7 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
While a lot has changed since the Internet first entered people's homes, one thing has stabilized: email is still an essential part of online communication. Despite the advent of messaging apps and social media websites, email not only survived, but succeeded. According to Statista, around 3.9 billion people worldwide use e-mails every day. By 2023, that number is projected to reach 4.3 billion.
The importance of email as part of a successful content marketing strategy has also increased. According to HubSpot, 78 percent of marketers saw an increase in email engagement between 2018 and 2019. The Content Marketing Institute found that 90 percent of marketers cite email engagement as the most important metric for measuring the performance of their content.
As someone in content marketing, I've seen my fair share of bad email. But I've also seen how effective a well-designed email can be for sales. More importantly, anyone can learn how to create the perfect sales email – as long as they're willing to make the effort.
Related Topics: 4 Things Your Marketing Team Knows That Can Help You Close More Deals
How do I write sales emails that people will actually read?
To ensure their sales and marketing teams are creating successful sales emails, business leaders need to encourage them to dig a little deeper. Those creating the emails need to focus more on what the recipient is actually trying to get into than just what the company is trying to say. And that's not always easy.
To help guide your team members in the right direction, keep these five sales email best practices in mind:
1. Check the recipients before they open the email
According to Convince & Convert, 35 percent of e-mail recipients open an e-mail based on the subject line alone.
Writing an effective subject line requires a delicate balance. The goal is to grab the attention of the recipients while also letting them know what the email is about. Being too conspicuous can backfire – especially if the email doesn't live up to the hype. Instead of using the clickbait route, create a subject line letting readers know exactly how they would benefit from opening the email.
At my company, one of the best examples of sales emails we use to demonstrate the power of an effective subject line is also one of the simplest. The subject line is: "Still have questions?" That's it. There is nothing flashy or gimmick about it. Instead, it gets straight to the point, letting our customers know that not only are we available to answer questions, but we are ready and waiting to hear from them.
2. Deliver more than just empty words
For every sales email, the recipient should immediately understand why an email was sent and what value it offers. It is equally important to structure the email so that key information is easy to find for those who may be doing a scan rather than a real read.
One of our team members recently sent an email offering guidance and resources to companies trying to plan the next steps in marketing during a health crisis. The email consisted of a brief introduction explaining why it was being sent and then went straight to links to free courses and other helpful content. It ended with a call to action welcoming people who needed more help to book an unconditional half-hour phone call.
There was nothing revolutionary about the email, but it did bring a strong return on that team member's time investment. The email was appealing simply because it was straightforward and added real value.
For more examples of sales emails that deliver value and deliver responses, check out the HubSpot templates.
Related Topics: This is the cold email I used to connect with C-level executives at 22 of the largest companies in the world
3. Make sure communication is a one-way street
When figuring out how to craft the perfect sales email, you need to keep in mind that the goal is not just to provide information, but to engage the recipients in a dialogue. To do this successfully, include with each message an easy way to reach the recipients.
When one of our team members didn't hear from someone who had previously shown interest in working with us, she sent a follow-up email with the subject "Easiest Reply Ever". The email was a short message consisting of a quick check-in and a numbered list of four simple replies for the reader to choose from. One was to schedule a meeting, another was to get a follow-up email next week, and the last two – either that the reader had lost interest or left with another company – let us know that this was no longer a viable indication. The recipient just had to reply with the appropriate number.
4. Write like a human
When you send out a series of sales emails it can be easy to ponder every word and get annoyed about whether the phrase is too casual or not funny enough. The resulting email often sounds cumbersome and awkward. To create successful sales emails, don't consider the task to be a creative writing challenge. Rather, think of it as a friendly conversation between colleagues.
I want to reread every email before sending it and ask myself, "If I said this face to face, would it sound strange?" If the answer is yes, then I am probably not writing like a human. Sometimes it's about being too smart. In other cases, it's the result of trying to be too professional. Either way, the goal should be to create a real connection with the recipient – no sales jargon or clever buzzwords required.
5. Get to know your audience
While form emails have their place in sales and marketing, the real strength of this type of content marketing strategy lies in the fact that salespeople take the time to do a little research on the person they are corresponding with. This can be a big question sometimes when time is a precious commodity, but it doesn't require hours of immersion in the analytics – just a light googling.
Where do the prospects come from? What kind of company do you work for? What do they post about on public social media sites? Get an idea of what each recipient likes and dislikes and tailor the message accordingly. Don't over-personalize to the point that it might seem creepy, such as when Target predicted a young girl was pregnant, sent out coupons, and upset the girl's father in the process. However, a little specificity can work wonders when it comes to building a new relationship. According to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines are more than 25 percent more likely to be opened.
Related Topics: How I Generated Over $ 20M in New Business Using Cold Email Outreach
Email can be one of the best ways for businesses to speak up and attract new customers. However, emails for the sole purpose of spitting sales pitches will only go so far. To really take advantage of the power of email, a business needs to send a message that is conversational and offers clear value to the person on the other side of the screen.