Tag: email

How to write the ideal cold sales email to generate more meetings

How to write the ideal cold sales email to generate more meetings

The good folks over at Cloudura.ai published this post. It was so good that I wanted my readers to read it as well. With their permission, I am reproducing it here.

With over 4 billion email users worldwide, it is no surprise that cold emailing is at its peak right now. On average, a regular email user receives 147 new emails per day. While this is a positive number for reaching out via this medium, you’re in for a lot of competition if you’re a sales rep trying to stand out in the vast sea of emails. 

Unfortunately, while 8 out of 10 prospects prefer talking to salespeople via email over any other medium, only 23.9% of sales emails are opened, with the response rate going even lower. 

So, where are sales executives going wrong, and how can they fix their emails to realize the potential of cold emailing? 

We’ve curated a list of tried-and-tested tricks that will help you create the perfect cold email for a meeting by grabbing your prospect’s attention. 

1. Don’t Ignore the “From” Line 

The ‘from‘ line is usually set up when we configure our email, and that’s it. It hardly ever comes to our mind again to change it in any way. While that might work for everyone else, it’s a huge and unusually common mistake when you’re a salesperson writing a cold sales email. 

On average, an email user deletes 71 messages every day, and all of them under five minutes. This means that most of them are sent to trash even before your prospect opens the email. Apart from the subject line, the ‘from‘ line is the only other thing the user sees when the email is still unopened. As such, it needs to fittingly convey who you are and be consistent with the purpose of your email.

You can change the ‘from‘ line any time, depending on who your current campaign is targeted to and what your message is going to be. There are different combinations of your first name, your last name, your title, and the company’s name that can each affect your prospect differently when used as a ‘from‘ line.

A. First Name + Last Name + Company Name 

While this tells the receiver who exactly the mail is from at first glance itself, it can also seem a little impersonal and might not be enough to convince the individual to open it. 

Rachel Smith – Clodura.AI 

B. First Name + Last Name 

This may be a little too personal, thereby making you lose credibility. If you’re trying to sell the product or service your company offers without having their name attached, your prospect may feel you don’t have the authority to use it and may consider your email spam. 

Rachel Smith 

C. Title + Company Name 

An email with only your job title and the company name in the ‘from‘ line will definitely seem like one of the promotional, automated emails businesses send. Using a specific personal name can increase your open rates by 35%, and yet, a staggering 89% of email marketing campaigns are sent with a company name. These emails do not invoke the recipient to engage with them because they do not feel personal and are likely to be ignored or deleted.  

Account Executive – Clodura.AI

D. First Name + Company Name 

A little personal while still conveying where you’re from – this combination can work with most of your campaigns. 

Rachel from Clodura.AI 

Other Combinations 

  • First Name + Last Name + Title
  • First Name + Title
  • First Name + Title + Company

Do note that these are merely general suggestions on which combinations can be used, depending on the situation. However, in the end, the ‘from’ line you choose should be carefully selected based on your target audience for a particular campaign. Other factors like the context of your message and your end goal also play an essential role in its determination. 

To ensure you choose the correct ‘from‘ line, ask yourself these questions, and use the combination that best fits your answers.

  • Is the combination I’m choosing consistent with the rest of my email? Even though it is often ignored, the “from” line also plays an essential role in swaying your prospect’s opinion. Ensure that your “from” line is consistent with the subject line, the body of the email, the signature, the message, and everything else in your email.
     
  • Would I open this email if I were the prospect? 
    Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes to find out if the “from” line you chose has enough value to compel your prospect to open the email or not.
     
  • Have I carefully scrutinized my prospects to use a combination that they wish to receive? 
    As mentioned above, your “from” line depends on a lot of factors only you are fully aware of. These also include the persona of your prospect and what they expect from you. Ensure that you’re specific in your targeting and do not fall prey to the most popular idea around at the time. Each company and each campaign of that establishment will have a unique set of factors that will affect the message and, consequently, require re-evaluation to determine the ideal ‘from’ line.
     
