Mass email is dead. So, what’s next?
Put your hands up if you’ve ever spammed your prospects with email marketing.
We’d be amazed if you didn’t, most sales and marketing professionals have at some point in their career with varying levels of success.
Unfortunately, many companies haven’t stopped mass email marketing, and it’s muddied the practice. Making success from email marketing that much more challenging.
Today, we’re going to demonstrate the evolution of email prospecting and how to change your emails from old-school generic spam filter bait to a modern, focused and value-adding strategy.
What is mass email marketing?
You may not even be aware you’re doing it!
Mass email marketing is when you send the same email to an extensive list of prospects. This could be across any sector – marketing, sales, recruitment, even supermarkets do it!
It’s a marketing strategy that gained a bad reputation over the last few years after poor execution yielded a very low conversion rate.
Mass email is not customised, targeted or personalised, often being sent to an unfiltered audience who may or may not be interested in what you have to offer.
Buyers today expect targeted and customised emails that provide relevant information and offers to their immediate needs.
The Old-old School
Mass emailing used to generate enough leads to keep sales teams happy with a consistently full pipeline.
These typically included:
A piece of content to add value.
Using articles and blogs in mass emails is an old tactic to draw away from the fact the email is clearly not personalised.
You knew the content would grab your buyer’s attention and hoped it would be enough to action the second part of your email.
The connection request.
To be closing sales, you must always be asking. Or so they say! Asking for a call or offering a consultation of some kind shows interest in your prospects’ business and piques their interest in how you could help.
So, these old school emails weren’t inherently bad. However, they don’t work anymore and here’s why:
Openings were too generic.
Terms like ‘Hi there’ or ‘Good morning/afternoon’ are an automatic switch-off for most. It automatically rings automated email alarm bells in your prospect’s brain.
Follow that with a generic question like ‘Are you looking to increase sales right now?’ or ‘What does your marketing strategy look like this quarter?’ and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Your prospects don’t know why you’re asking them, and you’re not giving them a reason to care. They are busy and are probably zoned out and moving to other emails before they even finish yours.
Nobody wants a random salesperson to insult them – especially through a mass email.
When you include comments such as ‘You really need to work on X or Y’, ‘Our service can fix X problem for you’ or ‘You’re leaving money on the table not using us’ you instantly switch your prospects to the defensive.
A better approach would be to research your prospects before sending an email. Then include something you really like about their process or service then suggest an idea or two on what can be improved or share your experience of helping a similar company.
This is a much less direct and jarring approach to offering your help. It allows you to provide immediate value, without being too pushy or offensive.
Putting all the work on them.
Using vague or non-committal calls to action puts all the work on them. ‘Let me know what works for you’ or ‘When would you be free for a call?’ leaves it up to them to not only reply but then wait for a response and still be interested further down the line.
A much more proactive way to close would be to include a calendar link or booking tool. ‘I’d love to learn more about your unique business challenges. Click here to book in a no-strings consultation: [Link to calendar]’
Personalised… but not.
Whatever the cause, a combination of the ones we detailed above or another email faux pas, prospects stopped opening and responding to emails.
The industry started to adopt ‘personalising’ emails, just not to the extent they should’ve.
Without changing much of the email content, they started greeting each prospect by name and suggesting specific call or meeting times.
‘Would you be free to discuss at 3 pm on Tuesday?’
Looking back, it’s not too hard to see why adding someone’s name and demanding their time still didn’t work. Your prospects will still see through this type of copy and pasted template.
It’s been a confusing transition. After all, not so long ago, these same prospects would have been responding to these types of emails.
All of a sudden it seems like adding their name isn’t enough, adding their company name isn’t enough.
So, what’s the answer?
Your prospects don’t want ‘personalised’, they want tailored, focused, and value-adding content so give them what they want.
Don’t be afraid to send emails one by one, quality over quantity.
Focus on them.
Detail an event in their professional life; perhaps they run a podcast you could listen to and comment on. Or they’ve just posted a great article on Linked In. Whatever it is, use it to build that initial relationship.
‘You did a brilliant job on your recent podcast on [Subject]. How do you think this will change as XYZ develops further?’
Connect the dots.
Connect their role and expertise to your own or the company you represent.
‘I had a few ideas on X related to your project with Y, which I recently read about on your company LinkedIn profile. I help SME’s like yourselves bring their business to the national market through a unique multichannel approach.’
Galvanise your CTA.
Provide a specific time and method to continue the conversation without being demanding.
‘What’s the easiest way for us to get 10 minutes together on Thursday to share how our expertise could be mutually beneficial? For me, it’s through my Calend.ly here.’
Using the tips above, you should start to see your email prospecting begin to pick up again.
