Gone in 2.7 seconds: Sales emails and the importance of sender and subject

A great deal can happen in three seconds. The Earth moves 89.4km around the sun. The sound of thunder can travel 3,300 feet. And someone on your marketing list decides whether to read, save or delete the email you sent them.

Actually, the fate of an email is decided in less than three seconds – the average email recipient decides whether to read or hit delete in 2.7 seconds. That’s how long they spend scanning the sender and the subject line before deciding if they want to find out more, if they are going to trash your email, come back to it, flag it in some way or read it. So you need to be sharp as to why you are sending it – in writing, in what you are sharing, and in your purpose.

Here’s what you need the recipient of your email to do:

  1. Open it
  2. Read it
  3. Do something – sign up for an event, download something, learn something, or be reminded of something.

The first hurdle is to share emails that people want to open and want to read, so they don’t simply hit ‘delete’ in those 2.7 seconds.

In order to get someone to open, read and act on your emails, you need to be targeting the right audience, have relevant content and be persuasive. In our Tribalist list-building course, we talk about the importance of sending emails from the most relevant person within an organization, and how to profile different audiences. We also talk about the need to send emails from a person, not from the business or a strange, impersonal or generic email address. Think about your own habits as an email reader. When you get an email from someone you know or trust – someone you work with, an authority you respect, or a family member – you make the decision to open it based on who sent it. So if you can use a name that is recognized, or has had a relationship with or been a point of contact for the recipient, then that’s a great start.

The next most important thing – the first piece of true copywriting – is the subject line.  In summary, keep the subject line relevant and short – some people say five words, others say 50 characters. It’s important to remember how many people are opening emails on smartphones now. Though even if they are opening them on a laptop or PC, shorter subject lines are easier to process, get to the point and are more successful. So the subject line has to be direct, brief, relevant and compelling.

Your subject line sets the stage for that moment the reader decides whether the email is intended for them, if it’s something they should open.

Email is direct, cost-effective and – when it’s used correctly – is powerful. Want to find out more about how you can use email for sales? Sign up for our intensive list-building course designed for technology marketers and start-ups, Tribalist – next program starts October 11.

Sales solves overwhelm

Feeling frustrated by your business? Overwhelmed? Do you feel that you have momentum, and that things are happening – that your business is going in the direction you want it to? In which case, that’s great – keep that fire and momentum going.

But if you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you know that not every is like that. Some days you feel like you are in your own way, and that no matter what you do, you aren’t moving in the right direction. You feel stuck.

Sales solves overwhelm

These, believe it or not, are the days where you need to force yourself to sell, to connect with your sales mojo -and to use it.  Why? Because sales gives you momentum. It adds revenue which allows you to delegate more, to increase your team, reduces stress and puts you in control.

But if you’re feeling low on your business ebb, you may feel that you don’t have the energy, motivation or inclination to sell.  Those are the moments that you need to take action.

Think about it – about why you have your business, and how far you’ve come, reflect on your successes. As a business owner you have taken a decision. Ventured out and stuck your neck out where others didn’t – to bring you to where you are right now.

There’s no boss to motivate you, to tell you what to do – you need to take the action. You wanted this – you still want this, so just stop rolling your eyes, block out an hour in your schedule (right now) and go pick up that phone, contact someone who can help your business now, ask someone to work with you – find your sales mojo.

Want some motivation, guidance and help? Sign up for our 60-day sales challenge.

New York startups, the Charging Bull and American optimism

It’s no secret that I love traveling, sharing ideas, meeting people and talking about sales. Our workshop series, Make Your Startup a Sales Machine, combines each of these, and I’m thrilled to be meeting entrepreneurs in different counties and cities. Last week I was fortunate to speak to founding teams, business owners and early-stage entrepreneurs near Charging Bull in New York City.

New York City has an unmistakable vibe. It’s fast-moving, noisy, and everything about it has a sense of speed: including people and business (OK, there are moments where the traffic stands still).  

Whether you’ve been to The Big Apple or not, you’ll recognize the iconic Charging Bull statue in New York’s Financial District. The three-and-a-half-ton bronze bull is also known as the Wall Street Bull. It can be found on Bowling Green Park, where it’s a recognizable and well-photographed landmark in the city – there’s almost a constant stream of visitors taking photos with the bull (at both ends).

The Charging Bull was not an approved piece of artwork – also, surprisingly, it is not owned by New York City, and to this day is still under a temporary permit. It was originally a piece of guerilla art created by Sicilian artist Arturo Di Modica, who delivered it to be found on the morning of December, 15, 1989, underneath the New York Stock Exchange Christmas tree as a seasonal gift to New York. The bull didn’t stay very long, as later that day it was loaded on a truck and moved by the New York City Police Department, with citations for lack of permit and traffic obstruction.  

A local businessman who was in the Financial District’s Bowling Green Association, Arthur Piccolo, read about the bull, its removal and the artist’s intentions. Working with the Di Modica and other local contacts, Piccolo arranged for the bull to be placed back in the Financial District on 20 December – to its current location at Bowling Green – just a few blocks away from the New York Stock Exchange.