  • Have I ensured that the “from” line indicates that the person on the other end of the email is someone they want to talk to? 
    Find out who your prospect wants to talk to and include that in your ‘from’ line. For instance, if you believe a campaign to target decision-makers will get better results if they see the Head of the Department (HOD) has contacted them, then create your email campaign and ‘from‘ line around the HOD’s name and title.

2. Create an Eye-Catching Subject Line 

Another element that forms the first impression, the subject line plays a crucial role in driving the prospect to open and read the email. Statistics support this statement — with 35% of recipients opening an email based on the subject line alone and 69% marking an email as spam based solely on the subject line.

While a prospect ignoring your email may make you lose that particular individual, marking it as spam will affect your email deliverability and, consequently, your entire campaign. To that end, it is very important to create subject lines that attract and interest the recipient. Here are some golden tips that can help you stay on track when choosing a subject line. 

A. Put Yourself in Your Prospect’s Shoes 

Ask yourself if your subject line is convincing enough to make the prospect open and read the email or not. Ensure that it responds to their needs and offers a solution to their problem. This way, you will change the subject line from being about your company and your product to their concern and how you can resolve it. 

B. Personalize Your Subject Line to Create a Highly-Targeted Email 

You know their problems, but do you know them? You can make your prospects feel like you see them by forming your subject line in a more personal way. In fact, subject lines with the prospect’s name in them can increase your open rate by over 29% and your click-through rate by over 41%.

For instance, in the image above, the third subject line is an excellent cold sales email example of how to personalize your subject correctly, and the first one is a generic one that you should avoid in your cold email campaigns.

C. Don’t Try to Lure Your Prospect With Click-Bait Strategies 

There are two ways a click-bait subject line can go. Either your prospect will be annoyed by the ‘sales-y’ email and ignore or delete it right away, or they will open the email only to be disappointed because of the misleading subject line and then delete it. So, stay away from trying to bait your prospect with shifty cold email ideas and simply write a subject that offers value instead.

D. Remember That You’re Reaching out to a Human 

Along with personalization, use other tricks so that the recipient knows that you’re human, and you’re treating them as one rather than a paying machine being cajoled by an automated system.  

Did you know that 56% of brands using emojis in their subject lines received a higher open rate than their peers? This implies that playing to the human emotions of your recipient can help you get better results. Moreover, only 2% of businesses use emoticons in their subject lines, ensuring that yours will stand out and be re-callable if you add emojis to it.

Have a look at this fun video by HubSpot to get a better idea of how to use emojis in subject lines.

E. Use Succinct Subject Lines 

Short subject lines with about 41 characters or around seven words tend to garner the most opens. Most subject lines are about ten characters more than this ideal one. You also have to take note of how your prospects are reading your emails. If it is on a mobile device, its interface will likely allow only about 30 characters of the subject line before the rest is cut off.

Source

3. Use the Introduction Smartly 

Okay, so if your prospects have reached the introduction stage through your “from” line and subject line, then you already have a pretty good understanding of them. Now, you have all of 5 seconds to make an impression after they have opened the email. Your opening line is crucial here.  

Instead of directly starting with your and your company’s introduction, write something meaningful for the recipient. Remember, it’s still better to keep it short, but you also want to establish a connection with your prospect that can get them to read the entire mail. You have to use these opening lines to show your prospect that you’ve done your research on them and are deliberately sending this mail to them. You have to make them feel special. 

Here is how you can do that.

A. Talk About Them 

Refer to their work that you’ve come across. It could be a blog, a tweet, a website, anything that has been personally created by them. Show your appreciation for their expertise. 

Here are some examples of how you can start your email. 

  • I loved your blog on….
  • I got your email through [Mutual Contact]…
  • I saw that both of us have [include personal connection]…
  • Congratulations on….
  • I heard that you’re in need of…

B. Talk About Their Company and Their Problem 

Next, ask them questions about the concern that your product is directly related to. For instance, “Do you know why [their company’s name] is not able to hire talent?” 

