According to Liz, one of the biggest mistakes she sees in email communication is too much generic or corporate language. For example, one sales email she received had the subject line “Turbo-charge your tech-stack”.
“I’m willing to bet that if the software company that sent this had a quick chat with some of their customers, they’d find that not a single one of them was sitting at their desk thinking, ‘I really need to turbo-charge my tech stack’ before they bought the product.”
Using jargon to describe your service is an easy trap to fall into, but if you want your emails to connect with readers, you need to start sounding less like a marketer.
Sales email templates can help you get started, but to stand out your email must show that you understand what kind of challenge or pain they’re facing. More importantly, you need to describe that pain in their words. When your email uses the same language as the customer, then it’s more likely to resonate than any amount of sales-speak.
People talk about what they care about.
Nikki Elbazemail consultant at NikkiElbaz.com
If you’re looking for insights for your next campaign, this inspirational quote from Nikki notes that listening to your customers will not only help with the way you write your emails, but it’ll also ensure you’re creating content that matters to the reader.
When you turn the topics that your ideal customers talk about into emails, they’ll be more likely to read them and buy solutions related to those topics.
To find out what matters most to your target audience, Nikki suggests reading the reviews they leave for your product, joining Facebook groups relevant to the problem your product solves and running a series of interviews every year.
“Getting that qualitative intel is critical to planning out messaging that your readers respond to. And it’s a lot easier than running endless brainstorming meetings too!”
Ask your customers what they think of your service, but make sure you reward them for their time.
Matt WebsterFounder, MW-W Consulting
Matt also recommends using an email-based survey to talk with your customers and discover what they really think about your product. He also emphasizes the need to properly reward customers for their time. This could be in the form of a voucher for a coffee on you, a discount off their next purchase, a chance to win a prize – anything that would be of tangible value to the customer.
In this way, your email is less of a request for a favor and more of a mutually beneficial deal. You incentivize your customers with something valuable to them, and in return get valuable feedback that you can use to improve your email marketing and product offer.
Adding value to your emails
Sell the problem – not the solution.
Raffael Fernandesfounder and director at Flow State.
Even when you have a deep understanding of your prospect, it’s easy to get caught up in how great your product is and how much it can help them. However, the busy executives you’re emailing have inboxes full of people offering the “perfect” solution.
If you want to cut through the noise, Raffael recommends that your sales emails first show them that you understand their pain or, even better, alert them to it; in some cases, they may not even be aware of the true nature of the problems they’re facing.
The ability to reveal that to them is incredibly compelling, firmly establishing your credibility and expertise. Then, when they’re ready to buy, they’ll turn to you as a trusted authority rather than just another salesperson.
Email marketing should be brief – short enough that you’re able to read it on your cell phone without scrolling.
Dan Griffithpresident of GrowDGTAL
Many email marketers will agree that you need to keep your emails brief and concise. However, when it actually comes time to get writing, it’s not always that easy. Choosing what information to include and what to leave out can be a real challenge.
By limiting yourself to something that could fit in a text message or tweet, you’re forced to focus on what matters the most to your recipient. You have limited space in an email to generate curiosity and move the reader to take action, so every word counts. Dan recommends that your email includes:
Something personal, that will catch the reader’s attention
Something relevant, that addresses a pain or challenge they face
Something you want your prospect to do, a call to action (CTA)
No one cares about you and your company.
Bruno BinVP of marketing at Rocket.Chat.
While this might not exactly sound like it belongs on a list of motivational email quotes, it’s a good reminder that your emails need to be focused on the customer, not yourself.
“The moment you say ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘our’, you’ve lost them,” Bruno explains.
To ensure your emails are customer-centric, switch up any references to you and your company so that they’re solely about your customer and their company. For example, rather than “We’re hosting a webinar tomorrow,” you could write something like “500 of your peers are joining a webinar tomorrow.” The message is ultimately the same, but the latter frames it around the reader and is therefore going to be more interesting to them.
Figure out who you’re really targeting and why.
Ayhan Isaacsfounder of Growth Rhino.
If you’re sending a cold email, you need to put a lot of work into writing a relevant email. You only have seconds to convince a stranger to open your email and actually read it, so if it looks like a spam email you’ll miss your chance.
To ensure that your email outreach is relevant, take some time to think about who you’re talking to. Buyer personas are a good starting point, but you have to go beyond surface-level data like job title and industry to produce a truly relevant email.
Ayhan stresses the importance of layering buyer behavior on top of your personas, using psychographics (their attitudes, aspirations, values, etc.) in addition to demographics. For example, what job are they trying to accomplish? How do they evaluate potential solutions? What challenges are they trying to solve that your product can help with?
Most quotes about email note that understanding your prospect’s motivations and how they make buying decisions helps you to hone in on your value proposition and peak interest.
Don’t prospect to make a sale, prospect to start a conversation.
Jason Baychief prospecting officer at Blissful Prospecting.
What are your objectives when sending a sales email? A common mistake is to try and introduce yourself, list all your product features and benefits, include a fancy email signature and make a sale all in the first email. However, a cold email isn't the place to sell.
Prospects respond best to messages about their priorities and whatever problems are getting in the way of achieving them. Empathy is an important soft skill in sales, and even a cold email should demonstrate that you understand your prospect’s world, priorities and problems.
