What Makes Sales Email Templates Work

Most sellers are using email templates and call scripts because more outreach drives more conversations. However, most emails fail to provoke replies. But those that do are personalized. Yes, a personalized template.

EmailMost sellers are using email templates and call scripts because more outreach drives more conversations. We need to scale. However, most emails fail to provoke replies. But those that do are personalized. Yes, a personalized template.

Here’s the rub: Sales email templates should help you customize — not send — faster.

Just like a good call script, effective email templates are easily personalized. Flexible. Some are even timeless. Because they use mental triggers.

If your call and email templates are completely scripted they fail. They’re rigid and sound canned. They’re not relevant, nor personal.

Want to start more discussions with buyers — and scale your time? Personalize your templates. Open them up. Allow for insertion of information that:

  • Proves you’ve researched the prospect
  • Sparks curiosity
  • Provokes a reply inviting a discussion

The Truth About Templates

Effective message templates help you customize faster. They help you persuade customers to ask for more contact.

Quick example: I get requests like this all the time:

“Jeff, I am looking for subject lines that have great open rate and content in email to drive the sale. Please let me know if you have any templates that you can share.”

Here’s my point: This person wants to push messages out. He/she wants subject lines and messages that work — at scale. We all do. But these days, sellers are pushing and pushing and PUSHING emails with marketing copy in them.

Non-personalized, catch-all emails that don’t push. They don’t work. They don’t pull.

Pulling (attracting, provoking curiosity) is the key to success. But without personalizing your approach it’s impossible to provoke curiosity in buyers. Because you never earn the right to speak.

People (in general) value more what they ask for — less what you freely offer (what you push).

Effective Templates Personalize Faster

Yes, we need to start conversations — at scale. But standard message templates take all the work out of your effort and readers feel this. That is the problem! Your goal isn’t to send messages faster. It’s to personalize faster.

Think about the last templated email you received. How quickly did you delete it? Because it was easy to spot. It felt … mass. It read like a mass message. The sender sent it along with hundreds of others.

They pushed the words at you. But what if the seller had attracted you to the idea of speaking with them? What if you were enticed? What if their message generated a thought in your head like, “wait … do I understand you correctly? How would that actually work?” or “sure, what’s your idea?”

What if you read their cold email and were piqued? What if they pulled you?

Point blank: Nothing screams “impersonal” louder than an email message you’ve cut, pasted and sent. No research, no personalization. Creating no desire to ask for more contact — based on a provocation.

Yet, there is a way to provoke conversations with buyers — using templates at scale.

Personalize With Observations

One simple and quick way to create personalized templates is to “front load” your approach with an observation about your target. This lets you leverage a templated approach however, removes the impersonal, mass-email feel to the reader.

Here is a quick example to help you take action on the concept. Steve sells Web site hosting services for mid-sized retailers with e-commerce sites.

Subject: Problem with response time

Steve,

Noticing your Web site has severe problems with response times. For example, your e-commerce pages take so long to load customers may abandon and buy at a competitor. Many images are also broken. Like on your main sweatshirts page.

You aware of this? I have an idea. But only if you’re open to it.

Are you open to a different approach to fixing these problems? The costs involved may surprise you.

Let me know what you decide, Steve.

Thanks,
Jeff

Notice how the first paragraph is researched, personalized. Very specific information is offered. This proves the seller did his homework on Steve’s situation.

Feel like a template? Not at all, right? All based on an observation inserted into an otherwise templated (scale-able) message.

Granted, you may not be able to spot something about your prospects online. But there are various ways to glean such observations.

Today, research is key to provoking response using email. Nothing works better.

What Works is Guarded

Message templates you’ll find while Googling don’t spark response. Because everyone is using them. Customers have become saturated with the same approaches over and over. What does work is often closely guarded.

However, what works is within your reach: A customized approach that proves you’ve done homework on the prospect … helps you look less like a pusher.

Personalization of templates stops deletion by making your approach instantly authentic.

Non-customized templates earn the delete key. Customized get acted on more often — at scale. That’s the best part.

Set your goals accordingly. Develop:

  • A set of  two to four subject lines that perform well (earn opens)
  • two to three reliable, customize-able cold messages to start conversations
  • Three to five template drafts that can be applied depending on the response type

Remember: Sales email templates help you customize (not send) faster. Just like a good call script, strong email templates are personalized, flexible. Good luck!

Introducing ‘The Integrated Email’ Blog by Debra Ellis

Why is email marketing so effective? Is it the one-to-one communication, ability to connect with customers and prospects on the go, or the provision of instant gratification with one-click shopping? The answer depends on the company and the customer relationship, but there is one universal truth: The combination of interactive communication with self-service solutions makes email the most versatile tool in a marketing workshop.

Why is email marketing so effective? Is it the one-to-one communication, ability to connect with customers and prospects on the go, or the provision of instant gratification with one-click shopping? The answer depends on the company and the customer relationship, but there is one universal truth: The combination of interactive communication with self-service solutions makes email the most versatile tool in a marketing workshop.

My experience with email marketing began shortly after Hotmail launched the first Web-based email service in 1996. A client had compiled approximately 11,000 customer email addresses and wondered what we could do with them. Our first test was a 25 percent discount on any order placed that day. A text-only message was sent using the mail merge functionality in Excel and Outlook. It took over two hours to send all the emails.

Those two hours were quite exciting. We had two computers in close proximity so we could watch the progress of the outgoing emails and monitor sales on the website. Within minutes of starting the email transmissions, orders started flowing in. By the end of the day, more than 1900 orders were received. A handful of people asked to be excluded from future mailings. Over 200 people responded with personal notes. Some were grateful for the discount. Others apologized for not placing an order and asked to receive more emails.

Things are much different today. The novelty of receiving a personalized message from a company is long gone. Spam filters make getting emails delivered a near impossible mission. And the competition for recipients’ attention is at an all-time high. Even so, email marketing remains one of most effective marketing and service vehicles available.

The emails that deliver the best return on investment are the ones that are integrated with the other marketing channels to provide information and service to the recipients. They create a connection between company and customer that motivates people to respond. A successful email marketing strategy builds loyalty while increasing sales.

Many email campaigns today are little more than a systematic generation of one promotional email after another. Discount emails are relatively easy to create and deliver sales with each send, making them a quick way to inject some life into lagging sales. The simplicity of sale marketing combined with solid response rates creates an environment where marketers are reluctant to move beyond the easy, low-hanging fruit.

In addition to generating sales, discount marketing also trains people to always look for the best price before buying the company’s products and services. It is not a sustainable strategy because there will always be another company that can offer lower prices and lure customers away. A better plan is to develop an integrated email marketing strategy that educates and encourages people to develop a relationship with the company. This requires more effort, but it delivers loyalty and long-term results.

Every email that a customer or prospect receives is an opportunity for the company to establish itself as the best service provider and solidify the relationship. Best practices include:

  • Using a valid return email address so the recipient can respond with one click.
  • Sending branded emails that identify your company at first glance.
  • Mixing educational emails that provide “how to” information for products and services with new product launches and promotional messages.
  • Transactional emails that communicate shipping information and challenges so customers aren’t left wondering, “Where is my order?”
  • Highly targeted and personalized emails designed to engage customers and prospects at every point in their lifespan.

Finding the right combination of educational, event and promotional emails requires testing and measuring results for incremental improvements. The resources invested improve relationships, increase sales and create a sustainable marketing strategy.

Note: Over the next few months, we’ll feature winning and losing email marketing strategies and campaigns on this blog. If you would like to share your company’s killer emails, send them to Debra at dellis@wilsonellisconsulting.com.