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4 sales prospecting email tips to boost open and response rates

Your ideal buyers delete 48% of the emails they receive every single day. Is yours one of them?

4 sales prospecting email tips to boost open and response rates Blog Feature

Liz Moorehead

Editor-in-Chief, Speaker, Host of 'Content Lab' Podcast

April 27th, 2021 min read

Good morning to all of the virtual selling professionals out there killing the game, except those who send me prospecting emails like this:

Screen Shot 2021-04-25 at 8.49.54 PM

First, my name isn't Tami – in fact, there isn't a single Tami at IMPACT.

Second, it's emails like this that are likely one of the major reasons why email recipients delete close to half of the emails they receive each day. (I actually just did the same for the emails I received today right before I sat down to whip up this little educational ditty for you all.)

As a sales pro, you're in a serious pickle:

  • On the one hand, you have to prospect effectively at scale – heck you spend 21% of your day writing emails, right? – which means you can't get bogged down in prospecting "tips" that require you to write your industry's version of James Joyce's Ulysses every time to you try to reach out to someone who might be a fit for your products and services.
  • On the other hand, you know your sales prospecting emails need to be more effective. If only you could simply unlock the powerful prospecting tips you need that are scalable across your entire prospecting process.

At IMPACT, our digital sales and marketing coaches work with hundreds of sales pros, leaders, and teams just like you – you have big goals, and you can't afford to waste time. (Plus, we also know that super long emails don't get the highest response rates.)

On top of that, this is now a virtual selling world we're living in, so the emails you send are more critical than ever to guaranteeing your close rates remain high.

It is with these points in mind that I am proud to present to you three wildly powerful, simple  ways to increase the effectiveness of your prospecting emails, with increased open rates and response rates.

1. Don't immediately go for the meeting or demo

One of the most common mistakes we see sales pros make is that, in the first communication, they immediately attempt to book a meeting or a demo. With a stranger. Who has never heard of them. 

Why would anyone book a meeting with you when they don't know you or trust you yet? This is why, every morning, I search for the phrases "book a meeting" or "demo" in my inbox and then delete all of those emails... sight unseen. And I know I'm not alone. 

🔎 Related resources:

So, what should you do instead? Embrace a proven sales technique called assignment prospecting – the effective little cousin of assignment selling – wherein you send personalized, relevant, educational emails that provide content that is tailored to the needs of your recipient. 

For example, let's say I'm a business leader and it's the third quarter. You know what that means – I am neck-deep in budgetary considerations, evaluations, and planning as I look toward the new year. 

Then, I receive this email: 

Screen Shot 2021-04-27 at 7.09.46 AM

This is an email I would actually open. In addition to a few other key features (which I'll unpack here in a moment), the primary thrust behind the email is to be helpful about a topic that is relevant to me due to my role and the time of year. 

It doesn't try to get me to book a meeting, sight unseen (and trust unbuilt). This is an email that would pique my interest, get me to open it, entice me to watch the video, and then click through on the link provided. That's the power of leading with value in your sales emails with assignment prospecting. 

2. Your subject line should be personalized, specific, and not about a meeting or demo

This is another case where the data speaks for itself – personalized emails get 26% more opens than those that don't. So, that is a thing you should do, OK? But more than that, you also need to (once more with feeling) move away from the immediate "sale" of a meeting or demo. 

Let's take a look at our last example to show you what I mean:

Screen Shot 2021-04-27 at 7.12.28 AM

The subject line our sales guy Chris wrote me includes three specific features:

  • It includes my name right at the start (gotta get those open rates).
  • It's specific to (and agrees with) the subject matter of the email.
  • It includes "(Video)," so I know there's a video. This is a big deal because your prospects love video. In fact, the presence of a video in an email has shown to increase click-through rates by 300%+.

So, do those three things, and you're guaranteed to seriously up your open rate game with your prospecting emails. 

3. Include a relevant video with an animated thumbnail

In case my previous examples haven't given it away, your prospecting email needs to include a relevant video with an animated thumbnail. And when I say relevant, what I mean is that it needs to be relevant only to the pain point you're targeting through your piece of valuable, relevant, educational content. 

Your video should not be a bait-and-switch, Trojan horse for a meeting request or demo offering. Period. Full stop. 

Instead, in your video, you should:

  • Briefly introduce yourself. You're an awesome human with an awesome name, and they should know it. It's the beginning of your beautiful relationship.
  • Immediately pivot to their pain point, area of interest, etc., framed in their terms, in a way that makes them go, "Yes! That is me you freaky little mind reader!"
  • Then preview what piece of content you've shared to help then with that pain point or area of interest and that they can find it linked below. In short, you need to deliver on your promise and tied to your call to action.

Badabing, badaboom! That's how it's done, folks.

4. Keep your email copy short, laser-focused, and trust-building

So, you're writing this prospecting email that is:

  • Personalized
  • Centered around a pain point-driven, helpful piece of content

It also includes a video that increases the likelihood that your prospect will click-through to hear your message and also get to know you. But your video isn't the only thing your email is going to contain, right? 

Let's go back to our email example to talk about how it's done:

Screen Shot 2021-04-27 at 7.09.46 AM

Looking at the world-class assignment prospecting email example above, here's what you need to include:

  • The first line needs to include the length of the video (so folks know what they're getting into, because video length is a big fear) and immediately ties back to the value articulated in the subject line.
  • After the video, you immediately go into your call-to-action, referencing that it was discussed in the video, and with the implication that it's all tied together around the subject matter you've identified in the subject, the lead-in for the video, and so on.

"What if I don't know what I should send my email about?"

OK, let's say you've spent most of your sales career constantly going in for the kill, immediately reaching for that booked meeting before your prospect even knows your name. Now, you want to try your hand at assignment prospecting, wherein you showcase your value through altruistic, pain point-focused education. 

So, where do you start? 

The answer is with the most pressing questions of your ideal buyers. Typically, they will fall into what we like to call one of The Big 5 content categories:

What are The Big 5 [v3]

When in doubt, lean on those questions around pricing, challenges, problems, reviews, and "best of" to inspire the direction of your prospecting emails. Because if you're the sales white knight who shows up in your ideal buyer's inbox with that answer they've been searching for, for ages... that's a mighty big point in your favor and a powerful way to kick-off your sales relationship.

Not just because you gave them the answer, but also because you demonstrated a clear understanding of who they are, what they need, and what (potentially) keeps them up at night.

Ready to take your sales game to the next level?

IMPACT Chief Learning Officer Chris Duprey has your back...

...with his brand new IMPACT+ course all about how to craft assignment prospecting emails that get opened, are understood, and prompt action... so you can close more deals faster. 

And if that's still not enough for you, I highly recommend you check out the following resources:

If you want access to the Pro courses right now without the commitment, you can get started with IMPACT+ Pro with a free, 14-day trial. Now go forth and earn your coffee is for closers mug

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