So, start sending and tracking truly value-adding emails to your prospects and see what combination works best for you.
Oh, you want to make email prospecting even easier? Click here to learn more about Intelligent Talk and how our unique methodology can open the doors to new business opportunities for you.
Published: 22nd February 2021
If you’d have spoken to me five years ago and said, ‘You’ll be working in marketing before long!’ I’d have laughed in your face.
I was climbing the career ladder in corporate recruitment, managing three teams and determined to become the youngest director in the companies’ history.
I was a recruiter! That was nothing like marketing.
At first glance, recruitment and marketing seem worlds away with barely anything in common. It doesn’t take a lot of digging though, to see that today’s potential candidates employ similar tactics as buyers do when considering new products or services.
If you’re a recruiter, you should already know that your clients and candidates have been driving change for the last few years. The days are gone where you could just reach out on LinkedIn or post a job ad, sit back and wait for the applications to roll in.
Huh, recruitment is like marketing?
As a recruiter, you need to stand out and use innovative channels to find your audience. Use these to start real and meaningful conversations with them. Just like a marketer!
In our ever-changing, digital world, recruiters are now marketers, and if you don’t think so – you’re wrong.
Recruitment is all about using marketing tactics and techniques to attract, hire and retain candidates and clients.
So, without realising: using social media, content marketing, email nurturing, video, referrals, employer branding, events and data analytics – I was already grooming myself into a marketer.
A recruiter’s role is to turn an applicant into a hire. Just the same as a marketer converting leads into a sale.
The Changing Recruitment Environment
The way that people search for and apply for jobs is entirely different now from how it was. Which means you need to know where they are spending time. Plus, how and when to communicate with them to stay successful as a recruiter.
Like a marketer, you need to understand your audience and how to reach them using personal and relevant conversations.
The biggest mistakes I saw recruiters make in my eight-years of experience were people just doing what their competitors are doing. Without giving thought to the industry’s changing nature and their roles as recruiters.
Start to think like a marketer, and you’ll always be ahead of your ‘that’s the way we’ve always done things’ competitors.
You are fighting for your candidates’ attention, they have options now! Candidates today want purpose, cultural fit and inspired leadership.
Having a strong employer brand, showcasing your existing staff and why they genuinely love working for you. This make it easy for your potential hires to interact with your brand through social media and content marketing.
It is your job to have an online presence to build your digital visibility. You need to become part of the communities where your potential clients and candidates spend their time!
In essence, you need to adopt a marketing mentality.
Digital technology has changed the game forever, if you don’t, you won’t be in the recruitment game for much longer.
Why Does It Matter?
Hiring the right staff is critical for the health and continued success of a business.
Proactive, rather than reactive recruiting, should become the new norm allowing recruiters to attract new talent through employee branding, social media and sharing videos focused on company culture.
Adopting a marketing mindset allows you to create a brand presence, attract candidates through multiple channels and nurture your applicants through a talent acquisition funnel.
No More Word of Mouth Marketing
Marketing channels are increasingly digital-focused, companies are working remotely, everything happens online now.
Sharing, engaging, commenting and interacting with your brand is all done at the click of a button.
Social media is just another marketing channel to make real human connections, start conversations and expose your brand to more potential candidates and clients.
To break away from the pack, you need to act differently and think differently.
Changing Your Mindset
Today buyers complete 70% of the buying process before they even make contact with a real live person.
Great companies are built with great people, so make the most of yours by preparing them to be more like marketers and less like recruiters.
The internet changed the way candidates search for jobs almost precisely the same way it changed the buyer’s journey. In a digital-first world, your employer branding is more important than ever before.
You can apply the same tactics as today’s marketers to reach candidates (and particularly passive candidates) at the candidate journey’s various stages.
Alternatively, you can continue to do the same thing you always have and find yourself becoming redundant in the process.
You don’t have to go the whole hog as I did and move entirely into marketing, but don’t get left behind.
Published: 15th February 2021
Since the recent popularity of our Social Proof post on LinkedIn we thought we’d dig a little deeper on the subject.
In business there is little that matters more than your credibility, your reputation.
Do your customers value your services?
Do your prospects trust in your ability to deliver?
These are the types of questions answered by your reputation, before your salespeople ever interact with a prospect – your credibility and social proof speak first.
What’s the difference?
Your credibility is caused by the actions that you take directly that influence what others think of you, Social Proof is the reputation you hold through what others are saying about you. The two are closely linked and sometimes overlap but for this purpose, we’re separating the two.
Fancy strategies, marketing campaigns and business development all have their place. But if you really want your business to succeed, you need to be trusted in your industry.
That’s where credibility comes in.
Building credibility is complex; it takes a long time to build your clients trust. Even more work is needed to maintain it.
