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Sales emails

unsuccessful gesture of thunbs down

An impersonal email got the thumb down from me

There was no reason for me to read some spam I received recently, but it was top of my spam folder and I glanced at it. The subject was “USB Inquiry” and the content was five paragraphs telling me how they could sell me USB keys for my customers (with my logo and presentation on the USB key).

From that email, I spotted a number of tips for writing a good sales letter/email:

  • make your subject match the content. I wouldn’t have read the above email by the subject as it appeared to be asking me about USB keys which I don’t sell. A better subject would have appealed to my need for a USB key rather than asking me about them (inquiry meaning question)
  • check the relevance of your offer to the person receiving the email. Why would I buy USB keys from the USA? There are perfectly good USB keys in Australia and they would cost me less in time and freight. If I’m wrong, they could have explained that in the email. The .com.au part of my web address is a clue that I am not in the USA…
  • relate the offer to the person. A USB key could be useful for me, but a more targeted response would have suggested I put client documents on a branded USB key instead of a plain disc or compile some templates or articles to hand out to prospective clients. They just assumed I did presentations that have notes suitable to a USB key. A serious sales proposition would be based on my needs, not a generalisation
  • I’ve said it before, but use the person’s name – it is the most important word in their language. “Hello,” isn’t good enough and finding a name off a good website isn’t that hard.
  • The paragraphs start ‘Could you…’, ‘My company…’, “We can…’, “please visit…’ and “Thank you…’ Every starting point is asking me to do something or talks about them. Where’s the appeal to me, the message that I am going to benefit from this purchase?
  • The email opens with a request to direct her to the marketing person but then continues as if I am the marketing person. If you request a name, wait for that answer or at least link into the remaining information (e.g. ‘We want to contact your marketing person to explain…’)
  • Check your sentences say what you want them to. This email included this gem “We are not offering rush production services, and custom shape USB flash drives, you tell us the shape you want your flash drive to be, we will make if for you!” So we don’t offer custom shaped drives but we will make any shape you tell us – doesn’t inspire a lot of trust…
  • The email finished with “We offer non – profit organizations, schools and charities a discounted rate, so please be sure to mention that for even better pricing.” That’s nice, but as I’m not a school, charity or non-profit group it doesn’t help me much; then again, the email says mention their discounted rate for better pricing and I could mention it easily enough! The lesson again is make the message relevant and clear.
  • Ensure your contact details are easy to use. This woman gave me a phone number without any area (or country) code and no address so how can I ring her? I’d bet that if I dialed it exactly as is I wouldn’t get her!
  • Build trust. This email came from an email address that doesn’t match the email given in her signature or the URL she includes which makes me wonder why she didn’t use the company email address and makes me very suspicious.

Of course, even had she written a much better email, I still wouldn’t buy from her as I hate spammers and she didn’t meet legal requirements of including her address. Would you have ordered any USB keys from such an email? Had she followed my tips do you think you’d have been more likely to buy from her?

At least you know what to avoid when you next write a sales letter!


*Photo courtesy of 123rf

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