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March 2, 2016

The Art and Science of Sales Email

We all suffer from email overload these days, yet surprisingly email is still one of the most effective tools for sales.  However, with the barrage of emails that your prospects are likely to receive on a daily basis, there is both an art and a science to making sure your sales emails get the best results.  Fortunately, there’s a lot of data on what works and what doesn’t and so we thought we would summarize some tips on how to best take advantage of this important sales tool.

Research from Implisit shows us a variety of valuable insights on how to get started on the path to sales email success. First of all, they found that if six or more emails were sent to a prospect, the chances of that prospect replying dropped drastically after the third email and the highest chances of a response were found after the first or second email with response rates of 12.5% and 8.6% respectively. So, it’s critical to make those first emails count.

It may be our first instinct to assume that shorter is always better when it comes to sales email, but the same study from Implisit shows us that a rule of long or short is appropriate based on when these emails are sent. Emails of 500 words or more had a response rate of 40.3%, but only on the 6th email. The emails that did the best in the first or second contact were actually the shortest ones at under 100 words with a response rate of 32.2%. With the initial emails, keep it short and to the point.  As you progress, you can begin to provide more information but build up to those 500 word essays to get the best response rates.

Of course we can’t overlook the importance of the subject line. After all, it is the first thing your prospect will see and what will encourage them to open the email in the first place. Implisit tells us that longer is better when it comes to subject lines, with a response rate of 46% for subject lines of 10 words or more, as compared to a 24% response rate for less than 10 words. It’s not just the length of the subject line that matters though; readers also care about word choice. According to research from Yesware, straightforward terms such as call, listing, renewal, campaign and update had an average open rate of 71% and a response rate of 39%, in comparison with “sales-y” type terms like interested, good, afternoon and marketing, which received an average open rate of 41% and a response rate of 14%. Tailor those subject lines to the market and the individual prospect and create subject lines that really speak to their needs and pique their interest.

Like any technique in sales, emails are not a magic form of communication and most prospects are unlikely to buy after a single email. For most sales situations, email should be part of the process but can’t be the only part. Just remember the art of crafting the right subject line and message. Also, start with short, concise messages and build up to the longer messages, always focusing on a consultative approach of adding value to the specific prospect’s business needs.

 

 

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