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How to prospect customers by email: trends, step by step and key metrics + [bonus] template

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Learn how to set up prospecting emails and how the channel can be a great ally to generate more business opportunities for your company

Stop and think: how many irrelevant emails do you discard daily without even checking the content? Your answer is probably “many”.

The information overdose so characteristic of today seems to be multiplied by a hundred when it comes to our mailboxes, a “lawless land” where spam, automatic messages and “unmissable” super promotions multiply without ceasing. Dedicating your time, which is already scarce, to pay attention to this type of message… no way.

Now let’s go to the next question: Have you ever been so interested in an email title that you stopped everything you were doing to check the content and, surprised, came across a great business opportunity or a subject really of interest to you? Your answer is probably “yes”.

This is because Email Marketing is a really effective way of generating new business over the internet. Just to give you an idea: according to a survey by Visual Capitalist, in 2016 there were 150 million emails sent per minute. By 2019, the number had jumped to 188 million. In addition, by 2020 the number of email users is expected to reach 3 billion, says the Radicati Email Statistics Report. In other words, email is more alive than ever!

Here at we also use this channel to reach our target audience. Each SDR (Pre-Sales team collaborator) usually makes 3 to 5 connections every day from contacts initiated via cold mail.

Therefore:

  1. If your company is not yet prospecting via email, it may be missing out on valuable business opportunities;
  2. If your company is already prospecting by email but is not getting effective results, chances are the Sales team is not doing it right.

Want to understand better? Stay with us and learn how to prospect customers by email!

6 Top Trends for Prospecting Emails

The world of email prospecting has changed. In the past, generic emails with superficial value propositions were enough to catch your prospect’s attention without much difficulty.

With the growth in the number of companies using the same strategy and an increasingly dynamic and complex model of prospecting and approaching, new challenges arose.

To put the house in order and ensure that you are up to date with good market practices when it comes to cold email, before structuring an ideal template, Blue World City list the main trends of this prospecting model.

1. Hyper-customization

People no longer want to receive robotic emails, which feel impersonal and disinterested. Therefore, define specific personas for each of your email templates before writing them.

Each email must sound unique. To optimize your team’s time and gain scalability, it is ideal that you build a common skeleton for your emails, but customize key points in the text with your Lead’s own pains and goals.

2. Delivery of value

As this is the first contact between your company and a potential customer, demonstrate that you have done your “homework” by researching and understanding their business. Include in the email any tip or suggestion that adds value to the doubts and interests that your prospect has already shown at some point before when he was in contact with your company’s materials.

3. Don’t talk about your product’s benefits

By the way, don’t talk about yourself! Your prospect isn’t worried about how great you or your service/product is. Lead is interested to know if you can offer a solution to his problem. And that’s what you should be talking about: how you can help him. If possible, include a success story of how a company in the same industry achieved good results using your product/service.

4. Interaction, “animation” and tone of voice

Images, videos, emoticons, gifs and Calls-to-Action continue to be successful in prospect emails. Use a light tone but always adapt your approach to the context, persona and business model.

5. Mobile and responsive

Irreversible trend of recent years in all segments. Your templates have to be optimized to be read and responded to by mobile devices. After all, 35% of professionals in the market follow their inboxes from mobile devices.

6. Objectivity and brevity

Be objective, clear and punctual. A first contact email shouldn’t be so large that the recipient has to scroll down the sidebar to read it. Write 3-5 sentences, leave keywords in bold, don’t ask more than two questions. Point out clearly, objectively, and simply how you can solve one (and focus on just one or two) of your prospect’s problems.

How to assemble a prospect email in 5 steps

The main objective of a prospecting cold mail is to get a response from your potential customer. Its entire structure must be designed so that the Lead is responsible for only two actions: opening it and responding to it.

If the answer is yes, your Sales (or Pre-Sales) team will have the opportunity to get in touch with a prospect who has already shown interest and has taken time out of their schedule to talk. For the Commercial team, the feeling is that this Lead has almost raised a hand, since he/she already has an interest in starting the conversation.

To create an email that really pique the interest of your prospects, you can structure it in 5 parts. Check out!

1. Appearance

Here, we return to the initial question, formulated a little differently: how many emails do you delete daily from your inbox without even reading the subject? We already know the answer, many!

We are already so fluent in the language of the internet that, analyzing only the visual aspect, we can intuitively perceive which emails are potential spam or generic (non-targeted) campaigns.

Therefore, use techniques to differentiate yourself and make your emails more attractive and personal. Changing the color and font used, inserting emojis in the subject lines, and not using background colors or editable HTMLs are good practices.

2. Subject line

Subject lines are the gateway to your email. Research shows that, after the recipient (ie, the relevance of who sent the email), the item that most impacts email open rate is the subject line. Generally 35% of consumers open emails based on titles.

