How to Write an Effective Subject Line

Differentiating your email from the hundreds of other emails in your target contact’s inbox is an evolving science that sometimes seems to grow more difficult every day as your prospects not only receive more emails e but also become more selective as far as which emails they open and which will grab their attention or pique their interest.  Not to worry.  Use these simple steps to make your emails stand out from the crowd.

The subject line of an email is the primary reason that a prospect will open your communication.  Email remains the main channel for business to business communication, and the subject line is the key to making sure that your business is using that channel effectively.

The fact that your subject line needs to be unique is nothing new, but how to come up with those unique subject lines?

 

Popular References

Since one of the goals of any email marketing campaign is to gain the attention of the largest amount of people possible, why not piggy back on something that has already gained wide popularity in pop culture?  Not only will that attract the eye of your prospect, it’s also friendly, often funny, and will appeal to your prospect’s better side by suggesting a shared interest right off the bat.

In today’s digital world, pop culture has never been more popular so to speak.  We live in a world of widespread common entertainment interests to a degree like never before.  Do your favorite movies, TV shows, or songs contain any quotes, titles, or lyrics that might apply to the goal of your communication or just your business in general?  You may even get great ideas to craft a message around from brainstorming those references.

 

What’s trending?

Social media is a great way to attract attention to your brand.  It’s also a great way to gauge popularity of keywords that you can then use in your subject line.  Connect that subject line with your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn posts for an integrated approach to a campaign to increase visibility and engagement with your prospect base.

 

What’s in it for me?

At the end of the day, your business is all about your customers.  When your customers sign on with you, what are the first benefits they receive?  What types of returns initially draw customers to your brand?  What types of problems do you solve for your customers?

Answering these questions with a brief subject line will entice your prospects to open your email and engage further with you to get to the bottom of what you can provide and why they should choose your company over your competitors to provide it.  You’ll also create an initial impression of trust with your prospect base, and show that you value their time, by letting them know right away your purpose in contacting them.

 

Humor Me

Similar to references to pop culture, a little light humor is an effective way to gain attention and to break the ice with your prospect base.  Humor is a wonderful tool for making friendly first impressions and connecting with people on a personal level.  It will ease the tension of initial contact and lay a foundation of friendly interactions going forward.   People love to laugh, and if your subject line is funny, they’ll open your email to see what else you have to say.

 

What’s the Point?

If all else fails, the most important thing to remember is to be descriptive in your subject line.  You want to be sure that the prospects that are in the market for your services or are most interested in the information you have to share can quickly and easily tell that your email contains an offer for those services or that exact information they need.

To learn more about how LeadSeek can help your business’s message reach and be read by the right people in your target market, visit our contact us page and shoot us an email or give us a call at (800) 497-5312.

The Path to Growth Starts with Marketing

Let’s be honest – especially in sales departments, marketing is often misunderstood and its importance understated.  But once we break down the marketing machine it’s not only simple and understandable, it’s easy to see how it is the crucial foundation to any successful sales team.

Marketing’s first responsibility is to gain the trust of the customer base.  We can do that in a simple and straightforward manner by just keeping a few points in mind.

 

The Big Picture

Predictably, the first step in the process of building a successful marketing machine is to make a plan.  The specific goal of each of our marketing efforts will be the driver of all of the decisions we make next – messaging, timing, offer, etc.  But where to start?

First, we’ll need to think about the company’s best customers – the type of customers you’d like to get more of.  Who do sales people normally begin speaking with when engaging a new prospect of that type?  Then we look for more people that fit as many of the criteria of that ideal prospect as possible and make sure they’re aware of the business, what we offer, and how to get in touch.

In order to build a strong and happy customer base, any business will need to strictly define the niche in which they can excel.  Especially with small businesses, targeting leads outside of the ideal more often than not simply leads to problems for both the business and the customer.  At the very least, the valuable time and effort of the sales team is wasted on conversations that will not lead to sales, and at worst, your company will gain customers that are not satisfied (and tell their colleagues about that dissatisfaction), or lose that trust that’s so important to build with the base.

