The little-known but mighty Craigslist

This is Lesson 3 of my crowdfunding course: "5 Ways To Find Your First 100 Kickstarter Backers."

At times, you'll might have crowdfunding ideas which are targeted towards other businesses (B2B).

Using cold emails is another great way to find B2B users to interview, if its used properly and responsibly.

If your crowdfunding idea is targeted at end consumers (in a B2C model), sending cold emails directly to a list of 2000 personal email accounts will be likely treated as spam.

But if your customer base falls within the B2B category, then cold emails are still an effective way to go.

If your idea has either got to do with helping them earn more money, or to save time, businesses are likely to be receptive.

#1: Collect their emails

The first thing you'll need to do is to collect the email addresses.

And no you don't have to resort to buying email lists. Instead, you can collect publicly available business emails from public websites such as:

-LinkedIn -Data.com -Industry specific portals (some of these do list business emails)

Then you collate all of these emails into one spreadsheet for easy reference.

To further speed up collection of emails, you can use a free web scraping software called Kimono.

It's easy and simple to setup. If you find a page with contact information, Kimono can collect that automatically for you.

Here's video of how it works:

How Kimono works: http://vimeo.com/82849382

2: Write the email

A cold email has to have 3 elements in order to get a favorable response:

1.Personal
2.Give, before you ask
3.Short

Ideally, in just 5 sentences, your email should be able to convey all these 3 things.

Here's an example of what I mean:

"Hi Tom,

I read your article on your experiences crafting employee benefits programs around the world as a HR Manager – it was really inspiring. I’m looking to find better ways to motivate teams and you’ve got me thinking about appreciating people more through reward perks when I do!

I have a software company trying to improve employee satisfaction by giving out online healthcare perks.

I’m not looking to sell anything, but since you have so much expertise with employee satisfaction, I’d love to get your advice on our product so we don’t build the wrong thing.

If you’re available, I’d love to chat for just 20 minutes – Thur or Fri morning?

Thanks for any help,
Johnathan"

Let's analyse it using the 3 elements:

Short: 5 sentences is all you need. Any longer and you've lost their attention.

Give, before you ask: Did you notice how I subtly offered:

"I have a software company trying to improve employee satisfaction by giving out healthcare perks."?

This hints to Tom that he might have an employee satisfaction problem that I could solve.

Without this line, you might come across as taking 20 minutes of his time, and giving nothing back.

Another tip is to be vague about the value you are suggesting.

You do not want to plant pre-conceived bias in your customers of the problem you are hypothesising.

Notice I didn't mention something like: "Better healthcare perks"

One more thing, asking for his/her advice makes your customer feel like he's valued as an expert, and lowers their defenses.

Personal: Go the extra mile to read up about your target audience, but it's what that will separate you from every other email.

Everybody likes a little nice, unique compliment about themselve, don't we?

As a start, you can find things to compliment your customers by commenting on their:

1.Blog posts
2.Their Twitter posts
3.Companies that they have previously worked in (LinkedIn)
4.Achievements they have made

Being personal is the most important part, otherwise you run the risk of the email clients flagging you as spam.

#3: Send the email

If you've to copy & paste the same email over and over again, it'll get boring and monotonous after a while.

You'll want to use a tool called Streak, that helps you automate sending mass, but personalised emails.

It can even track which users have replied, and also schedule emails to be sent out in advance.

If you follow these steps and no one replies, it could be bad luck or…your crowdfunding idea could be solving a problem no one has.

Next up, we'll look at another simple technique to help you find users.

Stay tuned!

-Johnathan

You May Also Like To Read Next: 'mind-reading' the forums

“A FREE COURSE ON CROWDFUNDING“

I don’t want your crowdfunding education to end here, so I’m putting together a guidebook, and a free three-week course called “5 Ways To Find Users For Testing Your Crowdfunding Idea”. There will be some overlap between that content and this post, but the email course will walk you through some ways you can find users to test your idea.” Also check out the upcoming launch of my latest book: "The Crowdfunded Kit"

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