I have always wanted to use the title of this blog as an email subject line but never had the guts to do it. It’s probably because I’m worried that the word “sex” in the title would send the message directly to spam, dooming it to deletion before being read. Or worse, I’d offend the sensibilities of my potentially puritanical readers who would block me from ever being able to send them messages again! Either way, it seemed like a risk that I didn’t want to take, so I never did.
Thinking of catchy sales pitches is not easy, especially since email marketing seems to be getting worse instead of better. The volume of emails that we get daily is ever increasing — the average office worker receives 121 per day. (My guess is that C-level business decision-makers receive 5 times that, many of which are never read or responded to). Many question whether email marketing as a tactic is even still viable since prospects are bombarded with so many messages, and yet, statistics show that it’s one of the most effective methods out there for nurturing leads and helping convert them into sales.
So, how can you make your email messages stand out from the crowd, and increase your conversion rates Here are our top 5 tips:
1. Obtain opt-ins by phone prior to emailing
It used to be the trend to send out giant email blasts and then call the openers and clickers to follow-up, but that’s no longer viable in many cases. In light of recent changes to privacy policies in a number of countries, including the EU’s GDPR (the big buzz topic of the moment), using telemarketing outreach to obtain opt-ins first is not only necessary in some instances, but also preferable. Taking the time to get to know your audience and making sure you are engaging the right decision-makers prior to sending out an email will dramatically improve your click-through rates. It also gives you the opportunity to introduce the topic and give prospects a head’s up about what’s to come. This level of engagement will make your email marketing even more effective (and tailored) when it goes out.
2. If one approach doesn’t work, try another
Despite popular belief, there is such a thing as the perfect pitch. But sometimes, even despite taking the time to develop what you believe is the best email ever, it doesn’t have the effect you want it to have. It’s important in this case not to give up hope, and to try something else. Continuing to do the same thing over and over again in the hopes that what you are doing will give you a different result is the definition of insanity — it’s wiser just to try something else. Sometimes just by changing the subject line you can have a better reactivity rate, so develop several and conduct A/B testing to see which ones resonate better with your audience.
3. Try social selling
Social selling is the talk of the town. Email plays an important role in the one-on-one relationship building inherent to social selling, but it means crafting and customizing each individual message, rather than using one generic blast. In addition, InMail on LinkedIn is a highly effective way of reaching new prospects in your direct or indirect network, but again, messages need to be tailored for each contact or they will just be ignored. Social selling is a strategy that pays — it may take more effort in the beginning, but as we say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day…”
4. Make email marketing part of a more holistic strategy
Email marketing is great, but as with most marketing approaches, it shouldn’t be used as a stand-alone tactic. By using it as part of a larger, more holistic strategy combining both inbound and outbound initiatives, your email marketing will be more effective.
5. Friendly, personal messaging
If you are looking for people to respond to your message (and we all are, aren’t we?), you need to talk to them like people instead of addressing the companies they represent. It’s important to give someone a reason to respond — this comes from your ability to connect with them on a personal level. This is really an extension of the idea of social selling — starting a relationship with someone new requires creating friendly messaging, rather than using cold, corporate lingo.
There’s no doubt that email marketing is here to stay, but the way it’s done is an important differentiator between a successful outreach program and one that falls flat of expectations (or worse yet, has no impact at all). Knowing your buyer personas and the challenges they face makes all the difference when drafting messages that resonate with your audience; having great content in support of your initiatives to help drive traffic to your website, and further engage leads down the sales funnel will help increase the probability that they will convert into sales.