Copywriting for Outbound with Joel Graber


In the dynamic world of outbound marketing, understanding the delicate balance between art and science is critical to crafting messages that truly resonate. 

Collin Stewart hosts Joel Graber, CEO at Modern Outbound, for a conversation that sheds light on this delicate balance, offering actionable insights for marketers looking to refine their approach.

Understanding Your Audience

The foundation of effective outbound copywriting lies in a deep understanding of your target audience’s daily life and challenges. 

Joel emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between formulaic messaging and the art of copywriting, suggesting that successful engagement hinges on addressing the core questions any recipient subconsciously asks: 

  • Is this safe? 
  • Can I trust this sender? 
  • Can this person help me?

The Five Pillars of Effective Outbound Copy

  1. Brevity: Keeping messages short and to the point ensures that your audience doesn’t feel overwhelmed and is more likely to engage.
  2. Trustworthiness: Crafting copy that builds trust at first glance is crucial. Avoid elements that might make your email appear spammy or unprofessional.
  3. Insider Language: Using language that resonates with your target audience demonstrates understanding and builds credibility.
  4. Pattern Disruption: Standing out in a crowded inbox requires creativity. However, the goal is to disrupt patterns without sacrificing clarity or relevance.
  5. Human Touch: Ensuring your message feels like it’s coming from a human, not a corporation, fosters connection and openness.

Personalization Beyond the Surface

Joel challenges the traditional personalization view, advocating for a deeper connection that aligns with the recipient’s core needs and challenges. Effective personalization should be a mechanism for being personal, utilizing insights into the recipient’s role and industry to craft messages that speak directly to their situation.

Personalization in outbound sales goes beyond inserting a prospect’s name or company into an email. 

True personalization digs into the recipient’s current situation, challenges, and the specific timing of the outreach. It requires a nuanced understanding of each prospect’s needs and how your solution can meet them at the right moment. 

Crafting messages that resonate on this level can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your outreach.

Strategic List Segmentation

Effective outbound campaigns start with meticulously segmented lists. Sales teams can ensure their messages hit home by focusing on role-driven campaigns informed by specific pain points. 

Leveraging data on company growth, department sizes, and recent executive appointments can provide the context needed to tailor messages that speak directly to each recipient’s situation. This approach helps create highly targeted campaigns that are more likely to convert.

Joel presents a meticulous strategy for list segmentation, emphasizing the initiation of campaigns tailored to specific roles within targeted companies. He proposes utilizing relevant triggers, like recent funding announcements or specific department sizes, to increase the outreach’s pertinence. 

Through rigorous testing and a blend of tactical and strategic planning, Joel’s method seeks to distill the most effective messaging for different target audience segments.

Navigating Success with Precision Targeting

The direction of your outbound efforts is as crucial as the execution. 

Aligning targeting and messaging is like setting the correct course for a ship; without the right direction, even the best crew will struggle to reach their destination. This alignment ensures that your efforts are concentrated on the most promising prospects, making your outreach more efficient and effective.


The Power of Continuous Experimentation

Outbound sales is an ever-evolving field requiring constant experimentation and adaptation. By continuously testing different approaches and refining strategies based on performance data, sales teams can stay ahead of market trends and prospect behaviors. This agile approach allows for quick pivots and optimization of campaigns, ensuring sustained success in outbound efforts.

The success of an outbound campaign also depends on its technical delivery. Ensuring emails reach the inbox and don’t harm the sender’s reputation requires a solid understanding of email infrastructure. 

Utilizing secondary domains and understanding the nuances of email deliverability can safeguard your efforts, ensuring your target audience sees your well-crafted messages.

Leveraging Lookalike Audiences for Targeted Outreach

Lookalike audiences are pivotal in identifying prospects that mirror a business’s best customers. 

Joel underscores the utility of AI-driven tools, such as, for their nuanced context analysis, enabling sales teams to pinpoint accounts with similar traits to top clients. This method fosters a quicker establishment of trust and utilizes social proof effectively, sidestepping the pitfalls of overemphasized ROI or unwarranted hype.

Navigating the Potential and Limitations of Intent Data

The effectiveness of intent data, particularly third-party sources, is met with skepticism by both Collin and Joel. They challenge the prevailing notion of its impact, advocating for tangible success stories to demonstrate its value.

The conversation leans towards the reliability of first-party intent data, suggesting a more tangible and actionable approach to understanding prospect interest levels, especially in complex B2B landscapes.

​​Crafting Compelling Outbound Sales Copy

Joel advocates for beginning with a “stream of consciousness” to unearth the most compelling angle for the audience. This approach cautions against bombarding prospects with too many points at once, recommending a focus on simplicity and direct relevance. 

Graber also champions the iterative process of refining sales copy, often finding the golden nugget of messaging in subsequent drafts. Notably, he highlights the critical role of peer review in elevating the quality of outbound sales copy, suggesting that a collaborative approach can lead to more resonant and effective messaging.

Understanding Your Audience

The first step in effective outbound copywriting is a deep understanding of your audience. 

It is crucial to know their pain points, daily challenges, and how your product or service can uniquely solve these issues. This foundational knowledge ensures your messaging directly addresses specific needs or problems.

Outbound copywriting is an iterative process. 

Initially, it’s essential to “sleep on” your written copy, allowing for a fresh perspective and the opportunity to refine and improve your messaging. This approach underscores the importance of not settling for the first draft but fostering cautious optimism and embracing subsequent iterations for the best results.

