There are over 250% more emails sent per day than there are humans on earth. Take a moment to let that sink in — 293 billion emails hitting inboxes daily. No wonder marketers and sales teams are seeing open rates and click-through-rates (CTR) steadily decreasing. After all, how many sales emails have you opened just this week, and then immediately deleted?
According to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies now have to be more transparent with the way they use personal data, which means no more blanket emails sent out to an entire list of leads. That’s good news for your inbox, but may seem like bad news for your prospecting strategy. No need to panic though, because the latest regulations actually create an opportunity for you to be more personal and authentic in your sales emails and outreach strategy.
In fact, personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates than typical marketing emails, making them the perfect tool to build upon existing relationships with your subscribers and provide relevant, valuable information that helps them achieve their goals.
First and foremost, you need to fully understand your audience if you want to break through the noise. Our last blog reveals how you can use sales data analytics to categorize your lists in terms of titles, industries, locations, or company size in order to identify unique challenges and build personalized messaging strategies for each group.
Once you’ve honed in on your target, you’re ready to apply the following sales email writing tips to break through inboxes and foster long-term customer relationships.
1. Start with a Question
You have roughly three seconds to hook your reader, so rather than going straight for the sale, get them thinking about their own perspective. Then share how you can help further it. What better way than to start with a question?
At MarketLauncher, we’re always optimizing our messaging strategies with clients to make sure we’re hitting the right challenges with the right value propositions at just the right time. We’ve found that when sales emails include a question in the subject line, they perform much better than those that focus on selling points.
Many times that involves asking questions that make the prospect question the way they are currently doing business. But, there’s a fine line between a helpful question and a bold assumption. For example, if a learning development company sends an email asking “How well-equipped are your students for the real world?” that may garner a more positive response than asking “Struggling to keep your team well-trained?” Always take the side of the reader, assuring them that they’re doing great, but could be doing even better.
Here are a few question-based subject lines that have worked for us:
Ready for the next wave of disruption?
Do you have a [XYZ] strategy in place?
Are you still using the [XYZ] method?
What’s in your pipeline this month?
Looking for a smarter (XYZ) tool?
2. Share knowledge they can use right now
We get it, you’re sending a sales email with the intention of speaking directly with your prospect — and you may be tempted to hold back the secret sauce until you know you’ve truly gotten their attention. However, your audience will respond better to actionable steps that they can start executing right now, and they are more likely to accept you as a trusted partner that has their best interests in mind.
Before you even start writing the email, create a list of talking points, benefits, and features for your audience segment — including the verbiage that will resonate best with them. Then, pull out specific messages that answer the initial question you asked in the subject line. Toss in a downloadable resource or piece of content and you have yourself a sales email based on thought leadership rather than selling points. Your audience will be more likely to respond to any future messages once they know that they can derive immediate value.
Our writing team at MarketLauncher uses this 3-step process because it helps us fill in the blanks between customer need, client offering, and available resources. Plus, it helps us stick to the same message and approach it from multiple different directions.
Here’s an example:
Subject Line: Is GDPR still impacting your content strategy?
Hello [Prospect Name],
It’s been almost a year since GDPR cracked down on data protection, but is your content strategy still feeling the blow?
Believe it or not, the new privacy policies can be a gift to your business, not a curse. That’s why we put together a Definitive Guide to Content Marketing Under GDPR with helpful tips that you can start implementing right now.
I’d love to hear how these recommendations work for your team. Please get back to me via phone or email to share your progress. We can also explore how [Company Name] can help you develop content strategies that lead to more closed deals.
Are you available sometime next week to touch base?
3. Write about them, not you
This one is huge because it’s so tempting to focus on getting your message across rather than learning more about the prospect first. Why are you sending this email in the first place? To spark conversation with potential clients, of course. The fact is, your years of expertise or cross-functional team doesn’t spark conversation. What really matters to your prospects is that they can benefit from a relationship with you.
Alix Spiegel of NPR did an interesting study on the impact of “little words” and found that the language we use can actually set the power dynamic of our relationships. Surprisingly, the person in power during a conversation uses the word “I” less. Why? Because when your message is focused on you rather than them, it only makes you look unconfident and it’s obvious that you’re asking for something.
It’s a gut instinct to write in third-person because it’s been drilled into us since we learned how to write. However, writing in second person can cause a much more profound impact, even when you’re sending the same message.
For example you’ve probably read something like this before:
“We have 30 years of experience helping healthcare organizations manage their payment processes.”
Instead, try this:
“You can better manage your payment processes and boost profitability when you leverage our 30 years of expertise in the healthcare industry.”
The lesson here? Stop talking about yourself. Instead, look for every opportunity to write active sentences that help your prospect visualize a more efficient and profitable future.
4. Give a clear action step
You’ve come this far. Your prospect has opened your email and read it through. That’s a pretty big accomplishment in a world where you have a 12% chance of getting them to even open it. Don’t let engaged readers get away without knowing what to do next.
Have you ever received a sales email that ends with something like, “Let me know what you think?” How did you reply? You probably didn’t, because it takes way too much mental energy to formulate and write out your opinion when you were just introduced to the topic a few seconds ago.
Help your prospects make a decision by providing a closing line that clearly defines the next step, especially when you’re trying to book a meeting. It may seem bold to offer specific dates or give them deadlines, but those parameters relay a sense of urgency and encourage them to take action now.
Here are a few CTA examples that might work for you:
Are you available next Tuesday or Wednesday to discuss how we can help you drive more leads down the sales pipeline?
Here is a link to my calendar. Feel free to book a 15-minute slot for us to continue the conversation.
After you read the blog, I’d like to hear your feedback. Do you have a spare 15 minutes sometime next week?
If you’re looking to boost ROI and simplify your process, let’s jump on a quick call sometime next week. How about Wednesday afternoon?
You’ll want to seize this opportunity before the next wave of disruption. When is the soonest you can link up for a short phone call?
And then, you optimize
See how powerful words are? When you combine the techniques above with a deep dive into your data analytics, you can keep track of what’s working and continuously optimize your messaging strategy. You’ll be able to address patterns in response rate and you can start building your own list of messaging hacks that work for your unique audience groups.
At MarketLauncher, our primary goal is to foster meaningful connections between our clients and their customers by reaching out with multiple touch points and consistently looking for ways to make a deeper impact. We regularly check in with our sales team, our clients, and their prospects to identify the best ways to align message with need.
We’d love to chat about your favorite sales email techniques and how you are captivating prospects. If a multi-touch outreach strategy is something that you can benefit from, drop us a line.