The Outbound Audit: Three Examples to Boost Email Campaign Engagement

Unfortunate truth time.

Sometimes outbound lead gen campaigns flop — even if you’re emailing the right people in an ideal industry with a perfectly well-crafted message.

When it happens, instinct might tell you to scrap the whole campaign and start over, or maybe switch to a different target if you’re not 100% confident in your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

We’ve been there, and we’ve learned that it doesn’t always take reinventing the wheel to enhance engagement.

Often, you can start filling your pipeline — and save yourself a lot of extra effort — simply by paying attention to the replies you receive and looking for more opportunities to tailor your outbound campaigns to your target audience.

Target Intentionally for Effective Lead Generation

For one of our video agency clients — let’s call them Carl Denham Productions — the healthcare industry seemed like a natural fit based on their credibility.

We reached out to marketing titles on their behalf with the following message:

This initial email campaign checked a lot of the right boxes — establishing credibility early, clearly stating the benefits to the prospect, and providing a softer call to action (CTA). It even used the prospect’s company domain creatively to make the message feel more personal and less like a generic email blast.

Even so, the campaign underperformed. The few replies we got indicated the same thing — that most prospects handle their recruiting videos in-house.

Instead of moving away from healthcare altogether, we used that feedback to rethink our targeting strategy.

We narrowed down our list of healthcare organizations to the ones without any video or production-related roles internally. The message we sent didn’t change, other than one addition after the greeting:

“I saw that [COMPANY] didn’t have a video team, so I wanted to reach out and see if we can fill that gap.”

That small adjustment and more selective targeting yielded 4x more replies and took us from 0 to 2 leads — one of which went to proposal — in just over 3 weeks of sending.


If you’re not seeing responses and leads from a good-fit industry, dig deeper. Are there any circumstances that make a company more likely to need your services? If so, look for companies within your target industry that fit those criteria. 

And make sure you tell them why you’re reaching out (it proves you’ve done your research).

Personalize Your Emails

Below is another campaign we sent to small business owners and founders on behalf of one of our consulting clients — Marty Byrde Consulting.

No leads and just one reply. 

It might have had something to do with the confusing third paragraph — now’s not the right time…but it is?

We took that paragraph and edited it to speak to the prospect’s industry:

“Even if you don’t think you’re ready to sell right now, now is the time to start making your company look more attractive — in this unpredictable market, we are seeing surprising activity in business acquisitions in [INDUSTRY].”

This small revision achieves a few things. It makes the message more relevant to the prospect by identifying a trend in their field. It conveys to the prospect that Marty Byrde Consulting has direct experience in their space. And finally, it creates a stronger sense of urgency by assuring the prospect that companies are still selling despite the state of the economy.

The change resulted in a jump from 0 to 5 leads and 17 replies.


Making an observation about the prospect’s industry is an easy way to personalize your message and demonstrate expertise at once, both of which are critical for generating leads.

Proactively Handle Objections

Working with a commercial real estate consultant that we’ll call Strode Realty, we set up a campaign to target a variety of titles and industries in one geographic area.

Despite a lack of lead production, the campaign had a healthy reply rate of 3.3%.

Those replies had a common thread. Prospects were locked into a lease and didn’t have an immediate need for a new space, so they disqualified themselves.

Thankfully, Strode Realty has a track record of helping companies when they’re under contract too, so we adjusted our messaging accordingly.

This time, after the greeting, we addressed the objection we saw repeatedly in our initial responses:

“[COMPANY] is probably still mid-lease, but that’s when we tend to be the most helpful to [TITLE] teams like yours.”

Now, even prospects with 5+ years to go before they can switch locations won’t necessarily stop reading — and the title personalization we snuck in adds a bit more relevance, too.

The revised campaign is ongoing, but we’d already gotten a lead within 18 days.


Listen when prospects say no. They’re probably not alone in their reasoning, and if you can get ahead of their concerns with your message, they’ll be more likely to hear you out.

Pivot By Degrees

These examples illustrate how minor tweaks to your outbound lead generation strategies can result in more effective campaigns.

These aren’t through-the-roof, drop-everything-and-write-home-about-them numbers, but they are a step in the right direction. Even better, they’ve given us insights we can use for future iterations with these clients.

The bottom line? It’s good to pivot when you see things aren’t working. You just may not have to pivot as far as you think to make a difference.

Need An Honest Outbound Partner?

Our outbound email campaigns are informed by years of experience building sales pipelines for companies with a desire for steady growth. Schedule a call with us to find out how we can help you win more clients.