Local sales experts recommend personalizing e-mails, providing resources, writing enticing subject lines, keeping e-mails concise and easy to read, and avoiding attachments.
Does e-mail cold calling work? If done correctly it can be an effective tool for obtaining new customers. A recent study conducted by Doubleclick showed that 57 percent of e-mail recipients considered a message to be spam if it was irrelevant to their needs or their business. This was true even when the messages were from vendors they knew well.
That's why local sales experts recommend personalizing e-mails, providing resources, writing enticing subject lines, keeping e-mails concise and easy to read, and avoiding attachments.
Time Is Of The Essence
"In today's business environment, it's almost impossible to catch a decision maker on the phone. That's why you need to include e-mail in your sales efforts," says Jill Konrath, local author of "Selling to Big Companies." "Time is of the essence - you have less than 20 seconds to capture the attention of decision makers. After the first couple of sentences, they'll delete it, forward it or respond to it."
Focus On Customer Needs
So, does e-mail cold calling work better than phone cold calling?
"Not necessarily, but it can be effective if the prospect is being directed to a resource on the Internet, such as a webinar, blog or website," says Todd Anderson, a Twin Cities sales coach. "E-mail as a stand-alone cold call tactic is not very effective. It's a good idea to integrate phone calls, postcards, letters, etcetera into your selling strategy."
Konrath concurs, noting the importance of connecting the e-mail with the prospect's business needs.
"Don't talk about your company, products or services. Instead, focus on customer issues and challenges," she says.
The effectiveness of e-mail is dependent on several factors. "Senior executives of large organizations usually have two layers of protection from unsolicited e-mail. First, they have aggressive spam filters, and second, they often have assistants that preview e-mail messages," explains Anderson. "However, a customized e-mail may get through to a senior executive of a smaller organization."
According to Konrath, recipients want to know that the e-mail was written just for them. "Your goal is to engage decision makers in an online discussion," she says.
Compelling Subject Line
"Your subject line also has to be interesting, but anything that sounds like an unwanted solicitation is doomed from the start. Avoid words that sound like hype, such as 'free offer,' " says Anderson. "Also, avoid attachments. People are paranoid about opening attachments from strangers for fear of possible viruses. Make your e-mail readable from the preview window because a lot of people will scan their e-mail without opening it." Konrath has the same viewpoint. "Most people do a quick scan of their message in the preview window before opening it. If your message is longer than this, make it shorter."
Format For Readability
Following are tips from the ePolicy Institute to make e-mail messages as readable as possible:
Keep paragraphs short.
Watch font size.