Why e-mail marketing?
With the advent of technology, various means of marketing have emerged and amongst all of them, e-mail marketing has always been the topmost priority for almost all successful business entities – from Fortune 500 companies to small and medium B2B and B2C companies.
The importance of e-mail marketing cannot be exaggerated when it comes to promoting a service compared to goods (products) since services are comparatively more difficult to market direct due to their intangible nature and associated marketing complexities.
The ever-increasing trends of mobile phones and internet usage have a direct bearing on the success of e-mail marketing.
According to Epsilon Email Institute, automated email messages enjoy, on an average, 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates compared to “business as usual” marketing messages.
Furthermore, the return on investment (ROI) from e-mail marketing is very encouraging; the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) suggests that e-mail marketing offers an ROI of 3800%.
Why e-mail marketing fails?
Despite the enormous potential of e-mail marketing (including conversion rates as high as 50%), most e-mails fail to serve their purpose (with response rate of just 1%).
The major contributors to such utter failures include lack of research, segmentation and personnalisation, and an impatient attempt to push sales instead of arousing prospects’ interests and self-initiations.
Considerations in Creating an Ideal Sales e-mail
Passing the SPAM Test
The foremost objective of a cold sales e-mail must be to pass through the SPAM filter so that it can contribute further in the process of sales leads generation.
A sales e-mail, however impressive it may be, shall have no use if it finds its place in the trash permanently never being opened.
Sender optimisation must be sought i.e., e-mails must be sent from a real person and from someone recognizable to the prospect as far as possible.
A cautious effort must always be in pace to avoid the use of SPAM triggers such as Free, Buy, Order, Meet Singles, Earn, Online, Cash, Bonus, Save, Credit, Collect, Discount, Money back, No Cost/Fees/Charges, Credit Card, Click Here/Below, 100% Free/Satisfaction, Deal, Call, Winner, Unlimited, Sign up, Guaranteed, Congratulations etc.
Various tools are available online which can be used to be assured of e-mail deliverability.
The most important part of an e-mail – the opener – includes that part of the e-mail which the prospect can see in his inbox.
It consists of the Subject line and the preview text (e-mails’s starting first 20 words or so). It is the quality of the opener that an e-mail either succeeds in moving the prospect or finds its place into the trash.
As such, this part demands the most of creativity and long-lasting impression-making efforts.
Some of the effective and tried approaches to writing an impressive subject line require the following attributes in an ideal subject line:
The subject line must be intriguing enough for the prospect to be unable to resist him/herself from checking what’s inside.
It must clearly convey the prospect what is/are being offered in a persuasive manner.
Catchy and funny
The subject line can work wonders if it is able to bring a smile (or even a laughter) on the prospect’s face.
Use of puns can help a lot. However, fun and entertainment cannot be brought in at the expense of clarity.
The prospects of a service provider belong to a variety of categories; therefore, sales e-mails are to be personalized and written individually for each of such categories.
Personalized e-mails make the prospects feel that such e-mails are written specifically to them in person, and builds up a positive impression.
There must be consistency between the subject line and the message in the body of the e-mail.
Discount rates, for example, that are applicable only to a limited range of services should not be mentioned in the subject line, otherwise, the prospect feels being cheated which leads to reduced open-, clickthrough-, and conversion rates, and enhanced unsubscribes.
People often identify themselves with others from a similar background or the state of some sort such as being unfortunate, poor, smart, honest and the like.
This human behavior can be manipulated in creating self-identifying subject lines that are sure to stimulate the prospects.
Timeliness is another aspect to be considered in creating effective subject lines.
For instance, talking about serving superb coffee in the mornings, extraordinary holiday experiences at the times of holidays is likely to be effective.
Whatever may be the technique and approach followed, subject lines have strong effects if actionable verbs and phrases such as Book, Dine, Subscribe, etc. are used.
The first few lines along with the subject line determine the value of the e-mail as perceived by the prospect.
No-one has time for unnecessary stuffs, thus, sales e-mails must be clear, short and sweet, and to the point. The following points are worth considering while drafting the body of a sales e-mail:
The body of the e-mail must flow naturally from the subject line. The focus should be on the message you are attempting to convey in terms of benefits to the prospect.
Most sales e-mails go off-track by praising themselves instead of praising the reader since the prospect is indifferent as to how strong you are or what you have accomplished so far.
Starting an e-mail with a praise for the reader based on the recent press release by their company, blogs by the reader, published statistics demonstrating their accomplishments can play a great role in establishing positive vibes.
However, such praises should be genuine and not a mere flattery. Addressing the prospects by their surname instead of first name could be beneficial.
Focus on benefits, not features
Instead of explaining about the service features, focus on highlighting the ease of implementing/availing the services, and the tangible and intangible benefits you can offer through your services.
Validate such benefits by way of understandable evidences. Besides, avoid talking about benefits to some big names in the industry, rather explain how business such as those of the prospect can benefit from your services.
Speaking in second person – You, Your, Yours is highly advisable.
The sales e-mail needs to be visually pleasing consisting of impressive pictures, graphical works and GIF’s.
Alternatively, a simple appearance with direct approach as that consistently employed by Uber may also be effectively used for conveying in a very precise manner how your services may be availed.
Request for further progress
Your prospect is very unlikely to call you or arrange time for your demo just because of your e-mail.
Hence, request if the prospect is interested in receiving further information with a humble statement that you shall be calling sometime in the near future.
The prime purpose of a sales e-mail is to inform the prospect about the services and facilities being offered and the resultant benefits that accrue to them.
They are not meant for effecting outright sales, so, it is better not to expect too much from sales e-mails.
Especially if the e-mails are first-timers, you don’t have a pre-established relationship with the prospect, hence, it would be better to keep it short and to the point so as to stimulate the prospect to move ahead, and focus on building a healthy relationship instead.
Remember, you cannot propose marriage on your first date!
Ultimately, the sales e-mail, having clearly explained about the benefits to the prospect, ends with a closer with final repetition of the conclusion and the decision initiation on the part of the prospect.
This section must include an appropriate “call to action” button guiding the prospect into furtherance of sales process along with a Forward/Share option.
According to Campaign Monitor, a “call to action” button instead of a text link increases the conversion rates by around 28%.
Effective follow up is what impacts the sales leads generation the most.
Noting down the progresses made, if any, follow up e-mails can be sent after a week or two, but not earlier than that.
The importance of follow up is best explained when the best egg salesman in the USA mentions that he gets 85% of his new business only after four contacts, and Jack Daly, a marketing expert opines that nine touches are required to get someone’s attention.