Here, be objective and personal: custom titles with the name of the prospect and the company he works for have 22% higher open rates. A subject line must be up to 130 characters long, as this is the total number that email providers are able to display before “cutting” the text. A subject line of up to 50 characters is ideal.

A growing trend is the insertion of special characters such as hearts, stars and arrows in subject lines. Native iPhone apps email, Outlook.com, Gmail, and more already support emojis.

Also read → How to insert emojis in the email subject

Here are some suggested approaches to creating effective and compelling subject lines:

  • Ask a question;
  • Make an invitation;
  • Offer good advice;
  • Make use of a common subject/interest between you and the prospect;
  • Use a mysterious or humorous call to generate curiosity.

Read also → How to create Email Marketing subjects that arouse curiosity + 30 templates

3. Email body

After making the decision to open your email, your potential customer will evaluate the content. It should be brief, interesting, personalized, and generate enough value for anyone reading it to feel encouraged to respond.

Ideally, the entire text should be read within two minutes. So don’t start introducing yourself – or do it briefly. Your name and company name are already in the signature. Start the email by referring to how you got here, so the Lead can understand what it’s about, and talking about possible problems/characteristics/relevant information you already have about your prospect.

For example:

“I saw that you’ve been studying about Lead Generation and I’m glad you found our content on the internet because, in fact, I can help you with the topic!”

Some other tips:

  • Leave keywords in bold;
  • Use links with interesting materials for the moment of the buying journey in which the prospect is;
  • Ask no more than two simple questions and be very specific with them;
  • Avoid overly generic value propositions – explain briefly and clearly what value you can deliver and what problem you can solve;
  • Give examples of how you’ve helped other companies with a similar profile overcome a problem you believe the Lead has now, and provide numbers to back up the claim.

4. Call to action

The main purpose of your prospect email is to schedule a visit/call to understand your prospect’s needs and offer your product/service. Therefore, clearly define what the next steps will be if your potential client is interested in the proposal.

Don’t forget: avoid putting more than one CTA per email! By leaving only one, you focus the Lead’s attention entirely on the output (consideration/reaction) you want him to have after he finishes reading your email.

In some A/B tests we did here at RD, we had better response results when we already suggested a specific day and time to get in touch, if the interlocutor is interested in talking.

5. Signature

A well-structured signature leaves the impression of trust and seriousness.

In addition to your full name, leave a link to your company’s website and your extra contacts – such as Skype, business phone, LinkedIn profile (and if you like, on other social networks). Preferably, post a photo that will help your prospect associate the email message with a specific person, giving even more confidence that it’s not spam.

How to create a prospect email stream?

Once you’ve structured the ideal prospecting email template to be used by your company, it’s time to put the work to the test and start a “campaign” through a flow of emails. That’s right, a good email prospecting strategy is made up of a certain number of attempted approaches.

If you give up on the first unanswered email, chances are you missed a great opportunity to keep in touch with a potential customer simply because they were so busy that week and didn’t really have time to get back in touch.

Therefore, each email sent must follow a logical order of context, respecting the content of the previous one and generating even more value so that the prospect feels comfortable answering it.

According to a survey by SalesFolk, an ideal email campaign should include 8 attempts. In this study, it was found that approximately ⅓ of the positive responses are obtained from the sixth email.

In RD Pre-Sales team we are doing some tests with flows of 5 emails. The last email is what we call a “ break off” and makes it clear that, if the person does not respond to this last attempt, he will no longer be prospected.

Also don’t forget that the time these emails are sent is very important, as it will directly impact whether or not it is a priority in your prospect’s inbox.

To avoid mistakes, the start and end times of the day are peaks of email usage, so they are characterized as a good way out. And you don’t need to keep emails from going on the weekend: these days have a high response rate.

Key metrics to measure the effectiveness of your emails

To understand what the ideal email model/order is, you need to measure the return on every test you do.

Pay attention to the time of A/B tests, because there is more than one variable that can influence their success, such as title, text in the email body and email order. So, to know exactly which variable influenced at a higher or lower rate, make sure you test for changes in one variable at a time .

The following rates can be measured:

→ Bounce Rate . The bounce rate should never be greater than 3%. Ideally, it should always be less than 1%. If you need to improve this rate, please validate the quality of your email list.

→ Opening fee . A reasonable open rate is between 15-30%. A good rate should be between 30-35%. If you get 50%, congratulations! If you need to improve this rate, please review and optimize your email titles.

→ Response rate . A good response rate needs to be 30% of open emails. If you need to improve this rate, please review and optimize your Calls-to-Action and consider changing the email body text.

→ Conversion rate (emails that were answered positively) . 50% of total responses is a good number to start with. Great campaigns can reach a rate close to 100%. If you need to improve this rate, review and optimize your value proposition and expose the benefits of the next steps more clearly.

