Write Email that Sells

Do you make it easy for your customers to buy?

Do you make it easy for your customers to buy?

I recently sent out some inquiries to publishers asking about their advertising rates, mentioning that I was looking to place an advert to publicise my business. In other words, I told them I had cash to spend.

One response I received got me thinking about how often companies turn down a sale just because they don’t know how to write email that sells or communicates effectively.

Here’s a response I got (slightly edited to protect the innocent):

I enclose an attachment with our rates and deadlines. This clearly specifies our rates and sizes available.
Best wishes,
Jane Doe
Signature + Contact Details

There was no salutation (Dear Jon,) and no close other than a formulaic “best wishes” + signature.

It didn’t make me feel special or seen. Nor did it convey any sense that this company was prepared to go the extra centimetre let alone mile to get my business.

Write So Your Recipient Wants to Buy


As you might have guessed I didn’t buy ad space from this company. Their curt, generic email told me that they weren’t the kind of company I wanted to do business with. Their response showed me that the company doesn’t prioritize communication with potential customers so why would I think they could help me communicate my message?

Write Email that Shows Your Reader Your Strengths

Here’s an approach I recommend clients take when writing better email copy. Sample text first followed by text plus commentary.

Dear Jon,
Thanks for your inquiry. I had a look at your website after following the link in your email signature. Looks interesting. I think we could help you reach your target audience.

Over the last six issues we’ve had a string of copywriters and translators advertising with us. I can’t give you any specific figures on how successful the ads were but I can tell you that two have booked adverts for our July issue.

I suggest you advertise in September, October and November. Our research shows that this period is most successful.

I can offer you a 10% discount if you choose to go with us for three months and book the ads within the next 48 hours.

I enclose a PDF with a list of all available sizes / prices.

Please don’t hesitate to give me a call if you have any questions.

Very best wishes,
Jane Doe

And now for the annotated version

Dear Jon,
[Show you know my name. It' the courteous thing to do]

Thanks for your inquiry.

I had a look at your website after following the link in your email signature. Looks interesting. I think we could help you reach your target audience.
[Show some initiative. Show you actually do some homework to learn something about a potential customer and their needs]

Over the last six issues we’ve had a string of copywriters and translators advertising with us. I can’t give you any specific figures on how successful the ads were but I can tell you that two have booked adverts for our July issue.
[Again, show you know your audience. And be helpful.]

Our research shows that this period is most successful.

I can offer you a 10% discount if you choose to go with us for three months and book the ads within the next 48 hours.
[A little carrot will do nicely, thank you!]

I enclose a PDF with a list of all available sizes / prices.
[Specify the type of file attachment you use if you have to attach anything. It will help your recipient should they have problems opening it]

Please don’t hesitate to give me a call if you have any questions.
[Keep the conversation open in case the customer needs to check anything. Of course, they will call if they need to but saying something like this creates the right kind of tone]

Very best wishes,
Jane Doe

It Doesn’t Take Forever to Write Selling Emails

Just change your mindset. If sales is your bag, make sure you’re talking to customers in a voice that they’ll listen to. Even when writing email.

We don’t have the paralinguistic information available in email that we get when we talk face-to-face. So every word of an email you write to a client or customer shapes their perception of you. A curt generic email doesn’t show your strengths or the service you provide.

Remember: email is a conversation. If a client approaches you, engage with them. Don’t snap at them.

Image:FlickrCC

Trackbacks

  1. Jon Buscall says:

    Write Email that Sells (New blog post) http://bit.ly/jcnXY
    #tips

  2. Jon Buscall says:

    My response to a crap sales email http://bit.ly/jcnXY

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