Next, to craft the message we’re using to get in touch with those people, we’ll need to think about what makes the company stand out.

In a typical sales conversation that leads to a closed sale, what are the conversation turners, the hooks that cause the customer to engage with us, become interested in our product or service, and ultimately choose our company to meet a need?  What makes customers decide to go with your company?  What does your company do better than other companies in your niche?

Do you have any current special offers?  You know your company is great and you work hard to satisfy your customers’ every need, but how do you get people to sign on with you so you can prove it?  Free trials, discounts, coupons, etc. are a great way to gain their attention and a powerful foundation for a well-crafted marketing message.

We put those factors into simple, short, straightforward messaging so that the customer base is aware of exactly why we’re contacting them and making it easy to engage.  That’s one way that we build trust.  It begins as early as our first contact.

Customer testimonials can be the best source of this type of information.  Why did the customer choose you over other companies that provide the same product or service at around the same price, maybe even less?  If it was important enough to one person that they chose your company for that reason, chances are that it’s also important to someone else.  You will also build more trust with prospects when they hear from someone like themselves who is working with you and happy doing so.

 

Customers that Trust, Refer

It’s obviously no secret in the business world that referrals from happy customers produce some of the most powerful leads available.  That brings us back to trust.  Marketing plays a large role in gaining happy customers, maintaining their trust, and therefore leading to referrals which have the highest conversion rates of any leads.

There is no better way to differentiate yourself from others marketing their businesses than through direct, personalized contact with the correct people.  Rather than sending blanket campaigns with a generic message, we can craft the message down to the individual level where necessary.

 

Tried & True

You only get a few seconds to make a first impression, something sales has always known.  So let’s look at what works – what’s the elevator pitch the sales team defaults to?  Let’s start there to build a general introduction, and then dive deeper into each of the elements within that message that we use to get people intrigued, and craft individual messages around those and make sure the right people see them.

By focusing on quality rather than quantity, and by getting as specific as possible with the base, we quickly reach the correct people in an organization and bring their attention to the fact that we have exactly what they’ve been searching for.

 

Speak the Right Language

Some “traditional” marketing and advertising channels and methods such as print advertising, trade shows, and even cold calling, are becoming less effective with the increase of different channels available to customers.  With all the choices of communication methods available, customers expect to have the ability to interact with a company by whatever method is most convenient for them.

The best way to begin a conversation with a prospect and eventually learn exactly what they’re looking for is through direct conversation.  So how do we gain enough of the prospect’s trust that they will agree to take the time to engage with us in a meaningful conversation about their needs?  Through a well-executed and thoughtful schedule of repeated and consistent contact.

 

Implementing marketing systems that follow these basic strategies will allow your business to dramatically reduce the amount of time wasted pursuing leads that don’t turn into sales, and at the same time to dramatically increase the number of closed deals, turning into increased revenue, which is, after all, the whole point.

Adding Value with Every Email

As a sales person, you’ll end up sending a lot of emails that don’t get answered.  Your prospects, no matter who they are, receive a TON of email.  We all do.  How do you prioritize which emails to open and which to ignore?  Personally, I open those that provide value to me.

So, if you want your emails to be opened, it’s important to add value to each email.  Even if you’re just checking in with a customer or prospect, each touch is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship or pique interest in another of your offerings.  Here are a few ideas for things to add to your emails to boost your response rates:

  • Send them a piece of advice that addresses a problem you know they face
  • Send a white paper and offer to answer questions
  • Come up with a potential opportunity that you can help them with
  • Send an article with some latest industry news
  • Reference something they recently wrote or posted on social media
  • Answer a question they asked on social media or an online forum
  • Send one of your recent blogs
  • Find a local event and recommend a booth they check out
  • Invite them to attend a webinar
  • Send them one of your customers’ recent press releases that relates to your offering
  • Mention a common challenge/problem people in their industry face and how you address it
  • Ask if they’re still interested in solving one of their most pressing problems
  • Mention a mutual contact

Any reason you can come up with to reach out will at the very least improve your chances of getting a response and engaging your prospect.  The more personalized, the better.

