What it do, Grow-Getter crew?
It’s going to come as no shock to you that the three of us are scholars of the highest order, so today we’re starting off by discussing the Pop Psych classic, Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. In it, he states that a tipping point is “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” This is when a movement goes from being linear to exponential — local to viral. This concept is, of course, very topical right now given what’s been spreading around the globe, but it can just as easily be applied to your business growth.
One of the key elements that he notes is necessary for a concept to spread is the connector. This person is someone that knows a LOT of people (ahem, Codie & Olo, ahem), and loves to make introductions and bring folks together. We all know that person from high school that was friends with everybody and grew up to, surprise surprise, work in sales. That kind of magical ability to bring people together and rally around an idea is rare and SO valuable when you’re thinking through how to get traction.
Here’s the theory – We call it OPP: Other People’s Popularity
No it’s not a Naughty by Nature reference, although you’re welcome for this throwback.When you use other people’s popularity. You share once, and your one share, in the right pool, ripples continuously. That’s the power of connections and partnerships. Using another person’s audience to grow your own is a tried and true tactic, but it isn’t always clear how exactly to do that. This is how we visualize it. You build, you share, and them sharing once creates a flywheel.
DISCLAIMER: You don’t want to come across like you’re a vampire (it’s not 2008 anymore, they’re no longer cool) — leeching off other people’s success without providing value. But you do want to find your connector friends and offer them an opportunity that’s compelling enough for them to share. That’s why this week, we’re breaking down Strategic Partnerships and Outreach.
Method: (Net)Work for It – The Ripple Effect
Let’s start with Olo. After his initial Gmail hack outreach, he got an email back from Kennedy, the host of The Email Marketing Show, a podcast for – you guessed it – dog enthusiasts email marketers, inviting us to come speak:
Obviously, this is the ideal best-case-scenario for your outreach. And of course, it helps that Olman knows Kennedy personally. But what we’re learning throughout this exercise is that:
1. It never hurts to hit up to your network, and
2. You don’t always know what kind of cool sh*t people are doing until you reach out!
This podcast was unexpected, and puts us in front of a new audience of people that are highly relevant to the mission of this newsletter.
Olman also hit up FindThatLead, a software that we mentioned we were using, and let them know that we were featuring them in our newsletter. As a result, they also agreed to mention us in theirs!
But, I’m Just A Little Guy??
Here’s the thing: you may think that what you’re working on is small potatoes compared to what a company is doing. But think about it this way: the majority of the time a company is hearing from customers, it’s negative. This is called Negativity Bias, humans are hard wired to focus more on the negative in order to survive. So providing a company with a positive message and an example of how you’re using the product successfully is the stuff of marketing team DREAMS.
Pro tip: Don’t send this email to customer support (you’ll probably get a customer support response if you do). Instead, send to the CMO, the CEO, and anyone who may have skin in the game.
While Olo was whippin’ up his partnerships, Codie searched through her LinkedIn contacts for those who had podcasts, big marketing presences etc and found Eric Siu, the CEO of Clickflow (and a few podcasts with millions of downloads), and sent him the following email:
Some notables from this email that we want to call out.
1) First off, Codie sounds like a PERSON, not a robot, making her a lot more likely to get a response (which, spoiler, she did, and he’s in!)
2) She also leverages her own network as an incentive for Eric to partner, making it a mutually beneficial offer.
3) Finally, she ends her email with a question indicating that she is willing to put in effort to make this exchange worth his time.
A quick note: if you’re sitting here like, ‘OK but I don’t have access to people with a podcast or a platform,’ we get it. The people you know may not be Joe Rogan — they may be Joe Schmo. But we all have six degrees of separation from people that are doing cool stuff that’s relevant to what we’re doing! A perfect segue into our takeaways this week…
To help us out with our takeaways this week, we called on a special guest: Chris Schelzi is not only Ilona’s boo-thang (he did not consent to being called this, for the record), but has also successfully landed BIG names to appear an AppSumo interview series he hosted called The Remote Work Academy.
He helped us come up with our outreach messages (which, btw, we are continuing to send, and will keep reporting on!) so we figured it’d be best to have these takeaways come straight from the Chris’ mouth. Without further ado, Chris, take it away!
