No doubt, if you’re a salesperson, business owner, or somehow responsible for business development, you’ve spent time on outreach emails.
Sure, there are lots of sophisticated tools and advertising strategies that can help create awareness for your company, but in order to move a prospect forward, you have to know how to write impactful, appealing emails to ensure business growth.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day and it means we have to be selective about the calls and messages to which we’ll respond. At the same time, it’s also worth mentioning that, according to Symantec’s latest estimates, somewhere between 40 and 50% of all email sent is spam, and those are the lowest numbers reported since 2003. That fact alone indicates how important it is to be meticulous about whom you contact and articulate when you reach out to them.
There are ways to help you get people to notice you, take action and engage with you in a way that allows you to deliver more value. Here are five tips to help you create better outreach emails.
1. Do your research.
If you want to be remembered for all the right reasons, it’s important that you do the research and invest the time to understand the company and who you are reaching out to. Do you have the right contact? What is their role? What is important to them?
What can you learn about that individual that can help you to make more of a personal connection?
I find it interesting that every time I propose email outreach to my clients, they immediately want to mass email their entire list (or buy one!) and can’t wait to get it out there. Here’s the challenge with that: Simply by definition, a volume email outreach program implies the messages will be less-targeted with less personal engagement for each individual contact.
And yes, there are a good number of tools out there that will help you to craft and send emails, follow-up on them, respond to them, etc., and that can be helpful, but at the end of the day, I would be that every single one of you would take even one response over sending a 1000 emails and getting nothing back.
We do a pretty good job making speedy decisions as to whether or not something has enough importance to spend time on it, including the sill to glance at an email and decide if we want to read it or simply move on. Unless the first line of the email contains something that’s reasonably important to the reader, they’re likely to move on quickly.
2. Be relevant.
Start off with something that is directly relevant to the recipient to entice them to read more.
And this is where things can get challenging. If you haven’t bothered to research whom you’re talking to and their role, it’s hard to know what to say that has any relevance.
That’s why it’s important to migrate away from generic email templates and create your own. Create something that works for your specific circumstances and particular goals. It is fine to use a template as a base for the email and then create your own edits that include some kind of personal connection in each and every message you send out.
There are a number of approaches you can take to make a personal connection. Here are several examples:
Perhaps their company was in the news recently and it makes sense to draw on that
Hone in on one of their hearty accomplishments—maybe they published an article or comment on LinkedIn
Industry news or information they should be interested in
Whatever you chose will depend on the person you are contacting, their role, and whatever might be relevant to their specific objectives.
One of the best ways to establish a relationship with someone is to deliver something of value to them or do something for them. So maybe your first contact with them is sending over a book that discusses something of importance to them or a resource you know they’ll find useful. Then follow-up with some outreach to take the conversation to the next level.
3. Be precise and don’t mince words.
It’s not uncommon for me to get emails with a very generic request. Offers to ‘let them know if there’s anything they can help with” will most likely get ignored because there is no specific action.
We talk about how to create landing pages and web site conversions and those tools need to be effective with specific calls to action. While these pages likely have a big orange button that says Request Trial or something to that effect, your email has to be just as simple to read to understand the next action.
If you want them to read something, you need to tell them. If they can quickly understand what you’re asking for, they can make a decision and take action (one way or the other), without feeling as though they’re wasting time.
An email should be specific and only ask for one action from the recipient—and never more than two.
4. Avoid unnecessary extra work for your recipient.
It’s important to remember that people aren’t robots. While you might send a similar email out to 10 different people, it’s very likely that you’ll get 10 different responses. After all, you never know if the person you’re reaching out to is managing a crisis and wouldn’t respond favorably anyway.
You’ll never get everyone to respond the way you want, but that’s not to suggest that you shouldn’t make it as easy as possible for the email recipient. Whatever the case, don’t expect them to do any work for you.
Let’s say you’ve got an article you think they could benefit from reading. Give them a direct link or enclose the article rather than directing them to a form to fill out. Help them avoid wasting their precious time and really try to add value whenever you can.
The faster and easier you make it for the recipient to take action, the more successful your outreach will be.
5. Create trust and credibility.
While the reader might be considering your offer, they probably want to know a little more about you and the company doing the outreach. Put yourself in their shoes—don’t you want to know more about who you’re dealing with?
Here’s your opportunity to add a little more background information about yourself, maybe a link to some information sources that add to your credibility. Maybe something you’ve published on LinkedIn or other articles where you might have shared an opinion. In addition, a solid email signature can also help you establish some basic information and deliver credentials that can help you establish some professional trust.
You may also want to include a link to a couple of previous successes, particularly if they are in the same industry or on sites or platforms of interest to the recipient.
Delivering a clear, succinct and personally relevant pitch at the beginning of your outreach emails should make the reader want to read more and get to the trust and credibility info about yourself at the end. That way, the reader can peruse through that information if they want to at the end and take the real value up front.
Are there other strategies that you have found effective? Please share any tips or advice in the comments.