How much is too much?

How to find the line between persistence and harassment.

As a sales person, it’s just a fact that you do need to be a little bit aggressive. It’s an unavoidable reality that you will be hung up on, you will receive unsubscribe requests, and you may even receive a few angry emails and less than friendly reactions to your phone calls. But at what point does necessary persistence turn unprofessional, or even cross the line into harassment?

Even though most sales people would agree that persistence is key to success in the sales world, most also fall far short of the ideal number of follow-ups (or “touches”) per prospect. Almost half of all sales people give up after one follow-up and the many more after two, when the average number of touches it takes to actually close a deal is seven!

The hard to find sweet spot is figuring out how to be persistent enough to not let deals needlessly fall through the cracks, but not come across as annoying, agressive, or desperate.

In my humble opinion, the first, and most important step is to stop overthinking it. The most common mistake I see sales people make is to overthink how to best approach sales conversations. The most effective communication strategies are those that are natural and unforced. This applies to all interpersonal conversations, sales-related or not. So, before you even start diving down the rabbit hole of trying to iron out your communication strategy, whether it’s email, phone, or in-person, first let’s all take a deep breath and remember that sales conversations are not all that much different from everyday conversations with peers, coworkers, etc.

When your psyche is set to go and you’re ready to make a call or send an email, make sure you do your research (especially for phone calls). The key here, however, is to remember that you don’t need to have deep knowledge of every prospect’s business. Simply spending a little time browsing their website and maybe looking at their LinkedIn profile will give you a good idea of what sector they operate in and a little bit of their company culture. From social media you might glean a few conversation topics to keep in your back pocket. Maybe there’s something you have in common in your work histories, cities you’ve lived in, or topics you both follow. But don’t spend all day doing deep research into each prospect. Just prepare yourself for communications by finding key information that might be useful.

One of the most difficult things to master in sales conversations is tamping down your eagerness. People reflexively react negatively to salespeople that they perceive as “pushy”. If it seems like you’re trying too hard, the prospect is likely to feel like you have something to hide or you’re trying to coerce them into a bad purchase. Keep in mind that there are plenty of prospects out there for you. Be confident and calm. Present your wonderful offering to your prospect and then back off and let them make their own informed decision. Just be there to help them out with whatever they need to do so.

Remember that your goal when initially reaching out to prospects, even if you’ve begun a conversation with them already, is to get a response and have a conversation, not necessarily to get a sale. Remember not to jump the gun and just take things one step at a time. This also goes back to the point about being over-eager. If you keep small goals in mind, rather than trying to push the conversation to closing too quickly, you will put yourself and your prospects at ease, and everybody wins.

When in doubt, trust your common sense. Treat your prospects like people, not like sales goals. That will come through in your conduct with them, and it will be reflected in the relationships you build. Even if your prospect doesn’t buy right away, building a solid relationship is valuable to stay top of mind for the future, and you may even get some referrals out of it.

Writing Effective Sales Emails

Sales and prospecting emails are all about catching your prospects at the right time, in the right situation, and in the right mood.  Many sales people swear by one tried and true template, and while that template may be well-tested and optimized to the fullest, it can still be beneficial to give a few different strategies a try to make sure you’re maximizing your chances of speaking to your whole base.  Here are a few different things to try out in your email strategy.

Personalized subject lines

We all know the subject line of your email is key because if the prospect doesn’t open your email, you could write the best sales email the world has ever seen, and it wouldn’t matter.  One proven way to catch a recipient’s eye is to put their name in the subject line.  This is simple and easy to do with most automation software products, and you should definitely consider it with one off emails.

