How to write winning sales emails
Every day we try our best to keep our inboxes lean. Emails never seem to go away. When clients see a sales email, they often flag it, delete it, or file it away to address later (or never).
According to Mashable, people delete an average of 48% of emails before even reading them. Sending prospects and clients emails with no value add will not only annoy them but potentially erode the relationship.
However, when used effectively, email can serve as a powerful sales tool.
In this post, we’ll highlight strategies for writing sales emails for business development that help foster sustainable relationships with clients.
Customer segmentation is the practice of dividing customers into groups of like demographics and key differentiators such as age, marital status or consumer preferences. Social media enables automated advertising by customer segmentation. In B2B environments, customer segmentation typically involves targeting marketing efforts by industry.
When conducting sales emails, customer segmentation helps the sender leverage relevant data to tailor messages to their clients that will produce more desirable outcomes. Customer segmentation also proves effective when grouping customers and targets by behavior.
Segmentation by characteristics can only go so far. After all, people are more dynamic and complex than their demographics reveal. Segmentation by behavior typically falls into six categories:
- Purchasing behavior
- User status
- Usage rate
- Benefits sought
One of the most powerful behavior segmentations is purchasing behavior. Segmentation by purchase behavior uses purchase history and predictive analytics to determine your customer’s buying preferences.
Purchase behavior illuminates exactly where that person will likely put their money.
Leverage CRM data
When writing a sales email to a specific customer, leverage your CRM data to tie elements from your previous conversations into the email. Adding a personal touch can go a long way. You’ll also want to tailor your message around where the customer is in the sales pipeline.
Example: Are they a relatively new lead or an active target ready to close?
Language and formatting
Address your call-to-action or main points at the beginning of the email. People have very short attention spans these days so write in a concise manner.
Structure your message in a way that can be easily digested if read on a mobile phone or quickly in between tasks. You may incorporate bullet points and headers to break up your message.
You’ll want to avoid statements that make assumptions about the customer. Statements like, “I know how you’re feeling” can be perceived as presumptuous.
Also, avoid using words associated with spam or blatant advertising such as sale, unique, state of the art or solution.
Helpful words and phrases connect directly to the prospect or customer. The more customized your message feels, the more likely the person on the receiving end will respond.
Use terms relevant to the customer’s industry. Asking specific questions such as, “How does this align with your goals to become a lean organization?” will make you helpful and strategic versus predatory or spammy.
Some copywriters (especially those who work for one company for a long time) tend to write cliches in their email – not because they are uncreative but because they just have been using those phrases for years.
To prevent this, you should try the following:
- Change the voice of your emails – that will make your copywriters think different
- Educate your copywriters
- Hire freelance writers from Upwork, Hubstaff, or EssayTigers – they will bring something new to your communication with the audience
Effective subject lines
Keep your subject line short. The fewer words the better. According to Return Path, about 65 characters in the subject line reap the maximum read rate. With subject lines you can get creative.
Depending on the nature of your business you may take more of a risk by being humorous or cheeky. In a more formal B2B setting, lead with something topical in the industry or ask a question about a specific company goal.
Check out these examples:
“What is your GDPR plan?” – Hot industry topics
“10 Tips for Finding the Right Contractor” – Helpful information
“Eric at (Company X) Says we Should Talk” – For referrals
“We think you’ll look great in this..” – For B2C oriented emails
The holidays serve as a great opportunity to engage customers. If your company offers holiday specials share that with your customers. However, the best holiday messages are not emails. Send your customers a card or a gift in the mail. If in a B2B setting, visit your customer or take them out for a meal if your budget allows.
Use your email as an invitation to an in-person interaction.
Sending sales alerts or discount codes can serve as some of the best calls to action because they represent fleeting opportunities. This is especially true for prospects approaching the finish line. Sweetening the deal can push them just enough to finally make that purchase.
Make sure you alert the recipient of the discount code in the subject line!
Provide valuable information
Your sales email, or any email for that matter, should not be gratuitous. If you sell a service or expertise, provide valuable and pertinent information in your message that will truly help your customer. If your customer finds interactions with you valuable that will automatically strengthen your relationship.
This requires you to know your business, your customer’s business, and the market in which you both intersect. Valuable information can come in the form of a market update, cost-saving opportunity or a consultative suggestion.
We all know what it feels like to be ignored. Especially salespeople! One of the first lessons sales trainers teach is to follow up. However, many give up after just the first or second try. Most deals close after several calls or meetings. In some industries, the sales cycle can take years.
Don’t follow up too soon. Wait at least a few days before sending a follow-up message. Never forward or copy and paste a previous message, make the follow up fresh and new. You may also want to adjust your call to action especially if it didn’t work last time.
Try a different approach:
Make sure you mark your follow-ups in a CRM to keep track of your contact history to include phone calls, meetings, and relevant email exchanges.