In three seconds your prospects make a choice between reading and trashing your email. Clearly your objective is to get them not only to read it, but to respond so you can set an appointment and begin the sales process. That means you need to find a way to get past their delete barrier.
There are two keys to successful email prospecting:
- The message
- Your personal approach
Even if you’re emailing a list of prospects who’ve never heard of you or your company, you can get replies from your campaigns. Take Hank for example.
Hank is a benefit insurance seller who does all his prospecting through email. He was very discouraged because his emails weren’t generating any responses.
When we reviewed his emails together, we discovered that they were long and centered primarily on his services. Additionally, he’d sent them on a template that included a graphic resembling a newsletter banner with bullets and multiple font colors throughout. Nothing felt personal.
Hank’s emails needed an extreme makeover to draw his message out and grab his prospects’ attention. As Hank changed his approach, he suddenly saw an increase in responses. Within one week, he’d secured an appointment for a $187,000 opportunity with a new company.
Email prospecting does work, if you know how to appeal to your contacts. Here are six tips that our lead generation clients are shocked to discover really work.
1. Limit the number you send. Don’t send more emails than you can respond to. People today expect you to respond to their email within 24 hours or less. Limit your list size so you can be responsive. Often your prospects aren’t sure if you’re a real person emailing them, or if it’s really a marketing blast. When you respond quickly, you remove the doubt.
2. Tailor your message. A small list allows you to get personal in your message. If you’re writing to business owners of companies with 10-50 employees in your region who may be experiencing computer downtime, your message can focus on the exact challenges you anticipate they’re grappling with.
3. Personalize the subject line. Just yesterday I received an email from a follower who said that my tips around personalized subject lines have significantly increased his response rates. One client got so many replies he stopped counting! Response rates between lows of16% and highs of 62% are real.
If you’re sending to people who won’t recognize your name or your company name, it’s critical that the subject line grab their attention and entice them to open.
Some of my favorites are questions that assume the prospect will meet with you and inquire about their availability.
- Can we talk next Tuesday at 2pm?
- Should we talk?
4. Use a salutation. To elicit a response your strategy is to be informal and inviting. Begin prospecting emails with a warm greeting and the contact’s first name, such as “Hi Tom.”
If you don’t have a name, eliminate the company from your list until you secure one. Sending an email with no name will immediately hit the delete barrier and destroys your image of writing directly to them.
5. Keep them short. Keep your initial email as brief as possible to ensure it’s at least skimmed. Ideally, you want your prospects to read the complete email, which means you need to make it a quick read.
As a rule, include no more than four sentences in a paragraph. If possible, limit your email to three paragraphs plus a one-line sentence as your closing paragraph. Insert a one line paragraph in the middle to make it appear short.
6. Forget what your seventh grade English teacher said. Emails must feel personal and less formal than a business letter. Throw away the perfect grammar and write conversationally. The more comfortable your email, the more likely you’ll get a response.
Email is one of the most effective ways to reach your prospects today. Done right, they’ll take notice of your messages and respond when they have a need.