Asking a question in the subject line

Another strategy is to intrigue your prospect into opening the email.  This is a great way to get a recipient’s attention at the beginning of the body of an email as well.  The main thing to keep in mind is that you want to communicate to your prospect that you can solve a problem they experience.  Asking a good question is a great way to let them know that you feel their pain and that you have the solution.  Some good examples we’ve come across are questions like “Would you like to spend less time on payroll?” or “How much money are you spending every month on energy?”.

Avoid certain words, especially in the subject

There are certain words that will heighten your chances of ending up in the spam folder, and even if you do end up in the inbox, you’ll probably turn your prospect off as soon as they read them.  Words like sale, exciting, state-of-the-art, discount, excellent, and free are trigger words on many email servers because they’re common “salesy” terms, and that’s the same reason they’ll turn your prospects off.  Avoid sounding like you’re selling something.  Instead, aim to inform and inquire.  There are plenty of prospects out there for you.  You’re not desperate, so don’t sound like you are.

Personalize your opening line

For whatever reason, the worst email opening lines are often the most popular among sales people.  While there’s nothing wrong with being straightforward about why you’re reaching out, simply announcing yourself and asking for interest is ineffective.  We have all balked initially at a sales pitch without even knowing what was being proposed.  That’s simply a common knee-jerk reaction.

But if you begin by asking an intriguing question, complimenting the reader on a piece of recent news related to both their business and yours, or reference a mutual connection, the reader might be more inclined to listen to (or read) what you have to say with a more open mind.

Keep Your Signature Short

The closing of your email is also crucial.  You’ve gotten your prospect to read (or at least skim) your message all the way through so you want to leave them with a good impression.

Email signatures are like business attire.  Simple and well-organized signatures give an impression of professionalism and class.  Too much flash or information overload will become more of a distraction and a big put-off.  Your email signature should have relevant contact information and feature your name and logo prominently (but not too large).  No one should ever have to scroll through your signature or stare at it for too long to figure out how to contact you.
There’s nothing wrong with putting a few social media icons in there but keep those and other external links to a minimum if you do that at all and make sure the icons are small and that they link to recent, relevant information.

Bottom line – keep your emails professional, straightforward, and customer-focused.  You’re not desperate and you don’t need to sell to people who wouldn’t benefit from your offering.  Focus on finding the right customers, rather than trying to look attractive to everybody.

We can help!  Drop us a line if you’d like to learn more about how LeadSeek can help design professional, effective emails for your business.

Habits of Successful Sales People

Life will always hand you uncomfortable moments.  You can choose to avoid them or plunge into them head-on.  We recommend the latter.  Those uncomfortable experiences give us strength, teach us powerful lessons, and allow us to gain the ever-elusive skill of self-control.  They also keep us from getting too comfortable and stuck in a rut.  If we never experience discomfort, our brains get complacent, and we cease to innovate.  We thought of a few tips for facing discomfort that we’ve found helpful to sales careers.

 

Practicing your public speaking skills

Most people hate public speaking.  The all eyes on me nature of giving speeches can be terrifying.  Standing in front of a room in the pressure-filled situation of entertaining, convincing, or informing your audience can make you feel like any mistake or idiosyncrasy will be jumped on by your audience.  It can feel impossible to succeed.

But public speaking doesn’t have to be such a challenge.  All it takes is a little practice and the realization that your audience actually instinctively wants to see you succeed.  Once you can make that stick in your head with confidence, most of the secret to public speaking comes down to remembering the gist of your main points and then being your confident self.

Once you have public speaking down, facing even the most impossible prospects is a breeze.

 

Understanding Metrics

Many sales people leave the reporting and data insights up to higher-level managers and the marketing team, but that’s a mistake.  Understanding your own performance metrics can help you identify areas of strength and weakness, which are equally important in maximizing your efficiency and focusing your efforts for optimal success.

If you use a CRM, it’s likely there are built-in features that can help you gain some great insights into your metrics, along with reporting templates and training assistance.  If you don’t use a CRM, get one!  But if you’re not heading that direction, start small by finding a single metric you’d like to track and start mapping it in a spreadsheet.  Just changing your routine to start paying attention any metric will likely improve it.

