The 20 steps you need to know (step-by-step guide)

Why outreach?

Gaining new customers or reactivating old ones, collaborators, followers or even partners is what we all want. Yet, waiting for them to find us and knock our door, couldn’t be considered as a best practice! When you actually care about growing your business, you have to get out there, find your audience and talk to them. An efficient way to do that is to set an outreach campaign. All you need to do is to put on the paper who you wanna address and how you will find them, what is your message as well as your end goal and of course how you are going to do it.

There are many misunderstandings around outreach process, yet there are some certain steps you should follow if you want to take significant results and reach your end goal. So to make it clear, the outreach process requires the following 3 phases for each stage (composing a new or executing an existing list):

  1. Preparation Phase
  2. Execution Phase
  3. Post – Execution Phase

In which channels?

What are the channels to use for your outreach task? Emails, facebook or google-ads via custom audience (and remarketing) or even chatting or push notifications. For now, we will deal with the emailing aspect.

Outreach Process in a nutshell

So, let’s say you are preparing an outreach campaign. You can’t start running the process without getting the list of the leads needed. There are two cases when it comes to your target audience:

  1. You are targeting to your existing customers, so you already have the leads but in a wrong state (i.e. dormant, disengaged, leaking to competition).
  2. You are targeting to a new audience, so you have to find the leads from scratch. This means you have to spend a lot of time deciding:
    • who is your audience and how to discover them
    • find the companies your audience is working in
    • find the people in these companies, tracking as much data as possible about each one of them

Simply put, you have two (2) options. Either you have the list to outreach or you have to create that f…. list. 🙂

After you get the list, things get easier, yet there are still things to do:

Preparation phase

Step 1
Data Cleansing
Through away what’s not necessary for your data. Take a careful look at the data you have collected until now. Chances are that not all of this data is of the same quality and significance.

Step 2
Consolidate your data

Put all the data together to make a mega-list. Tracking data from different places across web, using different tools each time, means that you end up with many lists that have to be combined. So, put all of your data together and create your mega-list.

Step 3
Set your valuable elements

Define your dimensions, or else, any valuable information you know about each and every person on your list. Your dimensions may refer to the industry they are working, their demographics, their habits etc. Specifically in case that the list comes from your system(s), try to collect as many metadata as possible. Things that will help you segment that list in the best possible way.

Step 4
Create Segments

Make segments using your dimensions in every possible combination. This will result to all of your options available for outreach audiences. For example, if you have 4 different dimensions, you will end up with around 16 different segments. Select those that make sense for your business and not the union of the dimensions you have

Step 5
Pick your battles

Pick the top segments according the rule of 20-80 (NOT every customer count). In other words, pick those that make the impact in your business.

Step 6
Create your content

Create your content (aka digital properties). Of course you are not going to outreach to each segment with the same copies, otherwise there would be no point in the segmentation process. For each segment you have to use different copy, subject lines and digital properties (it could be a contest, a discount coupon, a personalized offer, a gift, an informational page, a sign-up form, a thank you page, anything need to be tested). This will work as an A/B testing to help you find out what works best.

Execution Phase

Step 7

Time for implementation! Send out your emails and make sure you have used all of your options to make your retargeting possible and easier (ex pixels).

Step 8

Analyze the first results and the data collected from your first wave of outreach. This will show you which variants performed best, so you can use them later.

Post Execution Phase

And finally, it’s time to follow up. Change copies and variants, use the ones that performed best to those that didn’t engage.

Step 9

Re-execute again and again targeting those recipients that didn’t open your emails at first.

Working Example

We have worked with many companies, resurrecting dormant customers or outreaching audience. Just leave your email below and we will send you a working example on how we implemented the process as analysed above

Assuming you have the list, the process seems quite simple and straightforward, but let’s go a little bit deeper. In the following guide, we explain in detail how an outreach process should be done step by step if you have no list and you need to create one. Well, good luck!

Preparation Phase

In the idea of an outreach campaign, there are not a few people who start thinking about creative copies and messages from day one. This couldn’t be more wrong practice! In the first phase of your outreach campaigns, you have to follow five steps, which will bring you on the paper all the information needed to build your strategy.

Step 1:
Decide your audience
It’s impossible to set up an outreach campaign without knowing who you are addressing to. The whole campaign depends on the audience, from the goals you are setting to the copies you will use. So, your very first step is to write down who are you targeting. It’s not necessary to have one and only target audience, actually you shouldn’t have! Instead, you can set a primary and then a secondary audience.

Remember, at this step, you are just identifying your audience, you are not researching for leads. Yet, this step will save you a lot of time later when you will have to start your actual research.

Step 2:
Create Personas (aka Micro-segmentation)
Maybe some of you think that audience and personas definition is actually the same thing. Yet, it isn’t. When we talk about audience, we mean groups with similar characteristics, such as companies with a certain number of employees, activity sector, or year of establishment.

On the other hand, when we talk about personas, we move to the individual sector, creating groups of people who share similar characteristics. To be more specific, if our audience targets small technology companies, in London, with 10-25 employees, our personas could be the CEOs of these companies.

Step 3:
Set your potential actions
For every action you take, there is a reason. Something you want to learn, to gain or even to give. So does the outreach! There is a reason for running an outreach campaign and that’s your end goal or goals. Most of the times there are more than one ways to reach your end goal, so don’t stick just to a certain path.

