Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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9 Tips on Getting Your Emails Read

November 14, 2013 ,

Do you sigh and start deleting when you look at your inbox? Your customers do the same thing. Don’t let them.

I’ve talked about it before here: Email is still one of the most effective social sales tools you have available. While you need to continue to build your brand on social networks, your email communication has the potential to bring you a greater return, say many experts.

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The trick, of course, is to get your prospects and customers to keep their fingers off the delete key when they see your company name as the email originator.

Think about your own reaction to email subject lines and senders. What makes you open some and not others? Here are some of the approaches that make me at least pause before deleting sales messages:

  • One-day or limited-time, limited-customer sales from recognized vendors
  • A “Welcome Back” message with a special offer from someone I haven’t patronized recently
  • A clever or funny or otherwise-unusual subject line that looks like it took some creativity and effort, and
  • An offer for something free from a credible source.

So how do you set yourself apart from the onslaught of emails that greet most people most days? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Don’t write your emails like you’re addressing a crowd. Compose — personally — like you might to a business associate. Use the word “you” instead of “small business owners.”
  2. Use an individual’s name (From: Your name, or the appropriate co-worker) as the sender.
  3. Be careful with “clever.” Be straightforward unless you can engage a twist in a natural, unaffected way.
  4. Try to put a number in your subject line when you can, and just enter the numeral. Grammar rules want you to spell out some numbers, but “7” is more effective than “seven” because it looks quantifiable and factual. And the digit itself actually stops people briefly and catches their attention.Todd Martin 103113 image 2
  5. Take note of any email “envelope” that catches your eye and start making a list of what works.
  6. Tell your audience what might happen if they read your message. Will their hair loss stop? Will they avoid a mid-winter breakdown of their home heating system? Will they finally find a holiday gift for that one person on their list who is impossible to please?
  7. Focus on benefits, not product specifications. You’re selling something tangible, but what they’re really buying is a solution to a problem.
  8. Use vivid language where you can. Scan your inbox and see how many of the sales-oriented subject lines sound similar, even using the same buzzwords. So open a thesaurus. Jot down effective language when you see it. “Speak” like you’re communicating with a 9th-grader (no complex words or phrases).
  9. Above all, be judicious in your scheduling of mass sales emails. Experiment with various intervals between dispatches, but don’t make your audience roll their eyes when they see your name again.

Todd Martin 103113 image 3Of course, you still have a challenging task ahead of you in composing the emails themselves. In a way, though, crafting intriguing subject lines is the hardest part. It’s the online equivalent of getting someone to take your phone call or not say “Just browsing…” when you offer to help. There are a thousand ways to direct that ensuing conversation, but you get one shot with your email subject line. Make it count.

Stock images courtesy of


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