 

Adopting New Technologies

Since the advent of computers, technology has advanced at such a rapid rate that it can feel completely overwhelming and sometimes impossible to keep up with it.  We all have our obsolete technologies that we refuse to abandon.  I still use a clock radio.

But the more technology advances, the more the wheat gets separated from the chaff.  Technologies that used to be on the fringe and just seemed like passing trends when they emerged become more and more improved and efficient, make your life better and easier, and can become invaluable to your process and ensure you’re not falling behind your industry peers.

Technologies like smartphone apps, CRMs, data analytics software, and of course, (shameless plug alert) email marketing programs, have become essential in the modern business world.  As these technologies become more pervasive and businesses across the board come to realize the benefits, you may find yourself unable to keep up with the improved efficiencies that these technologies bring if you insist on doing things the old-fashioned way.

 

These are just a few ideas on how to take the plunge into discomfort that helps us all grow as people.  Bottom line – as terrible as they may seem at the time, any uncomfortable or unfamiliar experience is likely to help you learn, grow, and improve yourself.

Avoiding Common Sales Communication Missteps

Navigating a sales conversation can be tricky.  You and your prospect may have different or even conflicting goals or expectations. You may have the best intentions for your prospect, but often their instinct is to be skeptical, and your communications may not be straightforward.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could avoid the ambiguity and stop miscommunications from slowing down the sales cycle?  Here are a few ways to start moving in that direction.

1. Mistaking the correct contact

First, make sure you’re speaking with the right person.  This can be tricky, but it’s essential.  The person you’re speaking with may be enthusiastic about your company, and that’s great, but that doesn’t mean they’re influential or that they’ll be your advocate with others in their organization.  If you get push-back from your main contact on things like extending the purchase timeline, or they mention having to get the approval of people you’re not in contact with, consider leveraging your existing relationship to get the necessary people involved directly in your conversation.  Things will move along much faster if you’re speaking directly to the people who make the decision and sign the check.

2. Relying only on email

Email is an extremely effective tool, but like any tool it is only suited for certain parts of the process. Statistically, email is the most effective way to begin a conversation with a prospect, or rejuvenate a conversation that may have gone stale. The mistake some sales reps make, however, is the reluctance to step away from email because of the initial success they have experienced with email in a prospect relationship. At some point, you’re going to have to pick up the phone and talk with the prospect directly. Begin with email in order to introduce yourself and gauge interest, but once you have started that conversation, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.

3. Letting the Prospect Dictate Too Much

While you should always make sure you’re not being pushy or inconsiderate, your prospects may need a little nudge in the right direction during the sales process. Staying committed to a timeline, for example, can be one aspect where keeping things on track can help move the process along and ensure you don’t lose your sale. Even if your prospect is interested and intends to buy, letting the timeline slip too much can allow your competitors to step in and steal your deal, or allow the project to get pushed to the back burner.

Sales Emails – What NOT To Do

As we all know, in the sales world, first impressions are everything. It’s important to make sure you put your best foot forward with every message you send. Each message needs valuable information for the recipient and a clear call to action. Let’s talk about a few things to avoid in your emails to make sure you get your message across effectively.

1) DON’T Make it all about you.

Your prospects, just like you, are very busy. Any time you’re reaching out to a prospect that isn’t expecting to hear from you, you are asking them to stop what they’re doing to listen to you. If you make the benefit you can provide to that person the focus of your message, they may be motivated to continue reading and to take further action to learn more. If not, you’ve lost them before you even began.

While you’re writing your message, every time you want to message yourself or your company, try thinking about how you can flip that sentence around to highlight the problems that your prospects face day to day and how your offering will solve them. It may seem like a subtle difference, but it will make all the difference in the world.

2) DON’T Over promise.

