Email is dead. At least once a week there’s some blog or chatter about the impending death of email. In fact, I just finished re-reading an article from Fast Company entitled Email Is Dead…from 2007.Is email the best form of corporate communication? Is email, in its current form, going to be around for another 10-15 years? I doubt it. But, I also think email gets a bad rap. Blaming the medium for the current state of email is like blaming my putter for my crappy short game.
Within the past few years, some great resources have become available to give sales reps much more power in terms of sending out mass emails and creating drip campaigns to their targets. The problem though, and it’s that the necessary email training and coaching that needs to accompany the purchase of technology like this does not follow.
If you were sending ineffective emails before, now you’re just sending those ineffective emails to more people on a more frequent basis. In turn, this makes everyone’s job that much more difficult because inboxes are cluttered with drivel.
As someone who, in his heyday, sent thousands of emails to prospects and is now receiving thousands of emails from prospects a month, I have a few suggestions that will help your email get opened, read and responded to.
Writing Better Email Subject Lines
They need to be short and either personalized or unique, but ideally both. Localizing the subject line to fit the prospect is one great way of doing this. For example, if someone sent me an email with Atlanta in the subject lines I’m much more likely to open that email, primarily because I know it’s not a mass email sent to 10,000 people across the country.From a technical perspective, different email clients will display different numbers of characters, and that can have a direct correlation with your open rates.
Using the Email Preheader or Preview Effectively
Break out your phone and look at the emails you’ve recently received. What do you notice? On most devices, while scrolling through your email, you’ll see the sender, the subject, and then the first 10 or so words. These few words are the preheader or the preview, and if it’s used right it can increase your open rates. Since over 50% of all emails are now first viewed on a mobile device, it’s imperative your preheader is strong. Strong: meaning it explains how you will help the prospect. Since the preheader is text the receiver will see before they open the email, it’s prime real estate that you can use to reinforce the value your email will deliver. Great email copywriters understand that they can use the subject line and the preheader together to remind the recipient of a problem they have, and how they can fix it.
Conversion Optimized Email Body Copy
Never, ever, start a cold email with either “I hope you are well” or “I hope this email finds you well.” It’s garbage and a waste of space. Use that space instead to make a great first impression and be impactful. Actually, avoid starting with “I” at all—it appears self-serving, and your email shouldn’t be about you. It should be about them.
If you can’t explain why your product is valuable to me within three sentences, there’s a problem. Decision makers get hundreds of emails a day and most, if not all, don’t have time to read two paragraphs of why your company is so great.
You should send me three sentences of how you can help me with my problems and an easy call to action. Appealing to insecurity, vanity, a sense of being part of an exclusive group or a dozen other emotional triggers, can improve your responses. Or, if you really want to stand out from the crowd, send me some valuable content without any call to action. If I’m interested, I’ll know what to do.
There’s no big secret if you want to know how to stand out in the sea of junk:
- Take a little more time on the front end to construct personalized or localized subject lines
- Create a solid preheader and opening sentence
- Keep your email concise and about the prospect’s needs
The good news is that there is plenty of opportunity to stand out from the crowd and start sending email that not only get more opens, but, more importantly, more responses.