To have a successful outreach campaign you have to give something to your audience, that they’ll consider it valuable, worthy and awesome, no matter what you give (book, service, infographic video or whatever else you may think about). As said, it doesn’t have to be just one of them, but two, three or more. The same goes for the service options! Always remember to do an A/B testing, trying at least two different ways to approach your audience and analyze which one performs best.

Step 4:
What’s your channel?
Through which channel are you going to run the outreach process? Why do you think this channel is the best way for you to reach your goals? And what do you need to run the process with this channel? For example, if your best channel to use is the email, then you have to find the proper leads to get in touch with your audience.

Step 5:
Can you technically support the outreach process?
Now that you have an idea of what you are looking for, why you need it and partly how to use it, it’s time to think if you have the proper technical knowledge and support to execute. Searching and finding your audience from scratch requires a lot of time researching, web scraping, reading and analyzing the data collected since you want to make sure you have quality leads. Apart from that, building strong relationships with your audience it’s not something that you’ll get from day one. It takes time and effort to succeed it and then reach your end goal. Keep in mind that if your end goal it’s just a single action for one time and only, there is something missing.


Execution Phase

Until now, you’ve put on paper everything needed to know actually why you are running your outreach campaign, what is your goal, who are your targeting, how you’ll approach your audience and if you are able to run the whole process. From now on, it’s time to take action and start the execution phase, which couldn’t be less than another five steps.

Step 6:
Start by finding companies

It’s way much easier to start by finding companies that fit your niche when it comes to audience tracking. There are plenty of tools that can help you in this step, making your life even easier. Some nice suggestions are the, the, the and the Remember to use more than one tool each time, so that you can compare the results and take high-quality leads.

These tools will provide you with significant data and lists of companies, depending on your parameters (industry, geographical region, establishment date, number of employees, last fund round etc.).  Also, this type of data may be useful to you for the way you will outreach them.

Try for example or angellist or directories or yellow pages. They will not come cheap but they will come massively


Step 7:
From companies to individuals

Assuming that now you have the domains of the companies, it’s time to find the people working in them! Of course, having a list of the companies you need takes you one step closer to that. Maybe you haven’t noticed it yet, but the execution process is a dance of tools. Again, you’d better use more than one tool and a lot of manual intervention to take the emails and any other info of the employees of each company, and there are many chances to end up with really bad quality results.

To make sure you are not wasting your time with tools that actually don’t function, make a test to your company or a company that you know. Chances are that if you are taking the right results for your company, the same will happen for the rest of the companies.

To help you save even more time, I suggest you to consider using the and the


Step 8:
Take your time
Knowing that you’ve already spent a lot of time to reach this step, you’ll probably be in a hurry to finally execute and run the process. But if you can’t manage that, you risk sending all of your effort to the rubbish. Take a breath and set your time frame. Split your actions across this frame in order to be able to evaluate of each action.

Step 9:
Segments, dimensions, and copies

Once you’re done with that and you have your database ready if you decide to send the same message to everyone then congratulations… your outreach campaign just FAILED!

Across the article has been made clear the significance of A/B testing. So, are you sure you want to just waste your list that easy? If not, then you’ll need to work according to the following path:

1. Make a list of all the data you have collected from the different companies, different tools, and ways.
2. Then start making segments according to common characteristics (age, gender years in the company, position or whatever you need according to your strategy).
3. Create different copies and define what offer you will give in each segment, according to the copy you’ll send.
4. Create variants for each segment. Actually, don’t even start unless you have at least 3 variants per segment.

Did you notice, that I didn’t mention the copy until step 9? Yet, is one of the major factors that will determine the success or the failure of your outreach campaign. You know that your offer is valuable to you, but you have to make it valuable for your audience, and there is no other way to do that than with really awesome copy! So really work on it, as what you need to do is to make the receiver say “Yes, I want this!”.

Step 10:
Time to execute

The moment you were waiting for has come! Once you’ve done all of the above, you are ready to start outreaching your audience. Actually, this is the simplest part of the whole process. Again remember there is no reason to rush and send all of the emails at the same time. Create a calendar and start sending them, while monitoring their results for about 3 days. Then decide what worked out and what didn’t, make your changes and send the next ones!

Post Execution Phase

If you thought that an outreach campaign ends with the sending of the emails you couldn’t be more wrong! In this phase, there is a single step, yet it’s an important one if you want to reach your end goal, as set in Step 3.

Step 11:
Follow up
They say that in sales and marketing, you have to knock 3 times before the customer opens the door. Follow up is a step not to be skipped if you want actually to see results. Change copies, subject lines, use the best performing of your previous copies, but for sure don’t stop until you’ve gone through 3 waves of contacting your audience. Watch out… don’t go far than the 3 waves, you want to sale, not to be abusive!


How much time should you consider outreaching 2m dormant customers? Well, be aware that’s a 3 to 4 man/months of a 6 months project that involves all kind of growth expertise. From marketing concept to designing and coding abilities. But what if you could manage to resurrect a 25% of that list? That could save your day no?

Working Example

We have worked with many companies, resurrecting dormant customers or outreaching audience. Just leave your email below and we will send you a working example on how we implemented the process as analysed above

Theodore has a 15-year experience in running successful and profitable software products. During his free time, he coaches and consults startups. His career includes managerial posts for companies both in Greece and abroad and he has significant skills on intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship.