Outbound Playbook: E-commerce Stores

Find and connect with Shopify and e-commerce clients via email and LinkedIn outreach

Maggie Georgeson
Outbound Strategist
March 5, 2024


We've compiled an exhaustive guide of how to setup an outbound sales program. Specifically we are diving into strategies and copy examples if your target market is e-commerce and shopify stores.

Who is this for? 

This guide is for anyone looking to start an outbound sales program, or if you are trying to fix an underperforming campaign.

Prospecting Strategies

Rather than attempting to contact every e-commerce store on the internet, here are a few targeted, proven strategies that you can use to build your prospect lists.

Recently Hired E-commerce / Growth / Marketing

Getting in front of senior decision makers during their first 6 months in a new role is a great way to get a high response rate. You can assume that they have a budget and are looking for solutions to help them ramp up and generate quick performance.

Put yourself into the shoes of a Director of E-commerce that just started their job 2 months ago. What problems are they looking to solve? How can you help them look good to their new boss?

Platform Specific (Shopify / Big Commerce / Magento / Amazon)

If you work within a specific ecosystem, why not hone in on that and mention it in your scripts. Each e-commerce platform comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses, and the more you can show your prospects you understand them, the better. For example,

Are you limited by the types of subscriptions you can set up with Big Commerce?
Are you looking for ways to get your store to show up higher on Amazon?

Email Technologies (Klayvio / MailChimp / Constant Contact)

Identifying stores that are running email campaigns can give you valuable insight into how advanced your prospect is. If an e-commerce company is using Klayvio, it could indicate that they are more savvy and understand the value of industry-specific tools. If they are running MailChimp, upgrading their email marketing could be a quick win for your agency.

Advertising Technologies (AdWords, Meta, TikTok)

Most e-commerce stores rely heavily on paid advertising, so this should produce a fairly large list of prospects. Think about mixing and matching these ad platforms to come up with theories that you can speak to in your script.

If someone is running Facebook Ads, but has not explored TikTok, what does that allow you to pitch them?

Job Postings

Active job openings for specific positions can be a good indicator that a company has an immediate need. A few positions you might be looking for:

  • E-commerce Manager
  • Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Paid Advertising
  • Lifecycle Marketing
  • Content

If you can find stores that have these types of job postings, you know they are looking to grow and have the budget to bring on more help.

How can your service save them from the risk of a full time hire?

City by City

City specific campaigns work because of the familiarity and authenticity you can build. Start with your own city or the largest metro area near you. What is unique about that city, and what can you mention in the beginning of your script to set a casual and light hearted tone.

It might seem corny to talk about the weather, but we've seen it work first hand!


Hi {{FirstName}} - how are you? I hope you're enjoying the Florida weather with a tasty Publix sub.

Los Angeles

Hi {{FirstName}} - Hope you're enjoying winter in LA despite all this rain lately.

Niche Categories

Another great strategy for producing highly customized copy is to segment your prospect list by product category. For Example:

  • Pet Products
  • Baby & Maternity Products
  • Beauty & Cosmetics
  • Food & Beverage

If you know what your prospect is selling, you can customize your script by name dropping similar clients and referring to specific results you delivered for another company in their category.

We just finished up a Tik Tok campaign for a similar Cosmetics brand, XYZ Beauty, can I show you the results?

Is waaayyyy more powerful than:

We just finished up working with another e-commerce brand, can I show you the results?

New Store Launches

Most companies are going to have a Year Founded associated with them. If you create a campaign targeting stores that have launched within the last year or two, you will be able to customize your outreach scripts to their issues.

Common pain points of newly launched stores:

  • Launching lifecycle marketing campaigns.
  • Building checkout abandonment strategies.
  • Searching for the first Marketing hire.

Demographics Analysis

This strategy is a little more abstract, but can be very powerful if applied in the correct way.

Looking at the current employees of a target company can tell you a lot about what stage they are at, and what problems they might be struggling with.

  • If an e-commerce store has a CTO/software engineer on staff, you can assume they have more technical capabilities.
  • If an e-commerce store has a dedicated SEO manager, you can assume they have a decent sized marketing team with lots of specialized roles.
  • If an e-commerce store has a dedicated Social Media manager, you can assume that Social is a priority for them, and they are probably running more advanced strategies than a Founder would on their own.

Data Collection

Collecting and verifying your contact data is a crucial step in outbound sales that often doesn't get the attention it deserves. There are a ton of "B2B prospect data tools"  out there that make big, sweeping promises. No matter what tool you choose, you should plan on manually reviewing all of your prospect lists to make sure they are 100% accurate. Low volume, intentional outreach is the best way to get results and avoid the spam folder.

Hire an Outsourced Helper

If you have the budget, hire an outsourced helper to help you organize and verify your prospect lists. We usually hire out of the Philippines and South America for this type of role. Plan on spending $500-$1,000/month for a full-time data assistant.

Examples of what an assistant can help you with:

  • Go find the CEO's of all the companies on this list.
  • Verify that all the companies on this list are e-commerce with a shopping cart.
  • Verify that all the companies on this list have a sales team larger than 10 members.

Data Sources

There are 100s of data sources out there to help you find prospects. You may find that it takes a combination of tools to find the companies and contacts struggling with the pain points you solve.


  • Pro: Easy to find the most relevant contact persona and verify that they still work there.
  • Cons: Hard to segment companies on any sort of criteria that doesn't match the built-in tagging.

Zoom Info

  • Pro: Exhaustive enterprise solution that will provide lots of filtering options, and includes phone numbers.
  • Cons: Expensive ($20k/year), and lacks transparency. We've received many reports of inaccurate contact/email data depending on the segment.

E-commerce Specific

Databases dedicated to tracking e-commerce stores:


Copywriting Best Practices

Subject Lines

Short and sweet is best for your subject line. Remember, this is supposed to look like 1-1 communication, not a marketing newsletter. A good exercise is to look through your inbox for real emails that you send to colleagues and clients and try to match the length and tone.

Pro Tip 🌟

Use an outreach tool that has replacement tokens so that you can customer the subject line with their company name.

{{Company}} growth chat
Holiday campaign for {{Company}}
{{Company}} shopify store design

Email Length

Your email should be 4 sentences or less. Here is an example structure you can use.

  • Sentence #1: Personalized reason for reaching out and/or question about the prospect
  • Sentence #2: Question about the prospect (if that wasn’t your opening line)
  • Sentence #3: Company pitch or offering
  • Sentence #4: Call to Action

If your script says things like “additionally”, “moreover”, or “furthermore,” the paragraph is too long! Pick one value prop, and explain it in one sentence.

Ask Questions About Pain Points

Nobody wants to hang out with someone who starts every sentence with "I, I, I." Same applies to cold outreach. Think hard about what the person you are contacting is struggling with. If you can ask them about their biggest pain point and then offer a highly relevant solution, chances are pretty good you'll get a meeting.

Don't worry about explaining everything your agency is capable of all at once. Instead focus on trying to understand their challenges, and let them know you are here to help.

Provide Value

Hands down the best way to get responses to cold outreach is to offer something of immediate value that makes a prospect want to say 'Yes'. Do you have content or knowledge that you can give away? A few examples of what these carrots could be 🥕

  • A checklist for how to do X
  • Helpful content related to DTC marketing
  • Free analysis of one social channel
  • Takeaways from other projects in their category

Clear Call to Action

A clear call to action sets expectations and helps reduce friction for the reader.

Can I send you our latest guide?

Is an easy yes/no question with a clear next step. Versus...

Let me know if you are interested in learning more about my agency.

Which is vague, puts all the effort on the prospect, and does not explain what the next steps will be.

Domains & Inboxes

Success with email outreach is highly dependent on open rates and domain infrastructure setup. 50%-70% is a good benchmark for open rates. If your rates are lower, there is room to improve and you need to focus on getting your infrastructure setup properly.

Primary Domain

If you are sending very low volume (less than 20/emails/day) and verifying your data quality, you can safely get started with outreach on your primary domain. If you plan to ramp up sending volume past that, you should incorporate a network of secondary domains.

Pro Tip: Create a brand new inbox that is dedicated to outreach (NOT an alias). It should look similar to the real email addresses that your company uses. This way you can keep regular work emails separate from prospect responses.

Secondary Domains

The safest way to do cold outreach at scale is to set up a dedicated, secondary domain.

  • Pro: A Secondary domain will keep your activity sandboxed so that it does not negatively affect your primary domain's reputation
  • Con: A secondary domain usually does not have any reputation built up and needs time to warm before you can use it

When in doubt,  purchase 2-4 secondary domains that you can use as backups or at a later date. Older domains get higher open rates, so purchasing them early on is better.

