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The Secret to Sending Effective Emails That Won’t Be Ignored
A staggering volume of business email is generated every day. According to the “Email Statistics Report, 2014-2018” published by The Radicati Group, Inc. this past April, over 108.7 billion emails are currently sent and received on a daily basis by business users worldwide. This breaks down to an average of 85 emails received and 36 emails sent each day by every single business email user. The report, which excludes all spam intercepted before reaching user mailboxes, predicts steady increases in business email activity of 6-7% per year through 2018 and concludes:
Email remains the most common form of communication in the business space. Email use is growing in the business sector and by 2018 business email will account for over 139.4 billion emails sent and received per day.
Staggering, indeed! Given such high numbers of emails competing for the time and attention of email recipients, companies everywhere are asking the same question:
So, what is the secret to sending effective emails? What can we do to improve the results of our direct email campaigns?
Plentiful and sometimes contradictory advice for email optimization is easily found online. The recommended strategies for improving email open and click-through rates typically revolve around the length and wording of subject lines, the format of email content, and the timing of sent messages. Although some of these strategies may be valid, they will all fail to achieve results without a relentless focus on two key elements: email personalization and email relevance.
Follow these guidelines to deliver personalized and relevant emails that will be noticed, opened, read, and valued by your sales prospects:
- Send direct, person-to-person email to “humanize” your communication.
Customize each email by using the prospect’s name in a prominent place at the beginning of the message where it will catch the reader’s eye. Equally important: The sender should be an actual person at your company and not just a “catch-all” email address such as info@yourcompany. The former establishes a true human connection that invites a response, whereas the latter denotes automated, impersonal, one-way communication.
- Provide context-based email content.
Use the context surrounding each individual prospect inquiry to determine the content of your email response. The context is defined by each prospect’s unique path of website behavior, which has been documented by the sequence of web pages visited, premium content downloaded, online chats conducted, etc. Based on your knowledge of that context, tailor your email message to include specific content that addresses the key topic of interest revealed by each prospect’s website activity.
- Deliver email content that is appropriate for each prospect’s position in the sales process.
When prospects first enter your sales pipeline, they are looking for information about causes and solutions for their business problems. They are in research mode, trying to understand their options. To meet their needs in this early stage of the sales process, provide email content that educates your prospects and demonstrates your company’s value as a trusted and credible resource.
As prospects advance farther into the sales process and begin looking at specific solutions and vendors, send personalized emails that introduce your company’s branded solution. At this stage, prospects want detailed product information in the form of product data sheets, case studies, demonstration videos, competitive product comparisons, and any other information that helps differentiate your company’s solution from others.
- Include at least one Call-To-Action related to both the context of the inquiry and sales cycle position.
Every email message provides an opportunity to engage your prospect and encourage forward momentum through the buying process. While your emails should always include content that is relevant and valuable, they should also offer a simple and direct way to access additional information. The challenge is to include enough content to meet each prospect’s current needs and, at the same time, to generate interest in learning more. Offer a Call-To-Action that leads the prospect to take the next logical step in the buying decision process. The prospect’s choice to ignore or act on the Call-To-Action is instructive in determining your company’s next step in the lead nurturing process.
Personalization and relevance are the common threads that connect the four key guidelines above and form the foundation of a successful email campaign.
Without personalization and relevance, it really doesn’t matter what time of day your emails are sent or what words are used in the subject lines. Personalization is required to establish a sense of connection between your company and each of your prospects. Relevance is essential for demonstrating that your company understands every prospect’s individual needs. By personalizing your email communication and delivering highly relevant information based on the specific context and sales cycle position that characterize each prospect, you are increasing the likelihood that your emails will be opened, read, and considered useful.
Inbound Marketing programs automate all aspects of the lead nurturing process including assessment of the context of prospect inquiries, tracking of lead progression through the sales pipeline, and delivery of personalized emails offering relevant content on a timely basis.
As an example of the many features and benefits provided through automated email software that is integrated with lead generation tools, we encourage you to take a look at the description of HubSpot Email, one of the most comprehensive Inbound Marketing email solutions available today. To learn how these innovative email strategies and other Inbound Marketing methodologies will improve the effectiveness of your company’s email campaigns, please contact us - we would love to talk with you! We help companies build effective Inbound Marketing strategies that integrate your sales and marketing process into your website content and email nurturing campaigns to deliver highly correlated leads with your target prospect when they are ready to buy. Download the Content Marketer's Strategy data sheet to learn how.
Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of Inbound Marketing services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer on-line. Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow.