I continue to hear from sales people who still try to use email as a prospecting tool. I contend email is no longer a communication tool -- especially when unsolicited -- it's primarily a delivery vehicle.
Those who use marketing automation to track email open rates know it's probably on the low end of 1% to 5%. Even if it's "opened," unsolicited emails might not be read, let alone have the message internalized. And this is what I mean by communication.
In the email solicitations I receive I continually see "selling" in email messages. The objective of a prospecting communication must be to gain attention and to get a referral, meeting or conversation. Period. To accomplish this, the message must be compelling and relevant with a focus on the customer's problems or opportunities.
I know most people read emails on Blackberry and other portable devices. Therefore I have to write differently with a compelling title and a very short -- three to four line -- message.
I am finding the inclusion of a tailored multimedia vignette to be an important addition to this tactic. The vignette is a short, relevant, introductory streaming multimedia program that makes it easy for the person to hear our story, quickly and conveniently. Done well, it adds an emotional quality that adds to a motivation for the viewer to take action. If a referral is appropriate, the vignette makes it easier for the person to forward the email by eliminating the need to add an explanation.
These are two of several situations we've identified when sales people need a "second voice". The first is when they can't speak directly to a person. The second is when a message must be delivered through a third party -- a referral or customer sponsor for example.
Now, this is a critical point. Given the volume of emails most people receive, especially those at higher levels of an organization, you MUST call and leave a voice mail with a compelling, customer relevant message, requesting the prospect find the email. Unsolicited emails, even those with compelling titles (who's to say), requires the attention prompted by the phone message.
The message should also explain the presence of the vignette. This piques curiosity, removes any anxiety regarding what is behind the link, and entices viewing because it's a different and more interesting way to receive information. This technique will make a big impact on your connect rates.
Finally, remember the importance of timing. It might require five to eight attempts with various combinations -- voice mail, email, regular mail and ideally a referral -- to make the connection. Persistence is key.
In our business, we seldom send unsolicited emails unless we have the opportunity to make the call and leave the message. Email is the delivery system for our vignette and compelling message, not the primary prospecting tool. All three factors -- message, vignette, voice mail -- are required for maximum likelihood for success. Otherwise we know ours will be just another unread and un-acted-upon email.