Monday 10 October 2016

8 tips to getting your emails opened and acted on

We train recruiters in how to write first approach emails to candidates they’ve never met. Bit niche? Well, these tips are pretty useful for any ‘cold’ sales email.

Professional networking site LinkedIn has made finding good candidates easy. But it’s also made candidates more discerning. That means you have to work harder than ever to get their attention.

According to LinkedIn, the average InMail response rate is just 25%. Whether you’re a full-time recruiter, or just looking to improve your response rates, these tips will help you cut through the noise.

1. Quality not quantity
A bigger mailing list doesn’t necessarily equal better results. Instead of taking the ‘spray and pray’ approach, concentrate on a smaller number of high-quality prospects.

Stalk them online before you sit down to write your email or InMail. If you know what time they shower in the morning, you’ve gone too far. But checking out their LinkedIn and social media profiles and post for any shared connections or interests is a must. That’s because you need to…

2. Find a connection
If your email looks like a copied-and-pasted job spec, it will either:
A)   Be ignored
B)   Be deleted

Use the information you discovered earlier – like a shared language, hobby or employer – to create a personal connection. Weave it into a catchy subject line. Then follow it up in the first line of the email before getting to your pitch.

“Hello Tony! I hear you’re a fellow craft beer enthusiast…”

…has clearly felt the gentle caress of personalisation.

“Senior designer needed at fast-growing digital agency”

Not so much love in this one. Needs to be more intimate.

Don't force it.

3. The perfect subject line
How do you attract attention and get them to open? Again, use your research to do one or more of the following:
  • Put the recipient’s first name in the subject line. This increases open rates by 26% and click-through rates by 136%
  • Refer to a shared interest then relate it to the email subject
  • Mention a shared connection
  • Be positive about a personal achievement – such as a recent blog post
4. Stick to the point
Choose one major thought and make it your focus – like, “I’d like to offer you a free trial” or, “Let’s connect on LinkedIn”. Keep it short, and don’t saturate your email with benefits and features. The average reader spends just 15-20 seconds reading an email, which equates to about 50 words. Check you've given the reader enough to interest them in 50 words.

5. It’s about them, not you
Often, people’s opening line is something like, “I need a software developer and your CV suggests you’d be a great fit”. As cold-hearted as it may seem, the recipient doesn’t care about you or your needs. They want to hear about what’s in it for them. So let them know. Use more ‘You’s and less ‘I’s and ‘we’s.

6. Make the ‘ask’ easy
Every sales email should end with a call to action. Just make this as easy as possible. ‘Any chance you’d be interested in hearing more?’ is relaxed. ‘Are you around for a call sometime in July?’ is open and not too pressured. Both require less effort than, ‘Please get in touch if you’d like to talk this through in more detail’. 

7. Sound friendly and relaxed
The looser your style, the less formal it appears, the more likely it is to be seen as coming from you, an individual. So use phrases you’d say and avoid sounding like a sales pitch.

8. Short and simple
Use simple language. Emails that use the vocab and sentence structure of a 7-8 year old are 36% more effective than those at college student level. And emails that are between 50 -125 words have response rates of 50% - twice the average.


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