Everyday millions of people around the world do the exact same thing-
they send email. Sales professionals and marketers especially
send emails. They send emails to communicate, to fill events, to
purchase supplies, but above all they send emails for one purpose – to
sell. This article will examine some of the best practices for
sending customers an email about a product.
Not everyone thinks of that when they start writing an email, but
anyone in sales thinks that way. They know that an email is the
first step toward getting a phone call from a perspective
customer. The part that is often forgotten is just how many
emails the average perspective customer receives per day.
According to the Answers.com website, the average person in North
America has three email accounts and receives approximately 25-50
emails per day to each account. That means each perspective customer
receives approximately 150 emails per day. (That does not include all
of the messages from friends on Facebook, colleagues on Linkedin, or
Twitter and RSS feeds) The question then becomes how an email
stands out of those 150 emails? This article will examine some of
the best practices for sending customers an email about a product.
The Subject line: Sometimes saying less is better
Every Email Marketer will have their own thoughts about what passes
muster for a suitable subject line, but there is one theme that is
emerging and that is “put yourself in your recipients’’ shoes”.
Inboxes are flooded with emails and spam, and time is a precious
commodity for everyone these days. An important fact to remember
is that people do not like to have their time wasted. When it comes to
subject lines, don’t sell what’s inside the email. Intrigue and
tell what’s inside.
The general rule of thumb in email marketing is to keep the subject
line short. Limit it to fifty characters or less. People
receiving these emails are potentially looking at them on mobile
devices. Short and to the point generally gets the click.
Don’t forget the From line. The From line can be as important as
the subject line. It should clearly communicate exactly who the
sender is. People enjoy relating to other people, not anonymous
robots or spammers. Save the email@example.com and
firstname.lastname@example.org email addresses for campaigns such as opt-in
Emails can take a variety of appearances. HTML, embedded images,
plain text, they all have their uses. This section will
examine some of the best practices for sending a text based sales email.
Sell in every Email!
- If possible use the customer’s name in the subject
line or in the greeting. People like to deal with people, and not
email generating robots.
- Use a readable font. Select a clear 10 pt
font for the email. Stay away from extremely stylish or artistic
fonts as the email could be considered spam when viewed in a preview
pane and deleted.
- Stick to a black Font Color for text.
Generally colors like blue are used for hyperlinks, and red is used for
prices and opt-out information. The use of flamboyant colors like
greens and blues will make your email start to resemble spam, and your
email will most likely be deleted without being read.
- Be brief with the salutation or greeting. One to two sentences max.
- Body of the email will be a description of the
product, or service. Ensure to include a link to the product on
your website, and make sure that links directly to the product page –
not the homepage. Making your customer work too hard to find your
product, and they will find another vendor.
- The call to action in the closing line should be
brief and ensure to ask the customer to call you for more
- Grammar, punctuation and spelling must be correct.
Write the email in Microsoft Word before slamming it into
Outlook. Your email could be fantastic, but if it contains
spelling mistake then it comes across as unprofessional.
Attention to detail. Write twice and hit send once.
When constructing an email to the customer three things are being sold:
the product, your corporate brand, and yourself. Sometimes when
sales reps send emails they get caught up in the pitch of the product
and forget to highlight that they, and the company, are there to
support the customer through the sales experience. Ensure to
appeal to what the customer wants, and not what you want the customer
Be specific – Use content tailored to your audience (not form email)
Not everyone has the same wants and needs. An engineer in a
manufacturing plant will have different needs in a product than someone
in commercial building construction. Knowing your audience is
important. More important is product knowledge. Consider
the reader of your email reading your email and wondering how the
product benefits them. Tell the customer why they will like the
product and how it will improve their process, lifestyle, or bottom
Photos and Attachments
Fight the urge to attach a photo or product brochure. The email
could be filtered as spam and end up in a junk folder and
deleted. Viruses are also a huge concern for IT departments so
attaching a copy of the product brochure will be a red flag and your
email could be quarantined.
Lastly the list
The email is composed and checked and ready to hit the streets, now
there are just two additional factors that can hamper the success of
the email. Both are difficult to track but can have a huge impact on
the open rate of your email. These factors are list quality and
There is any number of different ways to obtain email lists. They
can be purchased from list brokers or third party companies, or they
can be created as a house list using an opt-in method of
subscription. Typically house lists tend to be high-quality and
have the best open rates mainly because readers have opted to receive
information from your company. The trick with a house list is the number of
new contacts versus number of bad emails and opt-outs. People
change jobs and more often than not do not change all of their email
subscriptions. The house list that your company holds may have
65,000 names and emails on it, but how many are current or even
active. Proper list management is truly an art. The list
needs to be kept clean and as current as possible for sales to be able
to effectively use it. There is also the matter of
attrition. People will use the unsubscribe link and opt-out of
your mailing list for any variety of reasons. List managers need
to ensure that these names are removed or they risk getting their
company IP address blacklisted by being labeled as a Spammer. List
managers also need to ensure that new contacts are being added to the
house list. This can be achieved through any number of marketing
activities, training classes, or trade shows. The minimum number
of new contacts should be at least 10% per year of the entire list
number to keep the list of high quality.
Purchased lists are unproven and typically have lower open rates
because the recipients of the emails have not opted to receive your
information. Your email will have to be creative and eye catching to
avoid the delete key. That is where a lot of the best practices
listed above come into play. Do not dismiss purchased
lists. They can be a gold mine. The trick to properly
utilizing them is the skill of the miner.
Frequency is the second factor that impacts open rates. You can
start with a fantastic list but send emails too frequently, or at the
wrong time of the week, and open rates drop dramatically.
Everyone knows someone who bangs the hell out of an email list in the
attempt to achieve sales. Sending the same message to the same
people too frequently will result in people deciding to opt-out or
ignore your mailings. The value of future messages will simply be
ignored or considered spam and will actually hurt the reputation of
Email responsibility earns respect
Email is a fantastic tool for sales and marketing professionals to sell
products, and improve brand awareness, but it is also one of the
fastest ways to lose customers. Sending sales emails should be
done with creativity and respect for the person receiving them.
Done correctly they are one of the most effective and inexpensive ways
to cultivate new customers, and sell new products and services to
existing ones. In an age of information overload there is always
an advantage to utilizing email to sell products and services with a
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