Remember that while the idea is to create a personal connection with your prospect by using mutual contacts or even flattery, do not overdo it by making this part of the introduction long. Also, stay away from including parts about their personal life lest you seem like a stalker. 

Immediately after these two sentences, add a transitional line and move towards your offer. 

4. Pitch Your Product 

Finally, it’s time to introduce your product or service. As a sales rep, you’ve already done it lots of time. You probably don’t even have to think about the features and the benefits of your product before talking about them anymore.

While that sales pitch might work in a face-to-face or even a phone conversation, emails are a whole different ballpark. Here, the prospect is not obliged to listen to or read your sales pitch. As soon as they realize that the mail is only about you selling your product, it’s a click on the trashcan. 

With cold emails, you have to present your product in such a way that the prospect finds value in it. If your pitch strays away from making the recipient the center of attention, you’ll simply become another salesperson whose business they don’t have to care about. 

You’ve already highlighted their issues in the introduction. Now, you need to seamlessly connect your product to their problems so that they can see the clear trajectory of your product being the solution.

Here is what the body should include.

  • The reason why you reached out to them personally and not anyone else – The idea is to make them feel special and valued.
  • The product that you’re offering. However, instead of including all the features of your product, add the specific benefits that they will enjoy.
  • How a business relationship with you can benefit them.
  • The testimonials or use cases of your previous clients to show how others have benefited through a business relationship with you.

Ensure that you avoid the salesperson tone at all costs and stick to proposing the value of your product to your prospect where they need you rather than the other way around. 

5. Invoke Action With the CTA 

Alright, you’re almost done now. All that is left is to put forward what you want your prospect to do. Do you want them to have a Skype call with you or a phone meeting or a physical meeting somewhere? Whatever it is you want them to do with your cold email ultimately, write it down in a short, simple, and straightforward manner.

6. Tie It All With the Perfect Signature 

Like the “from” line, the signature is also often ignored. As a part of your email, it deserves as much attention as the other elements. After all, it gives your prospect a way to know more about you and get easy access to your contact information. Here are the golden rules of email signatures. 

  • Include your phone number, email address, link to a social media profile of your choice, and link to the company website. You can choose to add or remove other points depending on your target audience and how they generally connect with you.
  • Do not add quotes and images to it. It’s not clean and takes the focus away from your real offering. Images are also easy to get automatically blocked by the email carrier, and it’s best to avoid any delivery issues.
  • If your signature is made up of messy HTML, it can be classified as spam and, again, decrease your deliverability rate.
  • Keep it minimalistic with not more than two font colors, a single font type, and no or only one icon. The more you add to it, the more cluttered it will look.
  • Include enough information to make yourself look trustworthy. If the information is too little, the prospect might think you’re not credible.
  • Aim for consistency among your organization so that you and your colleagues use the same template, font, etc. for your signature.

And send! 

What happens now?

Well, you wait for your prospect to respond. And if they don’t respond, you send them another mail to follow-up. 

7. Why Do You Need Follow-Up Emails? 

On average, about 80% of prospects don’t respond to the first 3 cold emails. Despite this, the average salesperson only makes two email attempts before giving up. In an ideal world, your prospects would understand the need for your product at first go and be ready to invest in it. But the world of cold emailing is no utopia. Professionals are busy and not willing to pay attention to a product they haven’t realized the value of yet. So, be prepared for your mail to be ignored the first time even if it is perfect. 

Source

Follow-up emails work as gentle reminders that there is something like your product in the market and that you’re still available if the prospect wishes to buy it.

Here is how you can write a follow-up email to increase the chances of a response. 

A. Take Care of the Subject Line 

Similar to our first email, the subject line of the follow-up email is essential too. Ensure that it is short, attractive, and shows the value of the email. 

  • Following up on My Email
  • Re: Introduction Call

B. Make the Introduction Contextual 

With the number of emails we receive every day, it is easy for your prospect to forget who you are or what you are talking about. To avoid that, always start by providing them with the context they need. 

  • Thank you for the meeting yesterday….
  • It was nice meeting you at the conference last Saturday
  • I’m following-up on the email I sent a few days ago….

C. Be Clear About What You Want 

Now that you’ve established where they know you from, you need to come to what the purpose of the current email is. What exactly do you want from them?

  • Are you available for a call next Wednesday / Thursday at 3 or 4 PM?
  • Can we schedule a meeting this week on Tuesday at 3 or 4 PM?
  • I would like to invite you to [the event] we’re hosting…

D. Hit Send! 

Different kinds of follow-up emails have different time-frames that they can be sent in. Of course, you’re the best judge of when you want to send which sort of email to your prospect. However, if you’re specifically looking for when to send a follow-up on a meeting request, it is best to do so within 1-2 months after the first email is sent.  

To know more about how you can carry an effective email campaign, check this blog out.

How Can You Take Your Cold Email Campaign a Notch Higher? 

Okay, so you have everything in order now. With a carefully crafted “from” line, subject line, introduction, body, CTA, and the signature, you can now kickstart your email campaign to generate more meetings. You can also follow-up with more emails to get the result you desire by taking care of their subject line, context, and purpose.  

While you have the information to rope in any prospect now, manually doing so with every lead may prove to be inefficient. To increase your sales velocity Clodura’s killer email sequence features helps to generate more interactions and book more meetings, with the right message at the right time for sales prospecting. 

Header Photo by ribkhan (Pixabay)
17 Tips On Cold Emails – Don’t Make These Mistakes!

17 Tips On Cold Emails – Don’t Make These Mistakes!

It used to be fashionable to make phone calls to unsuspecting people at companies to try and create interest in your product. With the advent of caller ID, voicemail, and smartphones, the practice of cold phone calls has seen a severe drop in productivity. It is still possible to find a lead this way, but due to the low hit rate, it is better to delegate this activity to junior employees that are not carrying a multi-million dollar quota.

In my book “Eliminate Your Competition” I suggest that salespeople send a series of emails to potential prospects in a targeted campaign before trying to make a phone call. I call this the 6-3-1 Program. It won’t guarantee you success, but it has proven to be far more effective than just blindly dialing for dollars.

I understand that your manager may disagree with this campaign. Most managers earned their stripes “back in the good old days” when people answered their phones. Some managers are as old as me and remember actually walking into the front door of a business, asking for a person with a particular title, and being reasonably confident that the person would come out and talk to you for a few minutes.

Let’s be perfectly honest; the world has changed. In those olden days:

  • Telephones had numbers that went in a circle.
  • Telephones were physically attached to a wall by a wire.
  • You had to pay extra to make a “long distance” phone call.
  • Correspondence was written on ground-up trees.
  • Front seats of cars may or may not have had seat belts.

If you are still prospecting with the same techniques as when any of the above was true, then you need to re-think your strategy. It is the 21st century and Ford, Carter, and Reagan are no longer President.

The most effective way to prospect is to include some email correspondence. Unfortunately, email has its challenges. First, an email address is very similar to a phone number – it is wrong then you won’t reach your intended recipient. In the past, I have spoken about Hunter, and it is a great way to start to find email addresses that actually connect to people.

The next challenge with email is that your prospect probably gets A LOT OF EMAILS. You need to make it past the spam filter of the company, the prospect’s spam filter, and the prospect’s “this is junk” rapid deletion techniques. Hopefully, the rest of this article will make that easier.

The number one rule is to send email to your prospects like you were sending email to your old college buddy or your mom. The more fancy and highly formatted your email is, the more likely it looks like spam and less like honest correspondence with your friends.

To determine if a message is spam, most spam filters check for appropriate email authentication and your sending IP reputation. To avoid having your emails considered spam, use email authentication and protect your sending reputation.

