How To Use Email To Get New Sales and Leads

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Generating sales and leads isn’t dependent on just one aspect of your email. You can have the greatest call-to-action the world has ever seen, but no one will ever see it if your subject line isn’t engaging. Your subject line could be perfect, but if your email is drivel when they open it, you’ve wasted your time.

Email marketing remains one of the most reliable ways to generate leads. It offers a direct line to your audience and provides measurable results. The ease at which businesses can send hundreds, thousands, and even millions of emails at once means that making your email stand out has become even more difficult.

It’s not simply a matter of standing out in comparison to your competitors, however. Proving your business to be the best or your product or service the most reliable, or best value for money, or whatever your goal happens to be, is almost secondary to convincing the recipient that your email is legitimately useful. Proving that your email is trustworthy, and more importantly, worth their time, are all aspects that need to be conquered before they even open it.

Expectation vs reality

I’ve worked with many businesses that have unrealistic expectations of email marketing. “I want to get everyone to read the email and click the link” is something I have been told more than once when I ask a client about their goals. The average open rate across all industries is roughly 25 per cent. The click rate is calculated as a percentage of those who opened the email, then took further action and the average is approximately 16 per cent. The important thing to remember, is that email marketing is a cumulative process. It won’t always be the same 25 per cent who open your email, so sending regular communications is the first step to generating sales and leads. Never judge your results from the first email. Or even the second or third. Assessing the success or failure of an email marketing campaign needs months’ worth of data.

It all starts with the subject line

Stop thinking that you’re sending out a “very important email to a very important client and sales prospects all hinge on this email.” Desperation is easy to spot and a relaxed, casual subject line will be more effective.

Pretend you’re emailing a colleague, or you’ve found an offer your friends or family might like. What would you say to them? I guarantee it wouldn’t be “Take advantage of this great, never to be repeated special offer!”

Some of the most important things to remember when creating your subject line:

  • A/B testing is important. If your mailing list is long enough, with a minimum of 50 to 100 subscribers, test your subject lines to get the most out of every email you send.
  • Shorter is better. Long, descriptive subjects might seem like the best way to attract a variety of tastes and interests, but people are busy. If it can’t be read and understood at first glance, keep working on it. The example below perfectly distils the content of the email into six words, without allowing the recipient to make their decision based on its content.
  • Businesses tend to think that all their communications are important, and sometimes they actually are. Highlighting this in the subject, using words such as urgent, breaking, alert, and important, can have a positive effect on open rates.
  • Announcements and invitations are more effective than reminders and cancellations. Planning your email schedule for each campaign you run will help you feed the information out and keep your audience on the hook.

Creating body content that demands action

The length of your email is important and brevity is valued above tortuous tales that take 400 words to get to the point. If you can’t distil the reason for your email into one sentence, then you need to think more deeply about its purpose. Stick to your point and make sure you only have one point. If you have several messages to convey, assess whether they are relevant to everyone on your list and look at segmenting your subscribers to ensure that everyone receives one concise email that is targeted to their demographic.

The look and feel of your email are equally important to its success. Email automation software offers myriad templates to help businesses of every size send out professional looking emails. If your business has the luxury of employing an in-house designer, then your emails can be even more cohesively branded. Either way, there’s no excuse for sending an email that looks like it’s been lost in the post since the late 90s..

The look and feel of your call-to-action (CTA) are also important. Creating an inviting CTA doesn’t mean being pithy or clever, just clear. These examples from well-known brands don’t attempt to over-complicate the message:

  • Spotify: Get Spotify Free
  • Netflix: Join Free For A Month
  • Lyft: Sign Up Now 

An established relationship

Possibly the biggest factor in email marketing is trustworthiness. Everyone receives mail they don’t want and the term “spam” has become a catch-all sobriquet for unwanted email. To avoid being dismissed out of hand as just more junk mail, it is important to build trust.

A welcome email is a powerful way to engage with your audience as they subscribe to your mailing list. It acknowledges their subscription and lets them know what your emails will look like and what to expect when they’re sent. This brand recognition is a major factor in improving your open rate, your click-through rate, and ultimately, your sales and bottom line.

Setting aside the hard sell to say hello, or even offer a discount or some other welcome gift, has even been shown to have a positive effect on sales. Welcome emails have 320% more revenue attributed to them than any other form of sales email. It sounds counter-intuitive, but if you think about it in terms of bricks and mortar retail ­– are you more likely to browse and buy when a salesperson is all over you, or when they say hello and back off? The same social norms apply to email and digital marketing.

Trial, error and persistence

Email marketing isn’t an exact science and it isn’t something that can be set and forgotten. Engaging in a meaningful way with your customers is as important as it ever was, however the methods have changed. Of all the people who enter a store, many won’t make a purchase every time they visit and similarly, not everyone who receives your email will turn into a sale on the first email. But they might on the second, or third, or fourth email. Creating leads and sales requires consistency, persistence and creativity.


David Pagotto

David Pagotto

Managing Director at SIXGUN

David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN. He has worked in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping organisations get more customers, more reach, and more impact. Consulting with some of Australia's biggest brands, David and the SIXGUN team have a knack for developing creative solutions to complex problems.

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