These days salespeople have quite a few methods for reaching out to their prospects.
Some of these include phone calls, SMS, LinkedIn messages, and sometimes even videos.
However, one of the most common ones is sending emails.
It’s easy, relatively inexpensive, and quick, which has resulted in a lot of people abusing it and filling our inboxes with SPAM.
So let’s dive into how to properly write an email that stands out from the noise, and discuss the pros and cons of email outreach.
Step 1: Define Your Audience and The Purpose of Your Email
Each email campaign you send out may have a different ICP (Ideal company profile) in mind.
You need to consider the language and personality of your audience. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer persona.
For example, if you are selling computer security software, you are aiming to get the attention of an IT manager or software engineer, think about the tone of voice and language you might use.
Just like any CEO, engineers prefer less fluff, straight to the point, obvious communication.
Here are some examples of different purposes your email campaign may set out to accomplish:
- Traffic generation: You are using email as an effective promotion channel for the high-value content you create on your website.
- Awareness: Not everyone who opts into your email list is ready to purchase. They are all at different stages of the sales pipeline. Use email marketing to provide the educational content that is most relevant to them so that they keep you top of mind.
- Lead nurturing: As you stay top of mind, you may also consider ways to identify the leads you have with the highest purchase intent and provide conversion-focused content that "nurtures" them toward a sale or to becoming sales-ready. Plant the seed!
- Revenue generation: Create email marketing campaigns for your existing customers to promote, upsell or cross-sell. You can also create campaigns to capture a sales conversion from leads who are close to a purchasing decision.
Unfortunately, there's no one magical structure that you can use over and over. Different prospects resonate more with different structures…
Step 2: Create Subject Lines That Get Opened
There is one email feature that can change the destiny of your email from going to the “Junk” folder or, to being opened immediately.
Everything from your open rate, click rate, and CTA conversions depends on how well-written your email subject line is.
The subject line should be:
- Short: Maximum 7-10 words long. The point is to be able to get an idea of what an email is about from reading the subject line and the preview (first few words from an email) without having to open it.
- Relevant: Compelling enough for the prospect to want to open it. Don’t lose them with fluff.
- Not misleading: We said compelling, not clickbait. Lying in the subject line just to get an open is going to hurt you later.
Some good examples of this:
- [Prospect Name]—[Topic They Care About] Report for You! -Using their name can be intriguing.
- How [Customer Name] Solved [Problem You Solve]: - if they have the problem, they might take a look.
- Referral from [Person Prospect Knows] - If this person actually gave a referral, there is a compelling reason to open the email.
Step 3: Craft Bodies That Turn Heads and Raise Eyebrows
The subject line got you an open email but how do you make sure they read the whole thing?
Here are some tips we employ at CloudTask.
- It should be about 65 to 75 words long: short enough to be read on a phone screen without swiping more than twice. Pro tip: Send it to yourself first and check it on your mobile.
- Your first-touch email should be as lean as possible, with no rich text, attachments, media, or links. This helps reduce the chances of getting blocked by a spam or firewall filter.
- It’s a great practice to include a link to a case study specific to the prospect/persona you're reaching out to. It's a low-friction CTA that offers value. It also helps track which prospects were interested enough to open it.
- Regardless of the structure you choose (or the one your company already uses), make sure your sections are spaced out. It's easier on the eye, and each section (paragraph) has its own purpose.
- Avoid typos, spelling errors, and grammar mistakes. Some companies go with the idea that "to err is to be human" and purposefully include small typos or mistakes. But did you know that humans are also capable of writing correctly and professionally?
- Your email needs to be relevant to the prospect. Do some research and look for pain that you can leverage in your email (and hopefully subsequent conversations).
- Include a professional signature. Chances are, your company already has a template for this.
- If you add a link to your email, embed the link in some text so it doesn't look like a phishy URL.
Email structures that we find get read and replied to….
Our favorite happens to be Josh Braun's 4T email framework. If you haven't seen his video yet, check it out!
Other structure ideas:
We've noticed that [role/title] such as yourself are dealing with [common pain for that persona]. Is this true for you?
[Company A] was able to [specific results achieved with statistics and time] thanks to CloudTask. [Customer success link]
Anyway, have a lovely rest of your week!
Step 4: A/B Test Frequently
There's a plethora of examples online, and it's up to you to split test them. This is also known as A/B testing, which really just means trying out different email structures and templates to see which one gets better results.
You can consider A/B testing the following:
- Layout: experiment with the formatting and style of the content. You could test plain paragraphs versus bullet points or a longer block of text vs a shorter block of text.
- Images: try out different images to see how the conversion rate is influenced. (But don't attach too many or it might get sent straight to spam).
- The Subject line: play around with the length of the subject line or add personalization.
- The intro: Test formal and informal intros to see which one your audience reacts to best.
- The body: Try out very lean bodies, that include just one sentence (relevant, of course) against more robust bodies that offer them a peek into a case study or other relevant info you’re including in your email.
- The outro: Josh Braun suggests detaching yourself from the result and finishing your email with something like “Either way, I love what you’re doing with [product X or your LinkedIn profile, etc]. Keep at it!” This way you communicate to the prospect that if they don’t find your offer relevant they can just skip it. You accomplish two things with this outro, you use a pattern interrupt and stand out from the crowd and you help the prospect feel in control of the conversation. Try this aloof outro against your traditional sales outro to see which one works best.
You want to A/B test one thing at a time. Otherwise, you won’t know exactly what’s working and what isn’t. Once you have statistical results and proof that points to the variation that performed better, you can continue optimizing through smaller tweaks.
TIP: Utilize your company's content library to leverage the best medium for your particular email.
What's a content library you ask? It's...a library of content! More specifically, it's a repository of various materials, usually from the marketing and content creation departments, that you can leverage for outreach.
EXTRA TIP: Another piece of material you can incorporate into your emails (or LinkedIn messages) is video.
Record yourself instead of writing the email. It gives your message a personal touch (can't get much more personal than your own face!). You can use Dub To do this, we at Cloudtask find it particularly useful.
So, in conclusion, creating emails that stand out from the crowd isn't really that difficult.
NO clickbait but short, relevant, and compelling subject lines are a must. Short, concise, lean, NO spelling errors, and following a 4T structure for the email body is advisable. A/B test the different parts of your email and you’ll know what works best for your audience.