More and more organizations embrace the inbound marketing methodology which, if done effectively, means more and higher quality leads for sales organizations to follow-up on.
The art of engaging a lead has however become an increasingly tougher craft to master. An integral part of communicating with a lead is the sales email. Over the years, prospects have developed and refined their ‘spam’-radar significantly. According to HubSpot’s research, 48% of all emails are deleted by prospects every day without even opening. A big reason is that most subject lines are badly crafted. If the prospects end up opening an email, response rates stay low. Texts are too long, too pitchy, too technical and don’t pose enough questions. But despite all those bad emails, there are still a select amount of sales emails that get opened, read and responded to. I want to teach you how to create such an email.
This article will run you through best practices for creating the most effective sales emails to use in 2018. These best practices are based on the data and emails of the HubSpot sales team:
Email subject lines
The email subject line is basically a first impression the lead gets from you. If the line is too long or too short, it won’t get opened. We found that email subject lines of 3-5 words have the best open rates by far. Furthermore, a good subject line is creative, to the point and sparks curiosity in a way that a lead just can’t help but open. Here are some of our favorite subject lines:
- “Reason for contact”. This is my go-to subject line. Especially effective for first time reach-outs, everybody wants to know the reason.
- “Question about (trigger event)”. This can be a question about a recent blog post, a product or service feature, something you read on LinkedIn about your prospect, etc.
- (mutual connection) suggested me to reach out. Social pressure is at work here, where the lead doesn’t want to be seen as impolite not opening and responding to a ‘friend of a friend’.
Email opening lines
If you still open your email with “Hi my name is Rob and I manage the accounts in your region”, you can absolutely forget it. This rings the ‘salesy’ bell immediately and will defer your lead from continuing to read your email. Try something else for a change, here are a couple ideas that work well for us:
- “I noticed you recently (trigger event).” The trigger event can be a promotion, a blog post, a new company product, etc. This is great because it immediately makes the email personal and shows you’ve done your research, that’s a great start.
- “You were on our site today looking at (X), usually an indication your looking to solve/work on (Y).” This one is great because it basically sets the premise for the email you are sending. Your lead downloaded something, you are trying to see why they did and how you could help.
- “I have a couple suggestions for you about (pain/opportunity)”. This works because you intend to give value to your reader.
According to our research, email bodies should be between 50 and 125 words. Shorter or longer have much lower response rates. The key element of a good body is to provide value to the reader. Don’t pitch your product or solution. Instead, ask questions and make statements that you want to get your reader’s take on. Some great examples of good bodies are:
- “Many marketeers in your industry tell me they are struggling to get GDPR-compliant, how are you guys dealing with this?”
- “You and your team members have been very active on our site in the past few days looking into content around lead generation. Usually that’s an indication your working on improving the quantity and/or quality of leads. I had a look on your site and definitely have some tips and suggestions how you can improve this. Is this currently a focus for you?”
Email closing line
A good email closing always includes a call to action that stimulates a response. Here are a few closing lines we use that trigger an email back:
- “Does it make sense for us to talk?” If not, who is the best person for me to talk to?
- “When do you have 10 minutes to chat?”
- "Let me know what makes sense as a next step, if any?”
Putting it all together
Following the best practices stated above, here are two full email templates to use that work very well within our team.
Subject line: Reason for contact
Hi (first name),
“You were on our site today looking at (X), usually an indication your looking to solve/work on (Y). I had a look on your site and definitely have some tips and suggestions how you can improve this. Is this currently a focus for you?
If so, when would you a couple minutes to chat and see how I can help?
Subject line: Question about your expansion
Hi (first name),
I read on LinkedIn that your company is expanding into Germany, exciting move!
A lot of companies in your industry tell me they struggle to get on the radar of their prospective customers in new markets and look for ways to be found online quickly. Is this a focus-point for you as well?
3 months ago I helped company X with entering the German market and now they are on Google’s first page for a 25 high-traffic search terms. I’d like to share some ideas how you can do this too, would that be useful?
When would you have a couple minutes?
Yaniv is a Partner Program Manager at HubSpot and co-founder of sales & crypto blog HubSterdam.