Hey, Grow Getters! Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned while doing outreach for RWA, that you can implement in your partnership outreach:
1) Be a Genuine Fan – And Show It.
By knowing their actual work, you’ll be creating a connection that has a real foundation. This will come across in every interaction you have. If you’re just reaching out because they have clout, you’re doing it wrong.
2) Timing is everything.
Part of why I was so successful with my outreach was timing. I started RWA in early April, right as Covid was changing everyone’s plans. While everyone was scrambling, I was offering people a platform to share their ideas with a highly engaged audience. You don’t have to wait for another outbreak to take advantage of this principle. You can think of it on an individual basis. Look for people who have something new to promote: a book, a course, a podcast. These are the people actively in promotion-mode and they want to share their work.
3) Use The ‘Impossible’ Call To Action.
This was a lesson I actually learned from my favorite interviewee, Chris Voss, best-selling author of Never Split The Difference. Voss explains, counterintuitively, that getting people to say ‘No’ is much more powerful than ‘Yes’. So instead of framing your questions where the desired outcome is a ‘yes’, reframe it so you’re looking for a ‘No’. Here’s how I used this deceptively simple little hack to dramatically improve my results.
At the end of each email, instead of asking, “Would it be possible to schedule an interview [insert your own ask]”, I’d ask, “Would it be impossible to make this happen?”. With this simple change is phrasing, people are eager to say “No, it wouldn’t be impossible. What do you have in mind?…” This is as close as I’ve come to mind control.
4) Now You CC It.
This is another one I have filed under: Hacks To Get A Reply.
Let’s start with the facts: most people are lazy when it comes to their email. They see a message from someone asking them a question, they hate making decisions, so ‘Mark Unread’ and move on. How do you avoid this? Make them accountable to someone else. Let’s say you want to partner with someone famous who seems unreachable. Instead of just emailing them directly, where it could sit in their inbox for months untouched, do this:
Find the email address of their assistant or employee. You’re looking for someone on their team that can help advocate for you. For an author, it’s probably an assistant. For a CEO, it’s probably their CMO.
Send the email to the assistant or employee, but CC the Author/CEO. Now what you’re doing is asking the assistant for something, but having their CEO know about it. What typically happens in these situations is this: The author replies first with something like “Hey Chris, sounds cool! Jessica, can you see if it’s a good fit?” Boom! Consider your foot firmly in the door at this point. Now it’s all logistics. Speaking of which…
5) Make It As Easy As F*cking Possible
The worst thing you can do at this point, once you’ve got a tentative commitment, is to screw it up with poor processes. Instead, have everything ready to go as soon as they give you the green light.
For me, this meant creating a ‘Yes’ email template [Use Gmail templates] with everything they need to get set up, so you’re not putting any extra work on them.
This, my growth-loving friend, is how you stand out .
Here’s the outreach email that Chris sent to get Chris Voss to collaborate:
And here’s the template we made using all the tactics laid out above:
- Hey, [Name]!
- Hope your week is treating you well — unprecedented times and all. I’m reaching out because I just launched a newsletter about [what your newsletter is about] ([insert a quip or joke here]), and I’d love to collaborate.
- I’m a HUGE fan of [something they did] — [trust trigger that indicates you are, indeed a fan]. Here’s what I’m thinking: [propose a mutually beneficial partnership].
- Let me know what you think! I’d love to shout you out to my audience and spread the word about what you’re doing, and would really appreciate the help as well. Would it be impossible to kick something off?
- Of course, zero pressure either way! Looking forward to hearing back.
Your challenge is to copy this template and reach out to 5 influential people (they don’t have to be big, they just have to be bigger than you). Once you’ve done that, let us know how it goes!
Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org – we respond to every email, and we’re rooting for you!
Last week we had 1,176 this week 1,636. So 460 new subscribers.
Many of our partnerships are confirmed yes’s but have yet to be published/blasted out. We’ll track each one to see what grows and what doesn’t!
We’re also continuing our outreach efforts and will report back on how those are going. Stay tuned!
Grow Onto Others,
Ilona, Codie, & Olman