How to setup an automated cold lead marketing system that gets 30%+ responses

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Cold calling and cold emailing can be a huge waste of time. The idea behind being proactive and continually reaching NEW prospective clients sounds great, but it comes with a major cost. That cost is time.

When you are doing any form of cold outreach you are assuming that the person on the other end is both interested in what you have to offer, has the time to listen and is even qualified to buy your product or service. It seems like a huge guessing game, but it doesn’t have to be. If it’s done right, cold outreach can be your highest yielding client acquisition strategy.

How so? Simple. Use automation and tools that give you the business intelligence to identify the prospective clients that:

  • Are interested in what you have to offer
  • Have the time to listen
  • Are qualified to buy your product or service

You need to develop a system to take leads that fit within your ideal client profile, pass them through your cold outreach process, track patterns in their behavior, get them to respond, and identify EXACTLY who you, or your sales team, need to follow up with.

The goal here is to:

  • Lower your cost-of-sales
  • Shorten your sales cycle
  • Increase your sales revenue

I’ve developed a system to handle the work for you. This system takes a cold lead in your database, passes them through an automated sequence of outreach communications and provides you with the business intelligence you need to make smarter sales decisions.

So let’s dig in…

First, you’ll need to setup free accounts on the services:

Next, setup a Google Spreadsheet with the following fields: Send to Drip (x), Company, First Name, Last Name and Email.

Google Spreadsheet

Take notice that in the screenshot above, I didn’t put an ‘x’ under the Send to Drip (x) column. This is what we are going to use as our trigger each contact to be added into your outreach automation system. For now, leave this field blank.

Next, let’s move onto Inside of Drip, from the top navigation click on Automation and then Workflows.

Automation Workflow


Click on New Workflow.

New Workflow


Give your workflow a name.

Workflow Name


Click on the Define Your Trigger box. From the drop-down box, choose “Applied a Tag” and then in the box below enter your tag name. You can just use something like ‘newlead’. If you have different types of leads (i.e. industry verticals) then you might want to make this tag name more specific (e.g. ‘lawfirmleads’). For this example, we’ll keep it simple and just go with ‘newlead’.

Apply a Tag


Click on Update Trigger.

Click on the + symbol under the Applied the “newlead” tag.

Click on the Delay option. This option allows us to control exactly what days/times email message go out.

Choose Delay Option


Edit your options with the details that I have chosen in the screenshot below. These settings will assure that the first email in the automation sequence will only go out on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 10:04am. Knowing what days and times to send will depend on the type of leads you are targeting. If you targeting B2B, the middle of the week is your best bet.

Delay Options


Click on Update Delay.

Click on the + symbol under the delay you just created.

Add Message

This time click on Action.

From the drop-down box, choose “Send a one-off email” and click on the Edit email settings link.

Choose Send a One-Off Email


Enter your first email message in the cold outreach sequence. Download my free cold outreach automation templates that currently yields a 30%+ response rate.

Your first email should look something like this inside of the editor.

Email Template


Your email draft will automatically save as you edit, but feel free to click on the Save Email button just for peace-of-mind.

Click on the Back to Workflow button on the top-left part of the page.

Now follow the delays and email messages for the follow up emails.

At this point your automated email outreach blueprint should look something like the screenshot below.

Workflow Example


Now we want to setup a Goal inside of Drip to automate the way to take leads that respond to your email messages in this workflow and move them down the funnel. It also helps avoid any unnecessary follow up emails from going out.

You’ll first need to setup Reply Tracking first. In order to do this, click on the cog looking icon on the upper-right part of the page and then Email Setup.

Email Setup


Click the “On” switch and then Save Settings.

Turn on Reply Tracking

Go back to your automation by clicking on Automation from the navigation menu then click on Workflows.

Click on the + symbol under the last email (e.g. Send “Last time following up”).

From the pop up, choose Goal.

Choose Goal


From the drop-down choose “Replied to Email”.

Keep the “Use this trigger as an entry point” option unchecked. This is useful, but not in this particular scenario.

Choose the “Any Email” option. This will bring a lead to this part of the email outreach funnel if they reply to any other email you might have setup in Drip. You can choose specific emails, but since the purpose of this email outreach automation campaign is to simply get leads to respond to spark a relationship so choosing “Any Email” will work for now.

Choose Email Response Goal


Now, let’s setup a mechanism to keep in contact with leads and prospects (people that already responded, but haven’t become clients yet). The best way to do this inside of Drip is with a Campaign.

Click on “Campaigns” from the navigation menu.

Click on the New Campaign button on the right side of the page.

Name your Campaign and click Create Campaign.

Create Campaign


Click on Create Your First Email.

Create First Campaign


From here you can create your first campaign email. If you click on “Emails” from the Campaigns menu, you’ll be able to build out your campaign sequence.


Email Campaign Sequence


I highly recommend using your campaign for sending helpful articles, case studies and other forms of content that trigger interest from your leads and prospects. This is a whole separate topic, but for now I would focus on getting your initial campaign email in place.

Once everything looks good, click on “Draft” next to the name of your campaign and then choose “Activate”.

Activate Your Campaign

Now, go back to your Automation Workflows page and click on your Workflow.

Click on the + symbol under your last email in the sequence.

From the drop-down box under “What action should we perform?”, choose Send a Campaign.

