Are your emails costing you business?

The great thing about email is it’s fast, and it’s free, and almost everyone has an email address.

We’re used to our inboxes buzzing with emails from prospects, clients, colleagues, suppliers, friends and marketers – we don’t think twice about it.

But when it comes to sending business emails, are we too hasty at hitting send?

Sure, your favourite client will probably forgive the odd typo, but a badly worded email could easily be misconstrued.

Don’t think it matters?

Check out the two love letters below (original source unknown).

Both letters have exactly the same words – only the punctuation differs. And yet, the two letters have completely different meanings.

Still think re-reading your emails before you hit send isn’t worthwhile?

Apart from accidentally offending someone by misplacing a few commas, there’s another reason you should give your emails a little more thought.

Your marketing emails could be losing you business. They could be putting potential customers off before you’ve even had chance to speak to them.

Cold emails

Many people argue that cold outreach is dead – whether it’s a cold call, a direct message on social media or an emailed sales pitch.

I disagree.

There are loads of businesses out there who still get sales from cold outreach, and I’m a huge advocate of direct mail for certain businesses.

If you know exactly who your ideal clients are and you have something they need, why wouldn’t you reach out to them directly?

The problem with cold emails isn’t that they don’t work; it’s that most of them are terrible.

If you’re going to go down the email route, at least put some time and effort into getting the right message in front of the right people.

The spray and pray approach is just crap.

I’ve used the analogy before, and I’ll use it again: sending out generic sales pitches to anyone with an email address is akin to asking every person in a nightclub if they fancy some sexy time with you.

You might get lucky, but chances are, you won’t. And you might even end up getting a few slaps.

Playing the numbers game is not a great strategy when it comes to email marketing.

Sure, a generic email allows you to quickly hit up a large volume of people, but your conversions will likely be low.

And think of the damage you could be doing to your reputation.

Most people can spot a generic and poorly researched email a mile off. It’s lazy marketing.

And if you’re lazy with your marketing, what else are you lazy with? The quality of your products and services maybe? It might be an incorrect assumption, but that doesn’t mean people won’t make it.

If you pitch to me and it’s clear you haven’t even bothered to do some basic research into me or my company, you’re unlikely to hold my attention. Lines like “we’ve worked with businesses like yours” when you clearly have no idea what my business does just come across as insincere and dishonest.

And I could be your ideal client. Or I could have lots of clients that are your ideal clients. But you’ve put me off with your insincerity and laziness.

Playing the numbers game with your marketing doesn’t make me feel like you value my business.

If you want better results from your cold emails (and don’t want to come across as lazy), put a little effort into researching your recipients and personalising your content.

At the very least, do a quick check of their website or LinkedIn profile to check if they even are your target market.

And do not open your email by talking about yourself. Show your reader you understand them. Make your email about them and their needs, their challenges and the outcomes you can deliver for them.

Nurture sequences

So you’ve created a lead magnet to attract your ideal clients and get them on your email list. Nothing wrong with that – I do it myself.

When we sign-up for stuff with our email address, most of us know we’re going to get sent some marketing emails. It’s not a new tactic. We’re used to it.

But that doesn’t mean we want to receive five emails within fifteen minutes of subscribing.

A sure-fire way to get readers to hit that unsubscribe button is to bombard them with a load of sales pitches before they’ve even had chance to check out the thing they originally signed up for.

You don’t need to go straight in for the kill.

You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date, so don’t rush things with your new prospects.

Woo them.

It’s called a nurture sequence because that’s what you’re trying to do – nurture your readers. Establish your credibility, gain their trust and show them how you can improve their life or business.

How many emails you need to send will depend on several factors, not least the level of commitment you’re asking for. Booking a free discovery call or buying a £15 product is a much lower risk than signing up for a £10k package.

The great thing about emails is you can test different sequences and measure the results to see which works best.

Proposal emails

So you’ve had a sales call or meeting, and the prospect is interested in what you’re offering. All you need to do is send over your proposal and close the deal.

Easy.

You open your template, fill in the relevant details and fire it over with your standard email message of:

“Great to meet you today. As discussed, I have attached your proposal.

Any questions, give me a shout.

I’ll give you a call next week to follow up.”

Perfect.

Until they ghost you.

There’s nothing offensive in your email, so why on earth are they ignoring your follow-up messages and calls?

Well, maybe it’s not about what’s in your email, but more about what’s not in your email.

Imagine this.

At the end of our meeting, I mention I’m going on holiday to Spain next week. We make small talk about it for five minutes, and then we wrap things up. An hour later, I get the above message. And the following week, you start sending your “I haven’t heard back from you” emails. While I’m on holiday.

How difficult would it have been for you to tweak the email to read:

“I know you’re on holiday next week, so I’ll check in with you the week after when you’re back.

Any questions in the meantime, give me a shout.

Have a lovely time in Spain”

Well, isn’t that much nicer? And you’ve remembered specific details about me, which tells me you were listening to me. I feel far more valued.

It might sound like such a minor detail, but those little personal touches can make all the difference.

“Hope it all went well at the dentist/vet/parent’s evening”

“Have fun at your son’s play tonight”

“Enjoy London this weekend”

A personal sign-off is going to leave the recipient of your email feeling like you are genuinely interested in them.

And it’s not just the sign-off – if they asked a question or raised a concern, readdress this in your proposal email.

Here’s a top tip for you: Write blog posts or articles that answer frequently asked questions or provide helpful information and then create PDF versions. You can then send the relevant PDFs along with your proposals when a client has asked a specific question or requested further information about something. If you don’t like writing blog posts, make some short videos and link to them in your email.

The more you can show you have listened to your potential client, the more confident they will feel about working with you.

Need some help?

I won’t write generic cold email or proposal email templates for you as I honestly believe the more personal you make these, the more success you’ll have.

What I can do is teach you how to write your emails, so they focus on the reader, not you, and give you some tips for personalising them.

I can also help you plan and create nurture sequences to take your readers from mildly interested to wildly interested.

Book one of my 90-minute consultations and let’s get your emails in order.

Are you a frustrated freelancer?

Are you caught in a feast and famine cycle? One minute you’re too busy to do anything other than client work and the next you’re in a panic, desperately trying to find your next client? It’s hard to get into a good routine when you haven’t got control of your work schedule. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can have a business that works on your terms. That allows you to make time for your business development, your social life, your family, yourself and your health and wellbeing. 

The Freelance Fairytale: How to create your happy ever after teaches you how. Find out more here.