Email Authentication

If you use a service for sending your emails, make sure it has good and appropriate safeguards. Email authentication helps ISPs determine whether an email is coming from a legitimate source. Setting up your email authentication is crucial for good deliverability. The two most common authentication standards are SPF and DKIM. Every major ISP and most major spam filter providers check for one or both of these standards when determining what to do with an email.

Sending IP Reputation
Your sending IP reputation is based on many factors, including:

  • Bounce rates
  • Blacklistings
  • Spam complaints

Be careful sending from Salesforce.com.  I have heard that spam filters can easily be configured to block Salesforce.com. I say this because of the domain name of the sending servers, i.e., salesforce.com, and the domain of your ‘from’ will not be the same, in both cases. If a client has strict email rules which verify the sending services with the From address, it may mark it as higher on the spam list.

The 17 “Don’t” list

  1. Don’t use embedded URLs. Embedded URLs are a red flag.  Friends send URLs that look like www.confident-investor.com/watchlist, and they don’t send URLs that look like Watch List where the text is HTML, and the link is part of the text.
  2. Don’t use email tracking. Do you really need tracking turned on? How is that going to make you more money or build your credibility with your prospect?  Emails from friends do not have tracking, so if you turn on tracking the spam filter robots will detect this and your spam scale will increase.
  3. Don’t use all caps anywhere in your email or its subject line.
  4. Don’t use video, Flash, or javascript within your email. Friends don’t do this; they only do URLs.
  5. Don’t embed forms in your emails. Friends don’t do this. Include a URL to your site instead.
  6. Don’t use spam trigger words like “free,” “guarantee,” and “no obligation” in your subject line or email body. A good rule of thumb is, if it sounds like something a used car salesperson would say, it’s probably a spam trigger word. Here is an excellent listing of words to avoid.
  7. Don’t use a red font when drafting your email (in fact, don’t use any special color).
  8. Don’t use a light-colored font on top of a dark background. Remember, your best friend from college wouldn’t do that to coordinate lunch next week so neither should you.
  9. Don’t use excessive exclamation points!!!!!
  10. Don’t forget to use spell check. Misspellings are yet another spam indicator in your email copy. Someday the spammers from other countries will understand how to spell and the grammatical techniques of the US, but until that time make sure your content is correct as it is a great differentiator.
  11. Don’t play games with subject lines. Subject lines that spark curiosity get emails opened, but that’s just half the story. Subject lines that misrepresent emails irritate prospects and drive them to flag you as spam. For example, some sales reps add “Re:” or “FW:” to guise their cold emails as conversations and pique their prospect’s interest. In reality, this is misleading. Moreover, why would a prospect trust you if your first touch with them is deceptive?
  12. Don’t use “hash-busting” to get past the spam filters. Hash-busting is using special characters designed to break up words or phrases (e.g. “Fr3e W!nn@r”). It might work, but it probably encourages your prospect to immediately hit Delete (or worse, manually flag it as spam).
  13. Don’t use URL shorteners. Remember your mother doesn’t use a URL shortener. Only marketers, salespeople, and spammers use shorteners in an email. Aside from being too “salesy”, it is too easy to embed an inappropriate site into a URL shortener, so many people will not click on a shortened URL. It really isn’t worth the trouble – who cares if a URL is long.
  14. Don’t use sloppy HTML code. Using Microsoft Word to design in HTML can add extra formatting to the code, which raises your spam score (and also makes your emails look terrible). If you do create in Word, you should copy/paste as text.
  15. Don’t use too many images and not enough text. Don’t embed text inside of images, or send emails that are all-image, no text. Once again, would your best friend do this when asking you to the game next week weekend? In fact, don’t put images into your email.  I know your marketing department wants you to put a logo into your email or maybe an ad for your next user group. Resist this urge and tell your marketing department to read this article. Your job is to have your email read by your prospect and it won’t get read if it is in their Junk folder.
  16. Don’t use the dollar symbol in the subject line and rarely in the text. Avoid the dollar symbol like the plague, as well as the exclamation point if you can help it. These are huge red flags for spam filters.
  17. Don’t flood your prospect’s server. Corporate server-based spam filters might mark your email as spam if multiple emails to the same company with the same subject line delivered seconds apart. I suggest you modify each subject line slightly if you are doing cold emails.

