Running an online business might come with opportunity, but it also invariably comes with unique challenges.
One of the most difficult obstacles is learning how to fill your sales pipeline. You can have the best product or service in the world, but if you don’t have a way to reach your target market, you will not make any sales.
If you’re trying to figure out how to fill your sales pipeline, email prospecting is one method you should consider.
There’s a reason why so many businesses rely on email to reach new customers and grow their sales pipeline. Email is a highly effective way to get prospects without breaking the bank.
Today’s guide will show you the art of email prospecting and how you can use it to fill your sales pipeline quickly. We’ll also provide some tips and examples to help you get started.
What Is Email Prospecting?
Email prospecting is the process of using email to reach out to potential customers to generate sales. The top benefits of email prospecting include its ability to reach many people with minimal effort, low cost, and high ROI.
Email prospecting has evolved significantly in recent years, thanks to technological advances and the rise of social media. In the past, email prospecting was often seen as a spammy, intrusive marketing tactic.
However, with the rise of social media and the increased use of email for personal communication, email prospecting has become a more accepted and effective marketing strategy.
Moreover, research shows that email is still the most effective channel for B2B prospecting. 86% of B2B professionals prefer email when communicating with a vendor for the first time.
We’ll cover specific tactics in this guide, but first, let’s cover a crucial point.
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Email vs. Social: Why the Old Standby Is Still the Best
In today’s digital world, there are many options for reaching your target market. So, why bother with email prospecting?
The answer is simple: email is still the most effective way to reach your target market. Research suggests that email generates 40x more business results than Facebook and Twitter combined.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should ditch your social media presence entirely. Social media can still be a valuable part of your marketing mix. However, if you want to reach your target market and generate sales, email prospecting should be your go-to strategy.
Email has several advantages over social media, including:
- Get through the noise: Social media is becoming increasingly saturated, which makes it harder to reach your target market. In contrast, email inboxes are far less crowded, which gives you a better chance of reaching your target market.
- More personal: Email is a more personal form of communication than social media. When you send an email, it feels like you’re sending a message directly to the recipient, which makes it more likely to get their attention.
- More control over the message: With social media, you’re at the mercy of the algorithm. With email, however, you have complete control over the content of your message.
- Less expensive: Email is a relatively inexpensive way to reach targeted prospects. In contrast, social media advertising can be pretty costly.
That said, email prospecting is not without its challenges.
Let’s explore a few of the most common challenges and how you can overcome them.
Email Prospecting Best Practices for Sales Professionals
Prospecting can be true art, but it’s also a science. To be successful, you need to understand the best practices and use the right tools.
Some best practices are:
Always be personal
You know what they say, “treat others how you want to be treated.” The same goes for email prospecting. Instead of sending out mass emails, take the time to personalize each message. This will show that you care about the recipient and are more likely to get their attention.
And it’s not just us saying that.
Rather than using a generic subject line, try to include the recipient’s name or company. You can even mention something you have in common, such as where you went to school or a mutual connection.
The more personal you can make the email, the better.
Of course, this approach doesn’t always scale, but there are ways to get around that. We’ll cover that in more detail later on.
Keep it simple
Don’t try to impress your recipient with big words and long sentences. Use simple, easy-to-understand language. A classic study by Boomerang found that people are more likely to respond positively to emails written at a 3rd-grade reading level.
For example, which of the following would you be more likely to respond to?
“I hope this email finds you well. I am reaching out to see if you would be interested in learning more about our product.”
“Hi there! Are you interested in learning more about our product?”
The answer is probably the second one. It’s shorter, simpler, and to the point.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should dumb down your emails. Just make sure you’re using language that everyone can understand.
You can use the Hemmingway app to help you simplify your language. Just copy and paste your text into the app, and it will give you suggestions on how to make it simpler.
Quality over quantity
Did you know that shorter prospect lists tend to generate more responses?
WoodPecker, a cold emailing tool, found that emails with a list of 200 recipients or less had a response rate of 18%. Instead of trying to reach as many people as possible, focus on quality over quantity.
When you’re focused, it’s easier to personalize your messages and use simple language. As a result, your emails are more likely to get responses.
To make sure your emails are focused, start by segmenting your list. You can segment by industry, job title, company size, or other criteria that make sense for your business.
Once you’ve segmented your list, it’s time to start writing your emails. Remember to keep each email focused on a single topic. If you try to cover too much, you’ll confuse your recipient and decrease your chances of getting a response.
Copywriting rules apply
When writing emails, some basic copywriting rules must be kept in mind. These rules will help you write emails that get responses. For instance, adding urgency to your emails can improve your open rates by 22%.
Here are a few more copywriting tips to keep in mind:
- Use active voice: Active voice makes your emails more readable and easier to understand. Passive voice, on the other hand, can make your emails sound complicated and hard to read.
- Tap into curiosity: Humans are curious creatures. We want to know what happened, why, and how it happened. You can use this to your advantage by piquing your recipient’s curiosity in your emails.
- Showcase social proof: When you include social proof in your emails, you’re more likely to get a response. Social proof can come from customer testimonials, industry awards, or press mentions.
- Keep it short: Long emails are difficult to read and easy to ignore. The best way to avoid this is to keep your emails short and sweet.
Reading classic copywriting books like Ogilvy on Advertising can also help you write better emails. Apply the principles you learn to the email prospecting process, and you’ll be on your way to writing emails that get responses.
It’s essential to follow up with your prospects, even if you don’t get an initial response. 8 in 10 prospects will say no four times before they finally say yes. Sadly, most sales professionals give up after the second no.
The key is to be persistent without being annoying. The best way to do this is to space out your follow-ups. For instance, you could follow up once a week for the first month, every other week for the second month, and once a month for the third month.
If you’re unsure how often to follow up, start with once a week and adjust as needed. The important thing is to keep following up until you get a yes or a definite no.
It’s also important to vary your follow-up method. If you’re only sending emails, try following up with a phone call or LinkedIn message.
The goal is to keep your prospect engaged until they’re ready to buy. Following up consistently increases the chances of turning a cold opportunity into a hot one.
Automate where possible
Email prospecting can be a time-consuming process. The average salesperson spends 21% of their work day crafting sales emails.
To free up your time, automate as much of the process as possible. For instance, you can use Google Sheets to keep track of your prospects and sales automation software to send follow-up emails.
There are several great sales automation tools on the market, including Yesware, HubSpot Salesforce, and SalesMate. These tools make it easy to track your emails, automate follow-ups, and measure your success rate.
But automation doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend much money. Some free sales automation tools, including Mixmax, Streak, and Mail Merge for Gmail, are available.
You can even start by templatizing your most successful emails and setting up email rules in your email client. This may not be a full-fledged sales automation solution, but it’s an excellent way to get started.
By automating the email prospecting process as much as possible, you can free up your time to focus on other tasks, like closing deals.
Email Prospecting Is an Investment Worth Making
Email isn’t disappearing any time soon. It’s only going to become more critical in the years to come. B2B prospects are evolving, and so is your email prospecting strategy.
Use these ideas and best practices to take your email prospecting to the next level and fill your sales pipeline with qualified leads.
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