A big part of selling has always been finding a way to stand out from the crowd. Amazingly, that sometimes means just coming across like an actual person. Nowhere is this more true than with email prospecting and lead generation, where sending messages that look automated is the kiss of death in your prospect’s inbox.
Remember the Glimpse Factor – it takes prospects three seconds or less to decide whether they want to read your email, have time to deal with it, or can delete it without any consequences. And since deep down they might want to get rid of it and get back to work, it's up to you to make them feel like they need to respond right way.
Nobody answers mass marketing emails.
So, if a prospect is going to read your email, much less respond, it needs to seem like it came from a colleague, not a faceless Internet marketing firm. The best way to get uncommon email results is definitely to avoid looking like the common email marketer.
Here are a few things to try to increase your response rate.
1. Write subject lines that invite a quick response. If your prospect can't glean the purpose of your email from the headline, then it's probably not going to make it through the delete barrier. I like to use something that sounds personal like: "Can you talk Monday at 2pm?" Of course your subject must relate to the body of your email, so if you ask for a meeting Monday at 2pm, make sure you ask again in your email.
2. Start your email with a statement, not a question. How many messages do you send to your customers that begin with a question? That's right, none of them. Avoid the temptation to try to pique your prospect’s interest with this tactic – it just doesn't work.
3. Use paragraphs rather than bullet points. This just tips contacts off to the fact that you're trying to sell them something. While your real objective is to make the email easier to read, your prospect is thinking “sales person – delete!” Use bullets once you have a working relationship, but stay away from them in your prospecting emails.
4. Send your message without fancy graphics or headers. There’s nothing wrong with text, a few paragraphs, and a single link in your email message. Complicated layouts and pictures make it more likely that your note will be caught by a spam filter. And besides, how often do you put large graphic headers at the top of your client emails? The point is to look like you just dashed off a note to a colleague or customer, so forget the extras.
5. Write to another person. If your message doesn’t read like something that could be spoken naturally, you have a problem. The idea is to connect with your prospect on a personal level and invite them to take action, not convince them that you’re part of a faceless organization. Envision a customer and write your email as if you were sending it to him or her. Be sure that your message focuses on your prospects’ issues or triggering events, not on your company. That's good selling advice in any situation, since customers care more about their needs than your generic solution features and benefits.
Keep revising your emails until you have something that sounds natural and customer-focused, because that’s what buyers – like all humans – respond to.