Do you use Outlook to create and send out marketing or sales emails? Like you, your customers probably have too many emails in their Inbox. You only have a few seconds to grab their attention so…
Here are some simple but essential tips on formatting your emails so that they actually get opened and read.
Put your company name in the From line so that they know where the email is coming from
Unless the recipients know your name specifically, make sure that your company name is in the From line. (You can control the From by changing account details in Outlook)
Have a Subject line that grabs their attention… within 50 characters
Your target audience is going to decide whether to read your email now (or later or never) based on what is in the Subject line. Why 50 characters… long Subject lines may not get fully displayed if the user has too much on his screen.
Put text rather than images at the top of your email
If your user is previewing your email, only the first lines get displayed. Put something there which causes him to want to know more. You can highlight your text using colors but don’t use images at the very top.
Put the most important content at the top of the email
Most people now have email clients that lets them view the top part of the email as soon as they click on it (like the Reading Pane in Outlook). Make sure that you have the MOST IMPORTANT information displayed there… or at least have the type of information there that will make him scroll down to read more.
Make sure that your email does not look like bulk email
Use a tool like Email Merge for Outlook to send personalized individually addressed emails to your customers. Studies have shown that your response rates can increase by up to 3 times.
Use these simple tips and you should find your sales and marketing emails get better responses
If you are running a business, particularly a professional business, these seemingly small errors can make you look unprofessional and waste precious billable time.
Please raise your hand if you ever:
- Forgot to attach a document to an email message.
- Clicked Reply when you meant Reply-All or vice-versa.
- Forgot to write a subject.
- Emailed someone using the wrong email address (for those of us with more than one email address).
- Fired off an angry message that you later regretted.
SendGuard 4Outlook, protects you from all these mistakes by automatically warning you if it detects the possibility of any of the above mistakes (and more).
SendGuard even gives you a way of changing your mind about an email after you have clicked Send.
SendGuard works inside Outlook and takes no time to learn – you continue to write and send your emails the same way you always have. SendGuard will automatically warn you and let you take corrective action if it detects a mistake.
You can download a fully functional 30 Day Trial of SendGuard from:
SendGuard 4Outlook works with Outlook 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2010(32-bit).
Testimonials from real customers are powerful. Here’s a small article about why they are useful and how you can use Outlook to get feedback from your own customers to help with your sales.
Testimonials build trust, credibility and a sense of security for the prospective customers when they visit your site.
When a customer who has not had the pleasure of working with you before comes to your website… all marketing messages directly from you will be viewed with some suspicion… after all you have a vested interest in selling your product.
But… testimonials from existing happy customers are different… it’s no longer just you saying how good you are… it’s other people (who have nothing to gain from the sale) saying how your product or service has helped them.
I personally find that it makes me feel safer to buy from business with happy customers.
You need a system to ask for testimonials
Here’s what I recommend…
- Ask for testimonials as soon after the sales as is reasonable but…give the customer sufficient time to actually use the product first.
- Do not assume that all customers are happy. Some customers may actually be having problems so ask for their feedback as well. This may help you improve your offerings and you can always ask again once you have helped solve their problems.
- If you’re requesting for testimonials using email, make sure that you PERSONALIZE the email with at least the customer’s name and the name of the product purchased. We all know that people use automation tools but it still is much nicer to receive an email which speaks specifically to us.
Using Outlook to Request for Testimonials
Depending on the number of sales you make, you may be able to write and send each email individually. Personally I think that testimonial requests can be done once a week.
- Maintain an Excel file with a list of sales. At the minimum the spreadsheet should contain the customer’s name, email address and product purchased
- Create a prewritten email that you will use to request for testimonials. The advantage of a prewritten template is that the quality of your request is not dependant on how you feel or how much time you have.
- Use a product like EmailMerge for Outlook to create and send out your testimonial requests. Email Merge PRO will work directly with your Excel spreadsheet and send personalized individually addressed emails to each person.
Finally… here’s the template that we use to request for testimonials
I hope you find this post useful to getting great feedback from your customers. If you have a lot of customers, download a trial version of Email Merge PRO for Outlook from our website today.
Everyone is talking about Social Media these days… so is email marketing a thing of the dead. NO!
Email marketing on average generated $43.62 for every dollar spent on it during 2009 (Source: Direct Marketing Association). This probably makes it one of the most cost effective forms of marketing you can use.