Microsoft vs Google

We set up outreach inboxes for secondary domains using both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, which helps with getting good open rates. There are many other ways to configure your sending infrastructure, but we focus on doing low volume, high quality outreach and inboxes set up directory with Microsoft and Google will work well for this approach.

DNS Records

It is absolutely required to configure your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records correctly.

Warm Up

We've got an exhaustive guide on how to warm up a secondary domain here.

Outreach Profile

The seniority and position title of the outreach sender can have a huge impact on the success of your campaign. A few things to consider:

Be a Real Person

Make sure you are sending as a real person. Do NOT send outreach from a sales@ email address or from a company LinkedIn profile. Cold Outreach is a 1-1 communication style and you want to appear like a real human being.

Match Seniority

Choose a senior person to send outreach as, Founder or C-Suite is best. A good rule of thumb is to match the seniority of the person you are trying to contact. A CEO is going to respond best to another CEO, rather than to a sales rep.

Match Departments

You will always get a better response reaching out as Founder <-> Founder, Sales <-> Sales, or Engineer <-> Engineer. It's easier for people to relate to someone that is already in their field, and it comes across as more authentic.

Clean Up Website & LinkedIn

Before a prospect responds, it's very likely that they will take a quick peak at your website, then your LinkedIn profile and/or company page. Make sure these are up to date and look professional. You should have relevant content and descriptions that relate to the audience you're targeting.

Upload a Real Profile Image in Gmail/Outlook

What looks more real and authentic than an actual picture of you? The little things matter when you are making a first impression. Get a real profile pic uploaded so people can see your beautiful face when you show up in their inbox for the first time.


You can expect to get more responses that say "no thank you" / "maybe later" than responses asking for meetings. That is just the nature of doing outreach to people who have never heard of you! The key question is, do you have a way to stay in front of these prospects over the next 6-12 months?

A very common response might be:

"No thank you, we already have X, Y, or Z".

Or ...

We are not looking at solutions until Q4.

Follow Up Later

A very simple canned message to a prospect like this might be:

Thanks for getting back to me. I understand that now is not the right time, but do you mind if I check back in 3 months to see how things are going?

If they say yes, add them to another sequence that kicks off 3 months from now with a fresh pitch.

Add Them To A Newsletter

Sounds like you have things under control right now. Would you mind if I add you to our Shopify Stores Growth Newsletter? We share monthly tips for helping businesses grow sales.

Share a Resource

Leave them with something of value to build trust, and so they will come back if the need arises.

Thanks for letting me know. I just recorded a training about ways to get your ROAS up post iOS 14. Can I send it to you to save as a resource in case your needs change?

Debugging Performance

You can spend all the time in the world crafting the "perfect" script, but the only way to know if it will work is to launch. If it doesn't perform, here are a few things you can look into.

Poor Open Rate

The first thing to diagnose is your deliverability. We expect open rates of 50% or more. If you see open rates in the 10-20% range, you are most likely going to spam and prospects aren't even seeing your email. The best copy and prospect data in the world won't matter if you don't make it to the inbox!

A few tools to diagnose your deliverability issues:

Poor Response Rate

If your open rates are high, buy your response rate is low (< 3%), you most likely need to take a look at your copy and improve your pitch.

A good place to start iterating is by analyzing your "no thank you's".

No thank you, we are already doing X
No thank you, we don't need Y

If you are getting responses like these, take a moment to ask the prospect another question or two about their situation. They have spent the time to respond to you, chances are they will give you more information if you just ask. You can use their feedback in your next script to explain your services in a different way, or talk about why you are better than their current solution.

Poor Meeting Conversion Rate

We aim for a 40% meeting conversion rate. If you are getting warm responses, but not booking meetings, you might need to evaluate your nurturing process.

  • How quickly are you responding to prospects? If you are waiting a day or two, they might already be on to something else. You should be responding to prospects same day, at minimum. The quicker you respond the better.
  • Are you following up? We get responses all the time that say "Yes, I'm interested," and then we still have to send 3 follow up emails before they actually book a meeting. If the lead shows interest, follow up everyday until they respond or take action.
  • Are you writing high quality responses? If someone asks a question, or wants to see more resources or information, make sure to acknowledge their response and don't just fire off your calendar link. They will be more likely to convert if you show genuine interest in them as a person!

We have a detailed meeting setting checklist here.

That's all folks! Interested in testing some of the cold outreach tactics discussed in this article? Drop us a line!