The expression whistling in the wind would appear to have been invented for most of the sales prospecting emails that are sent out, many of which are based on hope, rather than a clear strategy as a driving force.
Have you ever clicked on an approach email out of curiosity, only to hit the delete icon a split second later with a slight frown? Have the words “what’s that got to do with me” crossed your consciousness?
Well if you sometimes think that way, then you are in the company of millions of decision-makers and consumers who either totally ignore or instantly trash prospecting emails.
To be blunt. It doesn’t have to be this way. This guide is designed to give you six ways to increase the effectiveness of your email campaigns to build your prospects into customers.
1. Warm should be just that
Timing and relevance are crucial and should never be underestimated. If your emails are to contacts gathered at a conference, trade fair or networking event, they should preferably appear in people’s inbox within 24 hours.
People’s memory is fickle. Reminding them of some connection they made with your company weeks ago (or even a few days ago in some cases) puts you firmly into the realms of cold calling.
If they have bought something or carried out an activity such as booking a holiday – sending out a prospecting email to sell some form of “bolt on” weeks later may well mean that you’ve not only missed the boat, it could well be far out of your reach.
The importance of timing includes follow-up. If you send your first email, be armed and ready to do a follow-up one within 24 hours to anyone who opened the initial communication. Sending out a follow-up email a week later, to people who didn’t open the first one, makes little or no sense.
2. Know the what
Firing out pithy and friendly approach emails as a follow up to events or customer transactions simply because you can – or for blatant up-selling purposes – may well irritate more people than it entices
Some real thought has to go into what would make this follow-up email relevant and credible. This is the only way to get a positive, measurable response. These warm leads need some fire under them, rather than just a cheery greeting or reminder of some kind.
It is particularly effective if you can tell them about a special offer, discount or invitation that is only accessible to them.
Or how about a “how to” video to support the product or service involved in your original transaction with them? Or an article or infographic to follow up the event they attend?
Add a strong hook to your email, attract and hold their attention, and get them reading right through to the call to action.
3. Know the why
Whatever it is you are selling, there is a basic question your email must answer, to stand a chance of having it read (let alone getting people to carry out your call to action). What’s in it for me?
If you don’t provide a clear response to that at a glance, then in all likelihood your email will not even warrant reading. And remember, you are establishing a relationship with them, so there is no need for a repeat of any of the original information you provided.
This all means that your offer should be phrased in a way that fits the recipient’s needs and desire. You have just a few characters to get your message across to keep it clear and clean. They can click through to your website if they want additional information.
4. Know the who
Knowing what messages and images to use to push your customers’ buttons relies on you having a very clear idea who your customers are in the first place.
It may sound basic, but it’s surprising how many businesses use generic, “catch-all” emails. Because emails offer an incredibly valuable way of communicating to large numbers of people at practically no cost, the temptation is to blitz prospect databases with sales prospecting emails as a “fishing process” to see who “bites”.
To be effective requires you to segment your prospect list, and make sure the email you are sending “speaks” directly to them.
This could mean segmenting your prospect database by such things as the geographical area, age, or buying patterns, for example.
Your aim is to make the target feel like you are talking directly to them.
Sending emails which start “The US Homeowners” of course gets the attention of people who own their own property, but it sounds like a generic introduction.
The exact same email starting with “Lancashire homeowners” or even “Preston homeowners” (sent to the corresponding postcodes) infers a greater sense of importance and relevance.
5. Give it context
Sales prospecting emails carried out with the right strategies and systems are an invaluable way to generate sales – but they are not the answer to all marketing needs.
They should be part of a structured and sustained marketing plan. For example, your sales emails should correspond with your latest blog or series of social media posts. The email should provide valuable information and insights that link to other marketing activities you are engaged in.
For your sales prospecting email to show that yours is a knowledgeable, authoritative and responsive company, getting everything married together is important.
6. Be creative
This may sound like a direct contraction to the advice to keep your sales prospecting email focused, relevant and straight to the point. But it isn’t!
For example, you have a prospect list and a clear call to action – ring, click on the website, come back for a repeat visit etc. That doesn’t mean it needs to be “all business”. The email could be written as a conversation starter rather than a sales pitch.
Do you find asking questions gets attention? Well, it does work. And their reply may be clicking on your response link.
Get your sales leads thinking, challenge them, engage with them as you might do on a face-to-face basis.
Much of this relies on you having a scientific rather than ever-hopeful approach to sales prospecting. Your prospect list data needs to be clean and usable, your qualified leads need to be warm, and your lead management platform needs to be highly strategic and measurable.