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Unleashed - How to Thrive as an Independent Professional

Sep 25, 2023

Show Notes:

In this discussion, Joe Pope, the Partner and Director of Business Development at Hinge Marketing, discusses cold outreach. He explains that it is crucial to understand the key issues, topics, and channels that target audiences in order to effectively engage with them. The old method of folding dialing and outsourcing has developed a reputation for not seeing ROI or benefit from the time spent on it. Joe suggests that when developing an approach to cold outreach, it is essential to focus on understanding social media cadence, marketing strategies, the target audience's industries, key issues, and subject matter expertise. This will help avoid falling victim to the sea of sameness and ensure that the message is tailored to the specific needs of the target audience. 


Joe offers an example of an independent consultant who wants to expand their circle of clients. They have 15 years of experience in strategic sourcing and procurement. They may have already reached out to past clients and people they know but now want to expand their circle. Joe suggests making sure they know the title of the contact and ask questions around directly relatable topics and issues.  Linkedin should be used for commenting and sharing on posts or connection requests. Connection requests should only be used if you can offer valuable services, but InMail messages tend to be a waste of time. Joe explains the type of messages and messaging that work and what doesn’t work, including to avoid spam, use a slightly warm connection in your connection request, such as mentioning a secondary or third connection. If you're cold, make a reason why you're reaching out, such as having a secondary connection in common or being in an industry that you just created a presentation for or something of value.. 

Joe discusses reaching out to people to work together on content creation on email rather than InMail, but you should identify the value to them. It’s also a good tactic to use connections from your college or business school, former colleagues, or other relevant sources to move the needle closer to potential clients, and likewise, following the same topic feeds as potential clients and commenting on posts they read.

Joe talks about the importance of subject lines and email length in cold outreach, highlighting that they can lead to positive ROI. Subject headlines should be short, around six to eight words, and tied to a resonating topic such as events. This approach has been successful in generating responses and open rates. Short, personalized subject lines should avoid using emojis, as they may not resonate with the intended audience. Event-related subject lines can be used to reference specific services or resources that resonate with the target audience. For instance, a firm could send a targeted list of people in industries that resonate with database decisions or artificial intelligence. By referencing the company's name, the message is personalized and relevant to the recipient. For resource-based subject lines, it is important to focus on the topic and the information being conveyed. Joe does not recommend offering a guide in the subject line, but he does mention the importance of referencing something in the first outreach email to get conversations going and provide value propositions. He offers suggestions on how to encourage engagement depending on where the client is on the funnel.

Email Content Sharing Tips

Joe emphasizes that cold outreach emails are not the most effective for top of the funnel and/or sharing content because they make people take more steps than just communicating or responding to you. Instead, he suggests using targeted text messages with a focus on a specific topic or deliverable. He recommends setting up an intro call to discuss how they can help with the issue. He suggests using a set list of available times and blocking them in their calendar for the outreach process. Instead, the best use of content distribution is to spend  that time and effort on areas with larger visibility range, such as getting the guide referenced in editorials or guest publishing. 

Best Time to Send Outreach Email

Joe identifies the optimal wait time between emails, which is typically three to four days. The optimal time for sending emails is usually in the mid mornings, as it allows for better open rates for consistent content like research studies or webinars. The best time of day for sending emails is 9:30 a.m. or 10:00 a.m., as it allows for better eye screening and engagement. He touches on the importance of testing different email formats and timings to ensure they don't blend in with other emails. The second follow-up email, which should be a reply to the first one, has been found to have a better open rate. He also touches on the use of calendar links in emails, which can be overbearing and may hinder connection with recipients. He also talks about using a separate email domain to counter being marked as spam. 

Email Response Rate Metrics and Tracking

Joe discusses the process of obtaining contact information for larger domains through data vendors like Zoom, Apollo, or Lucia. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the target audience and building profiles to ensure qualified responses. Meanings for response rates are important, as they vary based on the campaign and industry. Joe offers examples of open-rates and response rates from email campaigns. The number of meetings can be estimated by tracking the number of replies and meetings received. A good benchmark is 200 emails for one meeting. However, it's important to note that the number of meetings may vary across different campaigns. 

Email Tracking and Follow-up Processes 

Joe moves on to tracking and follow-up processes. If an email is opened but not responded to, it's important to follow up with the person. If they respond, they must provide a conditional or positive response. He offers examples of the best approach to engaging the reader. This data can be used for retargeting later down the road, such as using Google Ads systems or LinkedIn to target them with advertising. By tracking and following up with potential recipients, businesses can improve their outreach efforts and maintain a strong reputation in the industry.

Joe discusses the importance of a campaign approach in email marketing. They emphasize that the campaign should be ongoing, with the same profile being targeted on a monthly basis. This approach allows for the development of new campaigns and topics that resonate with the target audience. He discusses the concept of re-engagement campaigns, which are designed to target specific clients who may not have responded to their initial email. He explains that these campaigns are not obsessive, but rather focus on specific services or needs that clients may not have initially.

In conclusion, Joe emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive strategy in email marketing, emphasizing the importance of trust, reputation, and visibility in the decision-making process.



  • 04:48 How to reach out to a niche market

  • 12:28 How to reach out to influencers

  • 17:49 How to use subject lines in your email

  • 26:01 How to reach out to your audience

  • 34:26 Should you send a follow up email

  • 38:49 Metrics and response rates

  • 44:33 Reaching out to potential clients





Unleashed is produced by Umbrex, which has a mission of connecting independent management consultants with one another, creating opportunities for members to meet, build relationships, and share lessons learned. Learn more at