Cold emails can increase your chances of finding a qualified prospect. However, like all other tools, you need to know how to be effective at using email. My 6-3-1 program in my book “Eliminate Your Competition” is an excellent way to find more people that you can help. It combines email marketing, with phone calls and with educational newsletters. You may purchase my book “Eliminate Your Competition” from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

 

Photo by Infrogmation

All of the Account News a Salesperson Can Use

All of the Account News a Salesperson Can Use

Information is king. This statement is especially true when it is account news. With information, you can make appropriate decisions. More than that, information on your prospect allows you to

  • respond to the events affecting your customers and prospects.
  • having background talking material during your sales calls.
  • find opportunities.
  • establish financial justification for your opportunities.

There is a lot of information to gather about your accounts. You need a quick and convenient way to review the highlights of your account news so that it doesn’t overwhelm you. In order to lead you to the end goal, let’s start at the easiest beginning. Let’s assume you are looking for account news for your new prospect, General Motors.

The first and most obvious solution is to go to Google and search for General Motors. The resulting page will be at https://www.google.com/search?&rls=en&q=general+motors&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

This page will be good but not great. It has a lot of account news about the company that you may not know. However, it has little in the way of new information. If you look part way down the screen though, you will notice that there is a news section. As the last entry for that news section, it should say “More news for general motors” – go ahead and click this link (the link is: More news for general motors or https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=general+motors&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#q=general+motors&rls=en&tbm=nws

This listing of account news is much better. The News page has even more timely information that we can use. However, it can be vastly improved. General Motors is a public company, and we can get financial information by modifying our string and inserting the stock symbol for the company. In this case, the stock symbol is “GM” so let’s modify our search by just changing the above URL with “+GM” like this: https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=general+motors+GM&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#q=general+motors+GM&rls=en&tbm=nws

Depending on your Google preferences, you may have to hit News on the menu bar immediately below the search bar.

Note that we had to make the modification twice, which is a bit inconvenient. Also, if you look at the News page, you will see a lot of analyst comments which are likely not very helpful in your sales campaigns. The fact that an analyst thinks the stock is going up or down is likely not going to help you in your sales campaign. So let’s skip to the end of all this work. Take a look at this URL: http://news.google.com/news/search?pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&q=”general motors”+GM+-trading+-resistance+-upgrade+-downgrade+-upgraded+-downgraded&cf=all&as_qdr=w&as_drrb=q

Once again, you may have to hit the News button to see these results. Let’s spend a minute understanding what this search does to help you gather account news:

  • Give me all of the Google News for General Motors or GM (the quotes makes the two words General and Motors into one string). If the article has both GM and General Motors then it will score higher.
  • If the article contains any of the following words, score it lower:
    • trading
    • resistance
    • upgrade
    • downgrade
    • upgraded
    • downgraded

That is what the +- (or a plus followed by a minus) does. It adds a subtraction of that word to the search.

Now comes the best part. Once you have all of this setup, you don’t have to think about it again. On the right side of the browser, there should be a Save button. Clicking on that button will put this search in your Saved Searches (which is on the left side of the screen).

You can also have Google email you this information. Skip all of the hard work above and go straight to Google Alerts. Type in the company name (put quotes around it if it has a space in the name), the stock symbol, and “-trading -resistance -upgrade -downgrade -upgraded -downgraded” to eliminate some of the noise.

Good luck and get ready to use this account news to set traps for your competitors so that you can ELIMINATE THE COMPETITION!

You may purchase my book “Eliminate Your Competition” from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Photo by Spencer E Holtaway