This document contains an overview of Manifest’s first cold email outreach campaign.
It is broken down into two parts - first, outlining how we conceptualized and built our sequence, and then the email copy itself.
Feedback on the sequence itself, as well as on our thinking, decisions, and opinions, is truly appreciated!
Manifest’s responsive web app makes it simple for an employee to consolidate their old retirement accounts into their current plan. Put another way, our app simplifies rollovers & transfers of old 401(k)’s, 403(b)’s and other defined contribution retirement accounts.
A key aspect of our business model is that rather than allowing individual users to sign up, Manifestlaunches with employers and relies on them to give us access to their employees. Employer launches allow us to make one side of the “transfer equation” simple - i.e. once an employee’s check arrives at the current plan, the assets are quickly deposited in. For this reason, Manifest is a B2B2C company, and securing employers is key to our growth.
Manifest is always free for participants and will always offer a free version of our employer application. We don’t require any integrations to go live, and don’t make clients sign any contracts. We’re accessible through a web browser on any device.
Our Target Audience
Our target audience for our cold email sales campaign is HR professionals at companies larger than 200 employees.
When visualizing our target audience, we realized this is not a homogenous job title. Employees in human resources have differing levels of competency, specialty areas, and job focuses.
We decided to classify our prospects as one of two groups:
Cost-Focused: Benefits directors, Senior Managers, more “technically involved” HR professionals who will respond best to our impact on business costs: such as reducing plan costs, how our benefit performs on a plan-wide level, etc.
Talent-Focused: Chief People Officer, Head of Culture, Head of Talent, less “technically involved” HR professionals who will respond best to our impact on employees: such as recruiting, hiring, retention, onboarding, etc.
When creating email content, some messages are specifically tailored to one of the “Cost” or “Talent” groups, in an attempt to present our impact in a more relevant way to our prospects.
Our product is more complex and difficult to understandthan a simpler app - we are the first and only consolidation tool of its kind that launches through employers. Education matters in our outreach to achieve success.
Manifest’s app does not make any changes to a retirement plan. We exclusively “add-on” to a plan, allowing participants access to a much easier rollover solution. We’ve used the visual below to communicate this to clients:
Based on our experience, this is the hardest concept for prospects of all competency levels to understand. We must be clear in our portrayal of where we fit in.
We’re focused on product-led sales, rather than sales-led sales. As a result, we’ve designed our product to be as simple and portable as possible - zero costs, zero integrations, and zero contracts.
Maximizing retirement outcomes is our mission and purpose. We have a quantifiable way we do that for employees, and doing so cuts costs for employers as well. In our outbound campaigns, we want to leverage this clear value proposition to get the attention of our prospects.
Should just the first email be personalized, or all of them? Where do you see the line of “diminishing returns” when it comes to personalization in an email campaign?
What’s the best tool stack to use to generate leads in outbound sales?For example, we currently use HubSpot as a CRM, and
Our goal in our email sequences is to get a demo meeting. Are we doing that as effectively as possible? Are we making our emails clear enough to achieve this goal?
What type of media materials are helpful to engaging our prospects? We have PDF’s, newspaper articles, videos, case studies, and more - which of these work?
How do we incorporate LinkedIn outreach? Do we “graduate” to LinkedIn after our sequence, or send both concurrently?
What are smart ways to create urgency/scarcity in outreach? For example, some strategies we use are “if you schedule in the next month, we’ll plant 100 trees” or “we’re free until the end of 2022”.
A - Sequence Creation
Our Creation Process - The 3 R’s:
In order to create a replicable process to build an email sequence, we established the following format for our emails:
[A] Relevant: On initial emails, this is a personalized introduction with an attempt to create a shared connection. In later emails, this could be an attention-grabber, or an attempt to solve a prospect’s perceived business need.
[B] Reward: A case study, video, relevant statistics - something that delivers value to our prospect. Note: when sending “Cost” and “Talent”
[C] Request: What we want from our prospects is a meeting and product demo. Our requests will often be to schedule a time to meet with us - however, everyone asks for a meeting. To stand out, we try other methods such as simply requesting to stay in touch, or creating a deadline.
As we create different versions of “the 3 R’s”, we save them as much as possible for re-use. When we create a new sequence, we can use the “segment” templates as a starting point for email creation. We’ve laid out some of those templates in the table below.
Relevant, Reward, Request Templates
B - Deliverable: First Email Sequence
Sample Prospect: Lindsay H., Senior HR Manager at VelocityEHS
Based on job title, we’ve classified this prospect under “Cost” - we expect them to be more involved in the benefit selection and evaluation process, and hence more likely to respond positively to our financial impacts on an employer.
Here’s a quick overview of our sequence, to Lindsay and to other prospects matching our persona:
Email 1: A personalized email designed to be relevant and readable.
Email 2: A clear description of Manifest’s “add-on” definition. With “Cost”-focused prospects, we attempt to establish early that we don’t make any changes to a retirement plan.
Email 3: Beginning here, we start to focus more on quick, digestable emails that state our value proposition.
Email 4: We decided given the nature of our product (sensitive user information is required for rollovers), all our sequences should include an email focused on our strong compliance and security standards.
Email 5: Another quick, digestable value proposition email focusing on different areas.
Subject line: “Introducing Manifest - make transfers into your 401(k) plan seamless”
Assets: Video from our CTO
Great to meet you! Anuraag here, I’m an entrepreneur based right here in Chicago.
Manifest is my third startup - my first startup was focused on driving sustainable outcomes, which has always been a passion of mine. That’s why when I came across VelocityEHS, your mission really resonated with me.
Here at Manifest, we’re impact-driven too. Our impact is tied to increasing retirement savings - for the employers we work with, we’re able to increase employee account balances by $13,450!
We make this happen by reducing friction in the account transfer process. Here’s a quick video from our CTO showing how we decrease 401(k) rollover effort from 7 hours to 8 minutes.
I’d love to grab 30 minutes of your time to personally demonstrate our product to you. Do you have some time this week?
I can’t wait to hear from you,
P.S. - if you schedule a demo with us before the end of the year, we’ll plant 100 trees, regardless of the outcome!Just in case you weren’t sure how much we cared about helping our community and our planet :)
Subject line: “401(k)’s are complex - how we cut your costs isn’t”
Timing: Day 3
401(k)’s are complicated. Manifest isn’t. We are a free add-on to your retirement plan.
What does an add-on mean? We don’t change anything about your retirement plan - we augment it by introducing simple 401(k) transfers. Here’s some other examples of add-ons:
Augment your kitchen with the add-on of a dishwasher
Augment your TV with the add-on of a streaming service
Augment your hot dog with the add-on of mustard (or ketchup, or nothing... we don’t judge!)
Manifest doesn’t touch user funds or make any investment recommendations. All we do is reduce the 401(k) transfer process from 8 hours to 7 minutes for your participants. We’ll cut your costs and increase your plan assets in the process.
? We’d love to support your growth, and I’d love your feedback on Manifest’s innovative new product!
Subject line: “Setting the Standard for Safe Transfers”
Assets: Compliance video
Timing: Day 9
I wonder why I haven’t heard back from you! Could it be that you’re wary of an innovative new product?
Look, we get it. 401(k)’s (and retirement savings in general) are to many people the most important part of personal finance.
That’s why we’ve made