marketing consultant in Hampshire, UK, and also Managing Director of a small but quite successful digital marketing agency.
I started out in business for myself 10 years ago and since then have been fortunate to serve a whole bunch of very cool clients. And I’ve done pretty well for myself too (which is why I’m in business).
When I first heard about Apollo.io…
Around 4 years ago, my team and I were running lots of client campaigns on Google ads and LinkedIn and one of our customers (freshly back from the US) asked me if I’ve ever heard of an email tool called Apollo. He had been recommended it by an associate and wanted us to try it for his business.
Now at first, I admit I was sceptical. I’d tried a tonne of different email and data tools. I knew them all very well and I knew their shortcomings. I didn’t expect Apollo to be any different.
But I agreed to test it out and did so with a naturally open mind.
What is Apollo.io?
Simply put, Apollo.io is a business to business (B2B) email marketing system with 2 very important parts:
1) A massive database of companies, contacts and their email addresses.
2) Campaign management (sending emails through your Gmail or Outlook servers)
High quality contact data…
Apollo gets a lot of it’s contact data from LinkedIn, which it then appends with extra details from other sources, including direct business emails verified through SMTP.
The result is a very high quality, up to date and self-cleansing, database of B2B contacts and companies, with loads of useful filters helping you pin-point the exact companies and contacts you need. Just some of the filters offered includes job titles, seniority level, locations, company size, industries, company keywords, and tonnes more.
Where the magic happens…
Once you’ve established your target audience and connected your mailbox (Gmail, outlook or other), the next part is arranging your email campaign (called Sequences in Apollo).
Apollo will recommend that you create long sequences with multiple stages.
My personal recommendation, based on lots of campaigns and testing, is to keep your sequences to 2 or 3 email stages. It’s the 2nd email that seems to get around 90% of the responses. And if a prospect hasn’t responded after your 3rd email, I think it’s safe to say they’re not interested.
What’s the best email copy?…
Again, we’ve done tonnes of testing around this and when we’re writing email copy, we tend to split between:
1) the subject line
The primary objective of the subject line is to get your email delivered to the inbox instead of the spam folder (avoid spammy words) and to grab the attention of your reader with something relevant.
That’s it. Grab the attention of your reader for a few seconds and entice them to read the first paragraph of the email.
2) the body
Once your subject line has captured attention, your body copy of your email needs to act fast. You basically have between 5 and 10 seconds for your email to let them know that:
a) you respect them and their time
b) who you are
c) why you are emailing
d) why they should care
Every word and every paragraph counts. I tend to find that emails containing just 4 short paragraphs work best.
The exact email that landed a £1.4 million deal for my client…
How many emails to send?
Like any reliable sales or marketing channel, email lead generation requires good volume to get worthwhile results.
Last year I did some analysis across all the campaigns we ran and found an average response conversion rate (Marketing Qualified Leads Vs Emails Sent) of 0.62%.
So, working on that average, you’d need to send around 16,000 emails to generate 100 leads (MQL’s).
How many mailboxes do I need?
The number of emails you are able to send per mailbox each day will depend on the server provider you use for your emails.
Generally speaking, Google (Gsuite/Workspace/Gmail) will allow more sends per day than Microsoft (Outlook/Office365). Although it does depend on various factors including: your license type, number of users/licenses, domain reputation and sending history.
Google/Gmail sending limits: https://support.google.com
Microsoft/Outlook sending limits: https://support.microsoft.com
In reality, the sending limits are usually lower than those stated in these links.
We have had problematic examples in the past (even on mature and white listed domains) where the server provider caps send rates to around 100 per mailbox per day. In this situation, your best bet is to either scale up the number of mailboxes used (keep in mind Apollo has caps on number of mailboxes that can be applied) or use a 3rd party server provider like SendGrid.
SendGrid usually achieved lower delivery rates that Gmail but allows you to scale by offering up to 4,000 sends per mailbox per day. So provided your contact audience is large enough, the pay off is worth it.
Is Apollo.io GDPR compliant?
Compliance with regulations is a responsibility that falls on the data controller (person choosing what data to use and how to use it) and the data processor (the person using the data).
Now, I’m not a GDPR consultant. And if in doubt you should probably seek professional advice.
But my interpretation of the ICO guidelines is that the use of Apollo is compatible with lawful purpose number 6; legitimate interests.
Now you are required to perform and record a legitimate interests assessment, balance and consider the rights of parties, let them know why you are contacting them, and give the unsubscribe options at every communication stage.
But provided you follow the ICO guidelines, and are generally respectful and ethical with the way you manage campaigns and the rights of recipients, then my opinion is that the use of Apollo.io can be GDPR compliant.
How to access a free trial of Apollo.io?
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