One of the questions I’m most frequently asked by salespeople as a marketer is how to write more effective messages.
It’s a skill marketing professionals constantly work on.
On the other hand, sales professionals haven’t traditionally needed to worry about the art of building relationships via well-crafted messages. Especially when cold calling, trade shows, and in-person events offered more viable alternatives in the past.
Now business gets done more frequently via email or social media messages.
But less than 1 in 4 sales messages ever get opened.
Digital gatekeepers operate differently than with other communication channels. Spam blockers, email filters, and the basic delete button all pose challenges to ensuring your message reaches the intended recipient. And then you have to catch their attention amidst the countless other messages they receive daily.
People’s inboxes form a sacred space. It feels intrusive when a message appears that is unsolicited and seems to be trying to push someone else’s agenda.
As a salesperson, you need to write a lot of messages to meet your goals. But get marked as spam by even 1 recipient out of 1,000, and Gmail will flag you as a spam sender moving forward. That could ruin your chances of reaching future prospects.
Your messages need to be pretty good if you want to actually get people to not only open them but to then take action and respond.
As a marketer, you need to ensure the sales team can follow up on the leads you deliver. They should know how to provide consistent, high-quality messages. But you also shouldn’t have to spend your time writing copy for them, which takes away from your focus on hitting marketing-specific goals.
Sales and marketing working together ensures the best possible results with sales messaging. And it’s also a key area to improve if you want to see the best possible sales-marketing alignment.
So let’s break down how to write better sales messages, whether you’re a salesperson or a marketer looking for a guide to take back to the team.
Anatomy of a Solid Sales Message
To write a great message, you need to make sure you have a firm grasp of the basics.
- Every element of your email matters. That includes the name that the message appears to be coming from. About 43% of people will report a message as spam based on who the email is from. I’ve seen different approaches to this. For example, “[Your Name] at [Your Organization Name]” is one variation you can try.
- The first thing someone sees when they receive a message from you is the subject line. Less than 1 in 4 sales messages get opened. A good subject line will get your foot in the door.
- The shorter the subject line, the more likely the email will be opened. In fact, subject lines that are only 4 words long or less than 19 characters seem to perform best in testing. Try your best to keep it short and simple.
- Personalizing the subject line yields up to 23% higher open rates.
- Don’t try too hard to be cutesy. For instance, messages with emojis in the subject line receive 30% fewer opens.
- Get to the point quickly. If you’re interrupting someone’s day, you need to be ready to prove why it’s worthwhile quickly. The focus should immediately be on proving that you’re showing up to deliver something of value to them.
- Don’t waste time on fluffy openers. “I hope this email finds you well” or “I wanted to reach out to you because XYZ” are not only dull; they don’t provide any incentive to continue reading.
- Focus on their pain. Use the research you’ve done on your recipient to hone in on their specific pain point. Once you’ve created tension, offer your product or service as a relief to that pain.
- Ask questions. Sales messages with 1- 3 questions received 50% more responses.
- Keep the images at a minimum in your emails. The higher the image-to-text ratio, the higher the potential impact on your email deliverability rate.
- Keep your email short. People only spend about 13 seconds reading an email. Studies show 20 lines total may be the sweet spot.
- Every sales message needs a strong call-to-action. Let the reader know what you want them to do. That could be replying directly to the message or clicking a link to watch a video message.
Sharpen Your Copywriting Skills for Best Results
Salespeople don’t need to be exceptional copywriters, but it doesn’t hurt to have at least basic knowledge in this area. A quality message comes down to knowing how to write.
A variety of tools offer help to this end.
Grammarly will review your writing to make sure you don’t have blatant errors. Mail-Tester lets you know if your email is likely to get marked as spam. And RevBoss provides a handy checklist to review before you hit send on any sales messages.
Some general copywriting tips that will make your message sound more professional and engaging:
- Write as you speak. Read your message aloud, and if something doesn’t sound natural coming from your mouth, then you probably need to rewrite it.
- Avoid jargon, and don’t bother breaking out the thesaurus. You might think you’re impressing someone and “sounding smart,” but most people just want a straightforward and simple message. Focus on making your message easily and quickly understood.
- Be as concise as possible. Most people only give you a few seconds before they decide whether to keep reading and then respond or not. Get to the point to show respect for their time.
- It’s not about you! Reread your email and spot all the times you use ‘I’ or ‘me’ versus ‘you.’ Now work to delete as many of the ‘I’ or ‘me’ sentences as possible and replace those with ‘you’ sentences.
Start Paying Attention to Your Results
You have access to more information than ever about how your sales message strategy is working. From knowing the time someone opens an email to which links they click, this data offers essential insight into your efforts.
With that said, the data-driven salesperson sets themself up for success more than the one who relies on a spray-and-pray method.
Measuring your message results gives you the chance to get to know your target contacts better. And then, you should adjust your approach based on what works.
Here are some key data points to keep an eye on:
- The time of day your sales messages are read most often.
- What kinds of images have the most impact.
- Which personalization details work best (addressing them by name, including their company name, etc.).
Keep in mind; there’s no exact science to this. There are a lot of different forms a great message can take.
Figuring out what works best for you comes down to leaving behind your standard template.
My parting words of advice regarding crafting the best sales messages: Instead of thinking “Always Be Closing,” change your mindset to “Always Be Testing!”