Rather than jumping into a sales pitch, ask for a conversation where you can help them further. “Don’t sell in the cold email or make any mention of your product’s features or how much it costs,” Jason recommends. Rather than trying to sell or even book a call, simply starting a two-way conversation is usually the best objective for your first cold email.
Don’t be afraid to give away as much as you can. If you keep giving, asking for something becomes really easy.
Aaron Evanshead of training and development at Flow State.
When done correctly, sales isn’t a zero-sum game that you have to “win” at the expense of the customer. Rather, the best salespeople strive to create win-win scenarios, where both parties get a positive outcome.
This all starts with creating value for your customers, not just in the product you’re selling but also in the emails you’re sending. Make sure all of your touchpoints have value at the heart of the message.
Reach out to your prospect with a suggestion that could help them with a current problem they’re facing. Share useful resources that are relevant to their industry and goals. When you deliver genuine value and go above and beyond what’s expected of you, you’ll build a positive reputation as a valued partner.
There are two things to keep in mind when setting goals for email marketing: The what and the when.
Andrus Purdeco-founder and CEO of Outfunnel.
Email marketers spend a lot of time thinking about the “what” of their emails, or the content and the outcome(s) they want to achieve with them. This will naturally vary depending on your audience and goals. Are you trying to build trust among people that barely know your brand and offerings? Educate people on your approach? Get leads to schedule a demo? Each goal will require a different kind of message.
However, when you send your message is just as important as what it says and is trying to achieve. In his free course, Andrus recommends considering both the what (your ambition and desired outcome) and the when (over what time period) when setting goals for your emails.
Grabbing attention and standing out
We all operate in a world of noise, sameness and distractions. If we’re very lucky, we get small (very temporary) opportunities to capture the attention and hearts of the people we seek to serve.
André Chaperonco-founder of Tiny Little Businesses
When you email a prospect or customer, you face a lot of competition. Even if you can stand out from the hundreds of other emails filling their inbox, there are still plenty of distractions. From social media notifications to work commitments, people are constantly context switching.
The best way to get around this, according to André, is by using a soap opera sequence. In his free course on email marketing, he defines this as a series of emails that draw people in using a narrative arc, spread out over anywhere between five and 30 emails. This is more than just a typical onboarding sequence, but rather a way of earning their attention and trust by providing value and helping people solve problems.
Key to this is the use of storytelling, the foundation of every good sales pitch. Just as a soap opera keeps you hooked with its cliffhanger ending, a good email sequence will connect with your audience then ratchet up attention as they receive each “episode”. When you can find a story that resonates with your readers, they’ll actively look forward to opening and reading your emails.
I do believe stories work. I just don’t think they have a place in newsletters every single week.
Liz Wilcoxemail marketing specialist at lizwilcox.com
While André and others swear by the power of storytelling, Liz offers an alternative viewpoint. In an interview on The Copywriter Club podcast, she instead encouraged people to use personal updates.
Although they can be extremely effective, it’s possible that too many stories could end up having a negative effect on our recipients, especially if they’re feeling burnt out and don’t have time to read another long story.
Liz recommends that just as you wouldn’t launch into a long story to a friend you’ve just bumped into at the supermarket, try keeping your email to a short but personal update. Finding small points of connection can help you engage with your readers without overwhelming them.
Not sure how to sell benefits instead of features? Go watch QVC for an hour.
Val Geislercustomer advocacy lead at Klaviyo.
One of the first things any copywriter learns is the importance of selling benefits, rather than features. The popular example used is that people don’t buy a drill; they buy the hole they can make with it. What they’re really interested in is being able to do jobs around the house, hanging up pictures on walls and so on, not aimlessly playing with a fancy machine.
Still, focusing on benefits can be difficult, especially when you’re selling a technical product such as a complex app or SaaS solution. To help get it right, Val recommends taking a look at how the pros at QVC do it. “They sell benefits all day long. And they’re the best in the biz at it.”
They only have a limited time to sell each product, so every word is important and must be used to full effect. Rather than focusing on what the product is, the very first thing they tell you is why you need it. Having extensive knowledge of your product is important, but a deep understanding of your customer is essential.
Work to come up with points the competition cannot say about their product or services.
Eddie Shleynerfounder of VeryGoodCopy.
Email marketing’s goal is to connect with the reader, build brand awareness and position yourself as the ideal solution to whatever problem they’re facing. However, if your emails sound the same as every competitor in your field, then why should they choose you over them?
To measure the quality of your email copywriting, Eddie recommends carrying out a “Cross-Out Test” using three simple steps:
Write your copy
Cross out any references to your company and its product or service
Write in the name of your competitor and their product or service
If the copy still fits, you’ve got a problem and some rewriting to do. Rather than relying on generic features or statements, dig deeper to come up with points your competitors cannot possibly say about their products or services. It will take extra work, but your emails will be more compelling and memorable as a result.
When it comes to expert quotes about email, certain patterns and themes start to emerge. Most importantly, it’s essential to know who you’re talking to. Who are they? What matters to them? What words do they use to describe the problems they’re facing?
Armed with the insights from these good email quotes, you can create a customer-centric message that delivers genuine value to the reader, rather than simply trying to sell. Then, when the time’s right, you can describe the specific benefits your product or service offers, setting yourself apart from your competitors and standing out in their inbox.
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