Finally, we have a flow template for you!

Prospecting by email can be a great weapon to generate more business opportunities. Developing optimized templates for each situation and persona types will ensure higher response rates and better use of your Sales team’s time.

It is important to emphasize, however, that each segment has its particularities. Ideally, you should run tests with model variations to measure which ones are most effective. Build a logical flow within a pre-set number of attempts and clearly formulate how often your team will trigger each email in the flow.

Are you in the initial moment and don’t know where to start? Already prospecting via email but want to optimize your templates? Below is a flow model that we use when a Lead downloads some of our materials. You can adapt it to your company!

Are you using a model that is bringing a lot of returns? Do you think differently from what was presented or do you have more tips on how to build a template? Share your experience with us in the comments.

Look at the template:

Stage 1:

SUBJECT: {!FIRST NAME of Lead}, I met {!the/a} {!Company NAME} and want to know more about you!

Hi {!FIRST NAME of Lead}, how are you?

My name is {!SDR NAME and SURNAME}, I work at Resultados Digitais and I tried to call you today, but I couldn’t get in touch.

I saw that you recently got to know some of our Digital Marketing materials and, therefore, I took the liberty of knowing a little more about {!o/a} {!Company NAME} through the website you left us.

In view of your business model, I believe that Digital Marketing can generate more business opportunities for you! Therefore, I would like to chat with you to better understand your current context and give you some guidelines. 🙂

Can I call you {!Suggestion day/time for this call}?

If possible, please give me the best phone number or suggest another time according to your availability. If you prefer, we can also talk via Skype, my ID is in the signature of this email, just add me there!

Big hug,

{!SDR NAME and SURNAME}

Skype: {!SDR Skype}

Digital Results

 

Stage 2:

SUBJECT: {!FIRST NAME of the Lead}, make your Digital Marketing diagnosis

And then {!FIRST NAME of the Lead}, a lot of running around?

I think so! I was anxiously waiting for an answer to my last email and I couldn’t even find you over the phone…

As I realized that you are going deeper into Digital Marketing themes, I want to call you to help with this challenge with the experience we have, including bringing a success story from a client in your segment. I even took a look at the d{!o/a} {!Company NAME} website to get to know your reality better and I have some really cool tips to tell you 🙂

Let’s do this: tell me the best day and time for you and then I’ll call you!

Hug,

{!SDR NAME and SURNAME}

Skype: {!SDR Skype}

Digital Results

Stage 3:

SUBJECT: {!FIRST NAME of Lead}, don’t forget us here at RD

{!FIRST NAME of Lead}, all right?

If you haven’t had time for our conversation, no problem! I’ll help you in another way: I imagine that, like most people, you’re looking to sell more, right?

And as you already know, for this you need to find people who are looking for what you sell, to relate assertively with them, right?

So you’re on the right track by studying more about opportunities in the digital world!

I selected more of these materials with some insights that will bring you more results in sales:

⦁ How Digital Marketing Results works;

⦁ When is the right time to invest in digital marketing?

But look, I want to know if it worked, ok? Think with me: talking to us will save you time because you will understand how these strategies you are studying apply in practice and, better, in a personalized way for your business!

What is the best day and time for us to talk, then?

Hug!

{!SDR NAME and SURNAME}

Skype: {!SDR Skype}

Digital Results

Stage 4:

SUBJECT: {!Lead’s FIRST NAME}, I’m not a robot (whew!)

Hi {!FIRST NAME of Lead}, it’s me again, hehe!

I thought you didn’t answer me because you were out of time, but I thought better of it and maybe you’re thinking I’m a robot!

I’m not a robot and to prove it I want to exchange an idea with you over the phone.

Just imagine: we currently help more than 10 thousand companies to achieve better commercial results through Digital Marketing.

In other words, by exchanging stickers, I will certainly be able to enrich your sales process with real experiences from companies in your segment, avoiding materials sent by other real robots lol.

Shall we end this suspense soon? How about I call you this week?

A hug,

PS: Look at the overcoming of this industry that suffered from traditionalism and competition!

{!SDR NAME and SURNAME}

Skype: {!SDR Skype}

Digital Results

Stage 5 (final):

SUBJECT: {!Lead’s FIRST NAME}, are you lost on a desert island?

{!FIRST NAME of Lead},

It could be that you are really out of time for our chat, or maybe you are not interested in understanding how to get more commercial results from Digital Marketing… or maybe you are actually lost on a desert island without any kind of contact with humanity.

If you are really interested, just let me know that I will be available to help you. If this is not the time, here are some success stories of companies that were very successful using Digital Marketing, as a small incentive for you to go deeper into this sea of ​​opportunities!

A hug and success 🙂

{!SDR NAME and SURNAME}

Skype: {!SDR Skype}

Digital Results