Di Modica once said that the bull was a symbol of the “strength and power of the American people” and I love that sentiment. Along with the ambition and perseverance of how the bull ended up where it is today, it sums up New York City and its entrepreneurial spirit.

Want to join me one of our workshops? Check out our event page and sign up.

Sales and finding customers: What are you doing to find prospects?

How good are you at finding customers?

Whatever your business is, no matter how fabulous or amazing your product or service, you need to attract new prospects. To do that consistently you have to set up processes and deliberate.

There are many ways to define leads, but when I work with clients to help them with their sales processes, at the broadest definition I start with ‘leads’ which are cold contacts and when these are qualified they are ‘opportunities’.

First, how big is your list of prospects that you would define as ‘leads’ or ‘opportunities’?
When did you last contact these prospects? Do you have a regular newsletter, series of educational updates, market insights or perspectives that you share with them?
How many leads did you generate last month? Last quarter? How many do you plan to generate this month?
If you don’t know, you need to set up a baseline and start tracking this number – so you can see what’s working.

So how can you find potential new prospects and generate leads? Here’s some ideas of where you can find new customers – and to help them find you:

  • □ Workshops
  • □ Webinars
  • □ Podcasts
  • □ Downloads: e-books, how-tos, checklists
  • □ Attending or sponsoring events, tradeshows
  • □ Networking
  • □ Social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc.
  • □ Blogging
  • □ Videos

Frustrated by not having enough prospects and want to ramp up your sales? Then why not shift your business results and sign up now for my 60-Day Sales Challenge.

Dylan Thomas and fabric swatches (stop stopping yourself)

I spent a brilliant weekend at my brother’s wedding in London, where I was honored to be asked to do a reading. I wanted to read something to reflect our Welsh heritage. And as my new sister-in-law is a talented dressmaker, I picked a passage from Dylan Thomas’s “Under Milk Wood,” which shares the dreams of Mr. Mog Edwards, the town draper, and Miss Myfanwy Price, dressmaker and sweet-shop keeper.

To separate the two voices, I wanted to use props: a hot water bottle to represent Miss Price’s “lonely, loving hottwaterbottled body” and a book of material swatches for Mr. Mog Edwards. The first was an easy purchase, I just needed to find a clothing, dressmaker or furniture shop in Richmond-upon-Thames (a lovely area in London) that would lend me a swatch book.

So I set off to ask stores to help me. This is how it went:

No. 1 said they didn’t have material swatch books, and looked at me a little quizzically.  

No. 2 only sold completed pieces and didn’t have sample books, but suggested places I could try and gave me directions.

No. 3 was a very upscale store (to be honest, each store was, as it was Richmond-upon-Thames) with several store assistants that stood and watched me as I explained why I wanted to borrow a swatch book for 24 hours. One of the assistants then looked away from me, and actually started talking about me and my “stupid” request – while I was stood there – and then started sniggering, which seemed to encourage the other assistants to follow her lead. For a moment I felt embarrassed and silly, dismissed, with several people laughing at me.

This is a key moment: the point where you can stop. Whether it’s in sales and how you respond to a negative prospect, or anything that you want in life where you reach what could be interpreted as a roadblock and an inner voice says, “Well, that’s that then – at least you tried,” it’s the point where you give yourself permission to give up.

I shrugged my shoulders and went to No. 4, where the store manager couldn’t have been more helpful. He was intrigued by what I was reading that would involve a fabric swatch book as a prop, then showed me where they kept all their swatch books, gave me a choice of swatch books and wished me luck with the reading.

I did get a few odd looks as I stood up during the ceremony clutching a hot water bottle and a large swathe of fabrics, but the reading was well-received. 

The lesson? I could have stopped after store No. 3, feeling more than a little rejected, but able to comfort myself that I had tried.

Where do you stop? In life, in sales and in things that YOU want from your life, where do you stop out of fear of failure, of potential ridicule and with the self-affirmation “Well, at least I tried?”’

Imagine if you didn’t stop – and you pushed beyond the thing that you think may not work, or the thing that you think may make you look silly, or “fail.”

Want to ‘Stop Stopping?’ then why not check out my new training for individuals who want to shift behavior and shift results.

‘Sales’ is not a dirty word…

I’ve been spending a lot of time speaking at workshops and events for business owners.

I always like to ask attendees about their perception of sales. In many cases, I hear that sales is not held in high regard — it’s not seen as some highly respected discipline. It’s even viewed as a ‘dirty’ thing to do.

This is a problem that many business owners face. You create a business based on something you love — a passion you have, a skill you can’t wait to share with the world and with your prospective clients — but … what? You have to sell? Somehow this comes as a surprise to many.

Yes, you have to sell.

But you also have to remember what makes a ‘good’ sale and what makes a ‘bad’ sale (want to hear more about that, then sign up for my Brilliant Sales Tips). But the basic fact of business is you have to sell your product, service or expertise to make money. And without money, you are not running a business, you have a hobby — one that takes up all your time, energy and, well, your life.

So time to shift your mindset and to repeat after me: sales is NOT a dirty word. It’s an important part of your business and one that you have to actively pursue.

Looking to really shift your attitude, behavior and commitment to sales? Join me for my next 60-day Brilliant Sales Challenge.