But you need to use it properly… inform and educate and (sometimes) market/sell to your list… don’t spam them.
A few simple guidelines…
- Make sure that you are only emailing people who have given you their email addresses.
- If possible, segment your list into logical groups
- Send out emails to each group based on its interests.
- Personalize each users email with their own email addresses and possibly names. (Don’t stuff a lot of names in the CC and BCC fields)
There are online email marketing services that you can use but these generally incur monthly fees and are more applicable if you have larger lists.
If you have a small list and you would like to do your email marketing directly from Outlook, then you may want to look at Email Merge PRO for Outlook.
EmailMerge Pro lets you send out your emails directly from Outlook, it can personalise each email and it can even maintain different marketing lists for you (making it easy to segment your list).
But remember… whatever tool you use… only email people who have given you permission to email them!
This is the first in a series of articles that we plan to do on using Outlook as tool to effectively market your business.
This article applies to ALL users of Outlook who are sending out emails for sales and marketing purposes. If you’re using our EmailMerge for Outlook addin to send out personalized email promotions from Outlook then this post is especially important to you.
Do you send out newsletters, sales emails or any other type of bulk-email from Outlook?
Then you need to be aware of legal requirements such as the CAN-SPAM Act. One of the aims of this Act is to provide standards for sending out promotional emails while limiting the amount of spam.
Over the next few weeks I plan to highlight some of the parts of this Act as they may relate to your business (This is NOT legal advice. We are NOT legal experts. This is simply our view on how to write better more compliant emails… you will need to see your lawyer if you want legal advice on the Act)
This week, we’ll start with something very simple.
One of the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act is that the Sender must clearly identify himself/herself by providing relevant contact information
What does this mean to you… If you are sending out promotional emails then you probably need to put the following contact information at the bottom of all emails at the very minimum:
- Your (the Sender’s) Name
- Your Email Address
- Your Postal Address
It is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT that all promotional emails include the above at a very minimum.
If you’re not already doing this, make sure you include your contact information on the next promotional email you send out.
Are your Sales and Marketing Emails from Outlook reaching their audience… or are they lost in Junk Mail folders?
In order to get your marketing emails read by your customers, you should NEVER send out bulk emails by stuffing many email addresses in the To, CC or even BCC fields.
Instead use Outlook to do an email merge i.e. create and send out a separate, personalized, individually addressed copy of the same email to each person.
Why is this important?
Emails sent the wrong way are MUCH more likely to be blocked by the many levels of junk email filters that we all have (even if we don’t always know they’re there).
Junk/SPAM Mail Filters have different levels of sophistication but they all follow a few basic rules including:
- An email with a lot of recipients is more likely to be spam than an email addressed to only my valid email address and…
- An email that is NOT addressed to me directly is more likely to be SPAM than one that is addressed to my email address.
Many Outlook users don’t realize the multiple levels of junk email filters stopping both junk and often real emails from getting to our Inboxes.
Level 1 – Internet Service Provider: Most ISPs now have Junk Mail Filters setup on their servers. These filters do their work even before the email gets to our computers i.e. they remove the email to a Junk Folder that can only be accessed via the Internet.
Level 2 – Anti Spam Software: Many users have additional anti-spam software on their computers that automatically remove and quarantine suspected spam emails.
Level 3 – Outlook’s built-in Junk Email Filter: Finally Outlook has its own Junk Mail filter which moves suspected junk emails to Outlook’s own Junk E-mail folder.
If you’re still sending out your Sales and Marketing Emails from Outlook by putting them all in the To, CC and BCC fields of one email then guess what… your email is most likely lost in a Junk Email Folder somewhere… it is NOT reaching the Reader.
Very few users bother checking the various Junk Mail folders… if your email is getting blocked then chances are it’s going to stay blocked.
Email Merge! You can use Outlook to create and send out personalized copies of the same email to many people.
Outlook has some basic mail merge functionality built into it (it uses Word to do the merge) but this does have some limitations including being harder to use, not being able to customize the Subject line, and not being able to send out your emails in smaller lots (which again impacts deliverability).
The easiest way to do this is using our own EmailMerge for Outlook addin. Our addin installs inside Microsoft Outlook and then provides a step-by-step Wizard that will guide you through your first email merge.
You can learn more about Email Merge for Outlook and download a trial version using this link.