However, complex and difficult, it is absolutely vital for small businesses and huge corporations alike. Without it, your business will find it difficult to attract and retain clients.
If you want to build credibility, you need to put in the effort. Show your clients that you are trustworthy:
Never sell a solution that isn’t in your customers best interest.
You won’t always be perfect for everyone. Sometimes, you don’t have the right solution at the right price. When this happens, it’s always best to be honest with your client, instead of proposing something you know won’t deliver what the client is looking for.
Never misrepresent the features, advantages or benefits of a product or service.
Your clients don’t want a product or service that only comes close to meeting their requirements. Give them a full, unvarnished truth of your capabilities, then let them decide if your solution will work for them.
Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver.
Some salespeople find it very difficult to say no to their clients about anything. However, telling your clients a certain solution with specific features and benefits will be delivered by a certain deadline, when you know you can’t deliver, will always be a recipe for disaster.
Keep pricing consistent to all clients.
You will poison relationships with your clients if they discover the discrepancies.
If problems develop after a sale, don’t make excuses and place blame; fix the problem.
Your salespeople are the face of your company, make sure that they are delivering on the promises they made and aren’t passing the buck down the line.
Don’t withhold bad news.
If you think your clients will be upset when you deliver bad news, imagine how much worse it would be when they found out you knew bad news three weeks ago and didn’t tell them.
If you must speak of your competitors, be respectful.
Some salespeople think that if they trash-talk the competition, it will make their services look better. Usually, it just makes them look petty and immature.
Give your word and keep it.
Above all, you must do what you said you would when you said you would do it. This is one skill that will put you head and shoulders above your competition and see your credibility soar.
Now you’re doing all of the right things to build your credibility across your existing customers, here’s how you mobilise it into an essential tool to attract new clients.
Social Proof is the trust, brand, and reputation you build through your service testimonials, reviews, likes, and online mentions.
It has a hugely powerful psychological effect of your potential clients. This is because the feedback comes directly from your current and previous clients – positive messaging about your service from those who use it and not your marketing team.
Your future clients will see this social proof as their peers giving your team and services an endorsement.
A recent Trustpilot study showed:
– 66% said that the presence of social proof increased the likelihood of choosing a particular service.
– Positive star ratings and reviews are the most important trust symbol with 82% saying it would make them likely to purchase.
– Positive star ratings and reviews on your website will drive 86% of prospects to choose your service.
So, what are the different types of Social Proof?
– Star ratings
– Client testimonials
– Industry recognised certifications
– Case studies
– Public figure/Influencer endorsements
– Company social media presence
There are many forms of social proof, but some make bigger trust signals than others. Some prospects may hold more respect for your positive reviews, whilst your client testimonials will influence others. That’s why it’s important to build all different types of trust signals and socially prove yourself in this digital age.
Tailoring your signals to your target audience:
Most important of all is to understand who your audience is. Once you identify them, you can share the social proof that matters most to them.
Baby boomers are more likely to be influenced by case studies and reviews, whereas Gen Z put more faith in social media presence.
If you know your audience, you know where to focus your attention.
How social proof works:
Despite being well and truly in the digital age, surrounded by ads and social media noise; it’s now harder than ever to inform, build trust with and engage your prospective clients.
The days of clients relying on advertisements and word of mouth when choosing services are long gone. They now look for social proof.
Social proof helps in the four main areas your prospective clients look for:
Uncertainty – Looking for guidance in an unfamiliar situation, e.g. a company looking to branch out into a new market.
Similarity – Gathering and using feedback from sources they relate to, e.g. successes and feedback from a competitor or company working in a similar field.
Expertise – Valued opinions and verification from people who are more knowledgeable and experienced than themselves.
Numbers – The number of satisfied customers in your client base or transparency of the ROI they received is greatly influential for those of your prospective clients who are financially focused.
Your prospects require guidance and help to trust you; social proof offers this in the authentic formats they want.
Where to use it:
All marketing efforts across all industries work better when they use social proof. However, you must be aware that they can work differently in different formats and places.
For example, guest blogs or endorsements from influencers and thought leaders are great to raise your brand awareness. If you’ve got a prospective client trying to choose between two suppliers, case studies and testimonials should be your main focus.
For your social proof to work for you most effectively, it must be delivered the right way at the right time, to the right audience.
Like everything important, using social proof takes a lot of work and effort.
Partnering with business development experts like Intelligent Talk can help get your social proof in front of your ideal clients, building meaningful and honest relationships.
Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help take your business development efforts to the next level.
Published: 8th February 2021
A year on how is the scandal around marketing consultany Cambridge Analytica affecting marketing and business relationships now, and in the future, and what impact did it have on data usage to target prospects?