And How To Get A 10x Improvement In Email Conversion Rates
I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about; those emails that stream in all day long.
Emails from people I don’t know at companies I don’t know with products and services I don’t know. Somehow they found my email address.
Without understanding one aspect of me or my business, they ask for “just five minutes of my time.” They ask for me to schedule time with them on their schedule and they continue to email me, saying “I must be busy” because I didn’t get back to them after one, two or three of their previous emails.
No, I’m not that busy. I’m purposefully ignoring and deleting your emails. I’m taking a stand by not replying in the hopes that your email open and conversion rate are so pathetically low that you abandon this awful marketing tactic.
Unfortunately, I know that some people are replying, and the remarkably low cost of sending emails makes it a misdirected but viable tactic today. Similar to cold calls, even a blind squirrel finds a nut eventually with these emails, and I know that cold calling and cold email spam also eventually produce some results.
The question is: What can you do to produce better results from your email marketing and lead nurturing efforts?
Here’s how to dramatically improve your ability to use email to drive better results for your revenue generation efforts.
Your Message Doesn’t Suck; It’s Non-Existent
Here is real copy from an email I received a few days ago:
“Hi Mike, Since I wasn’t able to get in touch via phone, I thought this might be a more appropriate route. My name is Sean and I’m with [company name].”
I redacted the name of the company to protect them from embarrassment. He goes on to tell me about his company, and then he asked:
“Do you have five minutes for a call today or tomorrow to see if there’s a fit?”
Meanwhile, I never received a phone call; it’s just a stock email template. One day later, I received this email:
I wanted to check in to see if you had a chance to check my previous email. When you get a second, would love to hear your thoughts.
Come on guys, this isn’t a message worth anyone’s attention. It’s certainly not going to make me feel like there’s any reason to spend time trying to understand what you do and then get to know you.
If you want my attention (or anyone’s attention), start with a statement that establishes you understand me and my business. Show me you know my challenges, the pains I have and the issues critical to my business. One way we do this is by providing industry data that shows your current performance might be lagging others or that you might have issues you’re unware of. This creates uncertainty and gets your prospect’s attention.
If you don’t start with a message like this, you’re not going to see any kind of performance improvements. Next, tell me how you can help me. Don’t beat around the bush, because you only have 20 to 30 seconds to get my attention. What will my business gain by working with you? How long will it take? What will I have to do to see that gain? Get me that information, and you have a chance to move to the next step.
You Haven’t Disrupted My Status Quo
I’m not in the awareness stage yet. Remember, you emailed me, I didn’t email you.
I’m not looking for the solutions you have. I might be unaware that I even have an issue. If you don’t give me a reason to even consider your message, don’t expect me to pay any attention to your emails.
Start with that. What should I be aware of in my industry? What am I missing? You have to give me a reason to engage with you, and by disrupting my status quo, you’re on the right track.
Here’s an example for a manufacturer: Did you know you might be dramatically overpaying for raw materials used in your production processes? Recent changes in economic conditions have presented savings opportunities for manufacturers.
Really? I might be interested in knowing if I can save some money.
Here’s an example for a software provider: Gartner identified procurement as the next major business function to be impacted by using advanced software to streamline purchasing and ensure compliance with negotiated contracts across the enterprise. Some companies are seeing millions in savings after just a few months.
Hmmm? I might look like a hero if I introduced something as innovative as procurement software at my company.
In both cases, we’re disrupting the person’s current situation with the benefits of a new and potentially more valuable state. Remember, people do not want to change what they’re doing. They are going to do everything in their power to avoid change and to ignore your attempts to change them. Your message has to overcome the human condition.
If you look carefully at the messages above, a clear hero is in the story. It’s not you, your company or the service or products you offer. The hero is your prospect. They have to see themselves as the hero in your story. They have to see themselves being promoted, making more money or being successful in their roles. Creating messages like this take time, strategic thinking and creativity. Make sure you spend the time to come up with the right messages for your email campaigns. It’s critical if you want to see better results.
You Haven’t Offered Me Anything
A meeting? A call? That’s a little presumptive, right? I don’t know you, your company or your services, and you want a meeting. Again, nope. This approach only appeals to the small percentage of people who might want to talk to you. It ignores the huge percentage of people who are not ready to talk to you. It’s basic funnel math: 1% vs. the other 99%. I prefer to go after the bigger numbers.
Instead of jumping right to the call or meeting, offer me something that matches my buyer journey. I’m early in the journey and you just disrupted me (assuming you did that well). Now offer me more educational information for people in the awareness stage. Let me run my own buyer journey. Position your company as the trusted resource that’s going to guide me along the way. It’s a different approach, but it’s the only approach that matches the way people buy today.
Your Campaign Is A Non-Campaign
A series of three emails reminding me that you sent me emails and asking for an appointment is not a campaign.
When you look at best practices around email marketing and lead nurturing campaigns, you see a series of touches that are designed to match the length of your sales cycle and include educational content all along the way.
This typically means providing educational content early in the campaign, consideration content during the middle of your campaign and then decision-making content further along, after your prospect has shown some interest and engaged with your content. Since you have unmatched access to data at each step of the way, you can progressively profile your prospects and strategically deliver content that perfectly matches their propensity to buy from you.
Strategically map out messages, offers and the timing associated with your campaign. Stop bothering your targeted prospects and start guiding them through their own buyer journey. This is exactly how you see dramatic lift in results. But more importantly, you’ll see more qualified leads, more sales opportunities and more new customers closing faster.
Constantly emailing your prospects isn’t going to work in the future. CASL and GDPR regulations are going to make this practice illegal going forward in Canada and in Europe. The U.S. is probably just one misdirected set of regulations away from being next. The sooner you get your email and lead nurturing campaigns properly designed (and the more value-oriented you make them), the sooner you’ll be compliant and start to see dramatically better results.
When it comes to search engine optimization, we talk about writing for the prospect and not writing for Google. This means if you help the client, the search engine rankings will follow. Stop trying to game the Google algorithm and you’ll see the results you need. The same holds true here. Once you start trying to create content for your prospects and stop trying to muscle your way in, you’ll be rewarded with much better results and an even lower cost of acquisition number.
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