Despite the very many different channels of communication available today, email is still the preferred method of communication for the majority of business leaders - 86% site email as their preference. And while most of us would much prefer to get a prospect or client on the phone, today, call screening is common practice and email (over social media) is still your best bet to connect.
But in a world of overcrowded inboxes, how do you make your email conversations stand out? Read on to find out…
For Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing the number one rule is to keep it brief: “Your audience doesn’t know you, so no matter what you write, people aren’t going to spend much time reading it. You have seconds, single-digit seconds, to get their attention. Always keep that in mind.” The same rule of brevity applies to subject lines; remember that messages will mostly likely be read on smartphone so make sure your teaser is short enough to fit that small window. Matt suggests keeping the whole thing less than 100 words as a good rule of thumb: “Don’t think you have to communicate everything within the first email. That’s what the next email, or the next call, or the next step in your complex buying process is for.”
Communications expert, Matt Cook, agrees. When he recently sat down with us to record our Sales Strategy Podcast, he explained that subject lines certainly don’t have to tell the whole story and indeed shouldn’t: “Too often, I see people writing almost entire sentences into the subject line. Keep them short. Keep them to the point. Make it so that it's something a prospect might be interested in opening…”
Matt goes on to share his biggest pet peeve: sloppy copy. Grammatical errors, incorrect statements and typos are big no nos but the worst sin is an incorrect spelling of a prospect’s personal information. If you want your email conversation to stand out, you need to pay close attention to these seemingly small things that can have a huge impact: “A lot of people will not forgive a mistake that you make to their personal information, such as their first name or last name.”
For Matt, knowing your audience is important. Getting into their frame of mind and using empathy is vital if you want your email to hit home. Matt recommends acknowledging that they’re busy and then getting down to the purpose of the email. Show you’ve done some research and understand their business position: “Speak to the person's pain points. So what might the CFO's pain points be or the CEO's pain points be of your prospects and include those into the main body of the email and how your product or service or solution addresses those specific pain points.”
In our popular CPSA Webinar: “Mastering the Art of the Sales Email”, Heather R. Morgan goes into even more detail as she demonstrates the importance of using research and knowing your audience. As well as demonstrating your understanding of their business pain, you need to employ the keywords that excite them and the type of language and tone that they feel comfortable with. She suggests finding out the type of content they usually read and share and looking at the type of influencers they follow on social media for tips. She also recommends getting emotive and using language that will strike an emotional chord with your prospect. Check out the webinar for examples and more tips.
For both Matt and Heather, tone is highly important: you’ve got to be exciting and engaging. Heather suggests transforming flat features into alluring benefits. Instead of saying “Our cars are fast,” switch it up to “You can drive twice as fast in our cars!” Matt’s advice on keeping it fresh, confident and engaging is to avoid the passive voice. Instead of writing, “we have been voted the top provider of x service in North America” try something like “We are the top provider of x!” or “Voted #1 provider of x service!”
Finally, make sure that there is a good reason for sending that email in the first place. Your prospects are busy, they don’t have time to waste on spammy emails or on decoding your intentions. Be upfront about what you want them to do and why they should do it. Matt challenges you to “give them a reason why they should get back to you,” or else your email will just languish in their inbox along with 100s of others.