Role-Driven Campaigns and Targeting

Effective targeting is paramount in outbound campaigns, with a particular emphasis on role-driven campaigns. Understanding the specific roles within your target companies enables you to tailor your messaging precisely. 

Incorporating subtle triggers, such as recent funding rounds or department sizes, can significantly enhance the relevance and engagement of your copy.

Navigating the Crowded Inbox

In today’s digital age, an individual’s inbox is crowded and filled with competing messages vying for attention. Making your message stand out requires relevance and a clear understanding of engaging your audience effectively. 

It’s not about closing deals through email but acknowledging a problem’s existence, qualifying the prospect’s relevance, and guiding them toward recognizing a potential gap that your product or service can fill.

Incorporating Tools, Feedback, and Peer Review

The role of feedback and peer review in refining outbound copy cannot be overstated. 

Openness to incremental improvements and the willingness to continuously update messaging based on customer insights and peer feedback ensures your outbound efforts remain effective and engaging. This collaborative approach to copywriting ensures a cohesive and compelling narrative from the subject line to the CTA.

Engaging with customers to deeply understand their language and needs allows refining messaging that resonates more authentically. Fueled by real-world interactions, this iterative process keeps outbound efforts impactful.

Leveraging Advanced Tools for Lookalike Audiences

Utilizing advanced tools like for lookalike audience functionality can be a game-changer in identifying companies similar to your best customers. 

However, skepticism towards the effectiveness of intent data suggests a preference for more tangible signals and triggers that better indicate a prospect’s readiness for a solution.

Weekly Review and Adjustment of Copy

Modern Outbound’s approach to refining outbound messaging is a testament to the importance of agility in email marketing. 

By conducting weekly reviews to assess the performance of various campaigns, Joel and his team can pivot quickly, enhancing what works and pausing what doesn’t. This constant state of evaluation and adjustment ensures that communications remain relevant and practical, a crucial factor in the fast-paced world of outbound sales.


The Psychology Behind Effective Copywriting

Joel’s philosophy on copywriting centers around the psychological aspect of engaging a prospect. The strategy is not to bombard with promises but to invoke subtlety and confidence, aiming to educate rather than sell outright. 

By embedding educational value within the email, such as sharing a relevant statistic or insight, the sender positions themselves as an expert, fostering a sense of reciprocity and trust with the prospect.

Embracing Brevity and Directness

The power of brevity in outbound emails cannot be overstated. 

Joel advocates a straightforward approach to cut through the inbox clutter, quickly delivering the message’s core value. This method streamlines communication and builds a peer-to-peer relationship that transcends the traditional salesperson role, enhancing the perception of credibility and competence.

Writing with certainty and authority captures attention and engenders trust more effectively, leading to higher engagement rates. This confidence, paired with a solid understanding of the audience and a commitment to providing value, forms the backbone of successful outbound sales strategies.

In outbound emails, the confidence conveyed through direct and assertive writing significantly impacts the recipient’s perception. 

A confident tone and precise, competent communication create a peer-to-peer relationship more likely to engender trust and foster meaningful interactions, distancing the strategy from desperation or hard-selling tactics.

Adapting and Iterating Email Copy

The continuous evolution of email copy is a cornerstone of effective outbound marketing. Joel’s systematic approach, conducting weekly performance assessments to fine-tune messaging, underscores the dynamic nature of email engagement. This relentless pursuit of relevance ensures that each campaign resonates with the audience and reflects the most current data insights, illustrating adaptability’s critical role in maintaining the potency of outbound strategies.

A deep understanding of the recipient’s psychology is at the heart of Joel’s copywriting philosophy. 

By favoring subtlety over overt sales pitches and embedding relevant content within emails, the sender elevates themselves from a mere marketer to a trusted consultant. This nuanced approach fosters trust and invites engagement, positioning the message as a valuable resource rather than an intrusion.

Building a Robust Email Infrastructure

Joel emphasizes the technical underpinnings essential for successful email marketing, particularly the strategic use of secondary domains and subdomains to safeguard email deliverability. This technical foresight is vital for scaling outbound efforts without risking the sender’s reputation or diminishing engagement rates, highlighting the intricate balance between campaign ambition and the health of email infrastructure.

A Consultative Approach

Reframing outbound emails from a sales mechanism to a consultative tool marks a pivotal shift in outbound strategy. This perspective aligns with identifying and nurturing existing demand, subtly guiding the recipient toward recognizing how their needs intersect with the offered solution. This consultative stance elevates engagement quality and respects the recipient’s decision-making process.


The journey through understanding your audience, the crucial pillars of effective outbound copy, and the innovative strategies like leveraging lookalike audiences and navigating the intricacies of email infrastructure all circle back to one central theme: adaptability.

Joel’s insights remind us that outbound isn’t just about reaching out; it’s about resonating. Every aspect should be continuously refined, from the psychology behind your copy to the technical setup of your email campaigns. 

The key takeaway? 

Stay curious, be willing to iterate, and always aim to provide value. Whether crafting your following email or segmenting your target list, remember that success in outbound sales comes from understanding who you’re talking to and how you can help them solve a problem they care about.

Dive into a world where your outbound strategies are refined, targeted, and continuously optimized. Reach out to Modern Outbound and transform your cold outreach into warm welcomes.

Looking for a blueprint to scalable sales success? Whether you’re a startup or scaling up, let’s chat about how Predictable Revenue can help you achieve consistent growth.


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