Want Leads to Respond? Write Shorter Emails.

If you want to improve the chances of leads responding to your outreach, try writing shorter emails. The rationale for it is pretty straightforward: people are busy, get a lot of emails already, and only have so much bandwidth to focus on yours — assuming your subject line even catches their attention. So if you want to look like a real person who wants to have a real sales discussion, the best way to do that is by mimicking what a real-person email looks like: short, two to three sentences, with a call to action. Are we saying that all content emails that go over this length and don’t include CTAs are bad? Not at all — and we’ll get to that in a second. What we are saying is that this format works better if you want people to respond to you.

(For those of you who only have time for the short version, this is a good stopping point. For the longer version, please continue.)

People Don’t (Typically) Write Novel-Length Emails

I suppose it’s possible that you have someone on your team who likes to write very detailed emails to explain the finer points of a project or service. Generally speaking, though, work emails don’t go beyond a couple paragraphs. If it takes longer than that to explain, a phone call is easier. So if you’re jamming a blog post’s worth of content into the emails you send, don’t be surprised if your leads don’t write you back because their eyes have glazed over.

Instead, keep it short and sweet. Introduce yourself. Mention a product or service you want to talk about. Ask for a phone call (or a different call to action).

Are Content Emails Even Worth It?

Oh, they are definitely worth it. But what you’re getting out of those content emails can vary, based on their length, ad copy, and whether or not they include a call to action.

For instance, educational-style emails are great for offering introductions to topics that can grab the attention of your leads, then prompt them to click links to specific pages on your website to learn more. This works whether you’ve just started contacting these leads, are slowly nurturing them toward initial phone calls, or are trying to keep them engaged for potential business down the line. Again, they aren’t meant to be long (maybe five to six sentences max).

Content emails don’t always include calls to action because the point isn’t to put pressure on leads to immediately respond. Instead, it’s to give them a bit of information — either about your products and services, or about something that’s affecting their marketspace — in order to establish your credibility and earn their trust. You can then follow up with those leads that engage the most with your content and ask them for a call in a separate email — one that looks more like it came from a real person, i.e. what we described above.

Short and Sweet = Personalized

Most emails that are short and sweet encourage responses because they’re conversational — even when they come from automated campaigns. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty that have an unsubscribe feature in their footer. That’s a good thing, because it’s required by the CAN-SPAM Act. So obviously you can’t completely hide the fact that you’re sending a mass email, but you can still give the impression that you’re writing directly to your leads if your language implies that you want to talk with them, rather than at them.

It’s Not a Wound. Please Don’t Apply Pressure.

Leads are pretty good at spotting sales emails. One JD Supra contributor highlights how it doesn’t take much to look salesy to other people. While this post is related to law, the points are absolutely relevant to any industry: asking too many questions in a single message, pushing for a business discussion with decision-makers too soon, or emailing too frequently. All of these behaviors apply too much pressure, which is a big turnoff to potential leads that aren’t ready to talk with you.

That’s why we encourage the use of educational emails that may avoid calls to action. And why we recommend a specific cadence to your follow-up emails so that they engage with your leads consistently without becoming a nuisance.

So now that you know, what’s your next prospecting email going to look like? If you’d like some specific pointers on the ones you’ve been using, or how to go about building a stronger database of active leads, let’s chat. Click the button below to schedule some time.

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