Choose your campaign.

Be sure to turn on the option next to where it says “Continue sending campaign emails even if a goal is achieved”. This assures that your leads that haven’t responded to any of your automated cold outreach email campaigns will receive your articles and case studies.

Choose Email Campaign


Assuming the first email in your campaign is set to send “Immediately”, you will want to setup a Delay before sending leads into your campaign. To do this, select the + symbol above your campaign step. I usually set the delay to at least 7 days and to start sending on either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

The last step we want to setup is sending the leads that have replied to your emails into your Campaign. Simply repeat the step above, but this time click on the + symbol under the “Replied to any email” Goal.

The bottom part of your Workflow should look something like this…

Workflow Example


Now that your email automation campaign is setup, it’s time to turn it on.

Click on the Start button.

Click Start Button

Ok, so now that we have our database setup and email automation campaign setup, it’s time to make the connect everything together.

This is where Zapier comes into play.

Zapier simply looks for triggers (or actions) from one system and passes data from that system into other systems. In this tutorial, Zapier is going to help automate how we pass contacts in our lead database over to Drip.

Inside of Zapier, click on MAKE A ZAP! A “Zap”, as Zapier refers to it, is a series of actions that take place based off of a trigger (something happening in a software program).

Make a Zap

Be sure to give you Zap a name.


Inside of the box under “Choose a Trigger App”, enter “Google Sheets” and click on the that option.

Choose a Trigger App


Choose the “New or Updated Spreadsheet Row” option.

Click on Continue.


Choose new or updated spreadsheet row


On the next step, click on the “Connect an Account” button. This will take you to a permissions page to connect the account you have on Google with Zapier.

Click on the Allow button.

Connect Zapier account to your Google account


Give your Google account a name inside of Zapier.

Click on the Save + Continue button.

Name your Google account


Click in each box on the next page and choose the following options to associate your spreadsheet fields with Zapier.

Associated spreadsheet fields with Zapier


The step inside Zapier is to test and make sure it can pull field data from your Google Spreadsheet.

Click on Fetch & Continue.


Testing data with Google Spreadsheet


If Zapier gives you an error, be sure you have data fields entered into at least one row in your Google Spreadsheet. Once you’ve done that you can click on the retest button.

Once your test is successful, click on the Continue button.

Successful test


Next, click on the + symbol under your Google Sheets step to add a filter or an action.

Choose Filter.


Choose filter


Click Save + Continue on the next page.

Save and continue


On the Filter Setup & Testing page, complete the options with what I have shown below.


Setup filter


Click on the Continue button.

Now place an ‘x’ in one of your Google Spreadsheet rows.

Add an x under Send to Drip field


Click on the Test Filter button.

Test filter


If you didn’t have an ‘x’ under the Send to Drip field before setting up this Zap you you can simply click on the “Test this Step” link in your Google Sheets step and retest. This will capture a new set of data which will associate the test data set (Google Spreadsheet row it uses for testing the Zap) with the ‘x’.

You can also just click on the Continue button on the test step whether it says it missing an ‘x’ under the Send to Drip field or not. If you followed my steps properly, your Zap will work.

Successful Test


Click on the Continue button.

On the Choose an Action app page enter “Drip” inside of the search box.

Choose Drip


Click on the Continue button.

Select the “Create or Update Subscriber” option.

Choose Create or Update Subscriber option


Click on the Continue button.

On the next page, click on the Connect an Account button.

You’ll come to this page.

API setup


Open a separate tab and go to your Drip account.

Click on the cog icon on the upper-right portion of the page.

Click User Settings.

Click User Settings

Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Copy the API Token.

Copy API Token


Go back to your Zapier page where it asks for the API Token and paste your token in the box and click the Yes, Continue button.

It will take you back to your Zapier workflow. Be sure to give your Drip account a name, similar to how you did this with your Google Sheets account.

Click on the Continue button.

Complete the first part of the form using the example below as a guide. Click on the button on the right side of each field to get a list of options from your Google Sheets. You’ll see sample field data so you can confirm the Google Sheets fields that you want associated with your new Drip subscriber.

You’ll also need to setup at least 3 custom fields as shown below. The names you give custom fields will show up in Drip message. Drip’s editor has an option called “View Shortcodes”. You’ll see your custom fields here and can insert them inside of your email messages.


Drip fields


The last option on this page is to add a tag to the subscriber. The tag name should be the name used for the trigger event on Drip. As a refresher, below is a screenshot of what we used in this example.

Applied tag trigger


All we need to do now is enter the tag name (e.g. newlead) into the Tags option for the subscriber.

Adding a tag

Once this is entered, click on the Continue button.

You’ll come to a page where you’ll need to test the Drip workflow using the test data.

On this page, click on the Create & Continue button.

Finished Testing


Once you are done with your test, click on the Finish button.

Click on the switch button to turn your Zap on.

Turn Zap on


One final step I recommend setting up inside of Drip is Lead Scoring. This allows you to give a weighted score to each action a lead takes from your emails and on your website (assuming you’ve installed the Drip javascript code before the closing body tag on your website). Take a moment to read the article I wrote on how to setup Lead Scoring inside of Drip.

Now you are ready to start adding new leads into your database and automatically send them into your Drip email automation workflow.

As you setup this system, please feel free to comment below with your questions. I’m here to help 🙂



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