You may be tempted during any sales call to tell the prospect whatever it is that you think they want to hear to make them buy. However, promising results that your solution can’t deliver will only cause you and your future customer headaches. Either they won’t believe your fantastical claims in the first place, or they’ll become a very unhappy customer. Either way, not a good result.

Just remember that sales calls are like interviews. They’re an opportunity for you and your customer to feel each other out and see if a relationship will be beneficial for both of you. If not, there’s no reason to do business together. So be straightforward about your offerings and the features and benefits your solution provides. If your prospect isn’t a fit, no harm no foul. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and having one happy customer is better than many unhappy ones.

3) DON’T be deceitful.

Many sales people think that the ultimate goal in sending emails is to get the prospect to open it. They even go so far as to trick the prospect into opening their emails by writing the subject line to make it seem like an internal email or something that urgently requires their attention. A common tactic is to use “RE:” in subject lines to make the recipient think that this email is related to a conversation they’re already having.

Tricking your prospects may increase your open rates, but once they open the email, you’re just going to make them mad. No one likes to discover they’ve been tricked, and once they do find you out, that bridge is likely burned forever. Stay straightforward and professional. You have nothing to hide, and if you lose some people who aren’t interested in your offerings, what have you really lost? Again, what you’re looking for is solid, interested prospects who will become happy customers. Beginning the relationship with deceit is not the way to go.

Need a better way to manage your email campaigns? Drop us a line and let’s talk about how LeadSeek’s email expertise can boost your numbers next quarter.

Vastly Improve Your Emails with Two Simple Rules

  1. Keep it short.  Many people add unnecessary words to their writing without realizing it, and that can have serious consequences for your response rate.  If you can cut out any words and still get your message across, do.  Prospects will maintain their attention to your message for longer, and for the most part, they’ll appreciate your straightforward approach and respect for their valuable time.
  2. Stay focused. It’s very tempting, especially when you’re keeping an eye toward making your communications conversational, to add superfluous language.  Context and tone are very important, but it’s possible to craft a message with the feel you’re striving for that still stays focused on forwarding the ultimate goal.  If you find yourself wanting to address several unrelated points with a prospect, think about including them in separate emails, or just focus on one smaller goal at a time.

That may seem overly simplistic for an entire email strategy, but keeping these simple rules in mind while writing all of your sales communications will help make sure your emails are read and that you get the information you need to put your best sales foot forward.

Are you interested in ways to streamline and boost your sales process?  Drop us a line and let’s talk about the benefits our email service can bring to your business.

Basic Steps for Writing a Great Sales Email

Email is an integral part of any sales strategy, and advice on how to write the most effective sales emails is everywhere. Rather than a magic bullet, however, following a few simple and common sense rules will ensure that your sales emails are always professional and effective.

First of all, it needs to be personalized. The best sales emails, even if they are part of a campaign, are written to make the recipient feel like you’re sitting at your desk writing an email thinking of nothing but them. Use their first name at least twice, once in the greeting and again in the closing. Not only does it make your email more appealing, it tells the prospect that responding will take them to a person, not just an impersonal form submission process.

Next, remember to keep your language focused on the customer and their needs and feelings. Think about what’s on your customers’ minds each day. You can begin your email with a pain point that typically causes stress to your prospects that your company addresses, or some other type of point about prospect and their day to day life. It might be a thought-provoking or unexpected question closely related to something the prospect encounters in their typical work day, or a common problem they face. Any of those things will grab the prospect’s attention and entice them to read on.

When you’re ready to close your email, make sure you do so in a professional manner. Make sure your signature contains enough information about you so that your prospect can contact you by whichever method they prefer. Stay away from extraneous information that’s not related to you or your business, like inspirational quotes and overly lengthy slogans. I’m sure you spent a lot of time and thought on those and they may be great to you, but you only risk turning people off or losing their attention when they have to sort through non-relevant information in order to contact you. It may seem like a small thing but it follows a fundamental rule – always make it as simple as possible for your prospects to reach you.

Want to take advantage of our email writing expertise for your own business? Drop us a line.