Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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They Opened Your Email: Now What?

November 19, 2013

There are myriad ways to write an effective sales email. And other tactics that are really, really wrong.

I talked in my last post about the importance of writing compelling subject lines to improve the chances of getting your sales and marketing emails even opened, let alone read.

Todd Martin 110713 image 1If you’ve cleared that challenging hurdle, congratulations! I don’t want to quote any dismal statistics about how few unsolicited mails get opened, but suffice it to say that you deserve a pat on the back for getting this far.

You don’t want to waste that effort. Craft your emails with care. Before you dispatch them, send one to yourself and pick it up on your phone to see if it’s easy to read – and if it’s inviting enough that you would want to follow up.

Here are some other suggestions:

  • First, think about everything you dislike about unsolicited sales and marketing emails. Don’t do those things.
  • Write as succinctly and clearly and simply as you can.
  • If you must write long, break up the text visually with bullet points and subheads and bold text.
  • BUT don’t overdo the graphics and fancy formatting. You don’t really need anything beyond your logo and maybe one more image.
  • Don’t use the words “paradigm,” “synergistic” or “revolutionary.”
  • State clearly how you want your readers to respond to your message, similar to how you include a “call to action” on your website.
  • Tell your readers in the first few sentences how they will benefit from what you’re offering.
  • Make your offer time-sensitive. When I go through email, I’ll sometimes leave messages in my inbox that are interesting enough to read, but not now. Those emails will sometimes sit for days and then get deleted in an inbox purge.Todd Martin 110713 image 2
  • If your target list is small enough, take advantage of the opportunity to be personal. Has the customer ordered before? Use that information.
  • Don’t include attachments, but links to related web pages are fair game.
  • Thank your readers for their time. I don’t see “Thank you” in a lot of sales emails.
  • Don’t schedule your emails for early Monday or late Friday. The sweet spot tends to be mid-week and mid-afternoon, those minutes and hours when people are tiring of work and are looking for a distraction.

These suggestions can apply to both mass emails and individual messages. If you’re trying out email as a first contact with a prospect, though, you might experiment with very brief, personalized emails. This works especially well if you have a “hook” that you can exploit in the subject line to pique interest quickly.

Do you have a mutual friend? Has your prospect’s business recently made a big change? Refer to your hook in the subject line. Tell them right away in your message that you’d like to talk about something that would benefit them (and how).

Todd Martin 110713 image 3Use a current customer or industry as an example (We recently outfitted every athletic team for the Briarwood School District. We came in below budget and on schedule, and the athletes, as well as school administrative personnel, are quite pleased with the new uniforms.)

Close by sending the prospect to your website, asking for a phone call or meeting – whatever you’re comfortable with. But do ask the prospect to take some action.

There’s no one “right” formula for sales emails that will guarantee a high return. But try to work at least some of these suggestions into your own personal communication style, and see what happens.

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