7 Email Prospecting Sins And How To Avoid Them

Prospecting emails are one of, if not THE most powerful tool in any salesperson’s arsenal. Sure, they may not give you the same sense of control a cold call does, but at the same time, they’re non-invasive and scalable.

If you’d like to effectively engage multiple prospects in a day, cold emailing is the way to go – there’s no better way to connect with people who know zilch about your existence.

If you’re just starting out with email prospecting, it might seem impossible to get any response that isn’t “who are you and where did you get my email id?”

Cold calls and emails makes your prospects feel like... Danny DeVito saying "do I know you?"
Prospects responding to carelessly crafted cold emails

That’s why experts pay a lot of attention to every element in a cold email – it’s often the first touchpoint where a potential customer hears from you, after all.

From crafting a compelling subject line to choosing your tone; from zeroing in on your ask, to the way you phrase it… a lot goes behind the scenes of every successful email. Still, only 23% of cold emails are ever opened. The other 77% is invariably ignored. Why?

Let’s find out. In this blog, we’re going to discuss the 7 deadly sins of prospecting emails.

I know what you’re thinking – “Sins?! Isn’t that a bit dramatic?” The experts will tell you it’s not dramatic enough. One mistake in your prospecting email, and you can say goodbye to your prospect forever. This thing is serious. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Sin #1: Not Using a Striking Subject Line

Let’s say you’ve got 2 email notifications… from 2 salespeople… who offer the same service. Which one of these are you likely to open?

Want to grow your business fast? It’s high time you should leverage performance marketing as your primary strategy” OR “Albert, Want to scale your business up to 5x with performance marketing?

The latter, right? That’s what I thought.

Here’s some trivia: 64 per cent of email recipients decide to open emails based on subject lines! There’s no reason you shouldn’t take your time to perfect it.

Recommended read: How to increase your open rate with better subject lines

Road to redemption: Teasers

A few quick tips to make your subject lines work: keep them short, personalized, and leave your reader wanting more. Once you start looking at subject lines as teasers for your email, you’ll notice yourself getting better at them.

Recommended reading: increase your email open rates by optimizing subject lines.

Sin #2: Making it All About Yourself

One common mistake salespeople make, is emphasizing more on their services or product, instead of the customer. When ideally, it should be the opposite. Nobody likes to hear a story in which they’re not the hero.

Road to redemption: Empathy

  • Make it clear that you understand your recipient’s problem
  • Tell them how you can help them move the business needle from point A to B
  • Give them a reason to choose you – what’s your USP?

Sin #3: Not Getting to the Point

You know what, I get it – you love your product, you think your prospect will love it too. But your words may sound like music to you, but it doesn’t to your prospect – at least not yet. Not before they’re sold on the idea.

Incessantly long messages are telltale signs of an amateur - tall phone screen to accommodate a long text message
Incessantly long messages are telltale signs of an amateur

Road to redemption: Get to the point

Based on 40 million emails, HubSpot recommends an email length of 50-120 words to boost your response rate to over 50%. A similar study found emails with approximately 20 lines of text, or about 200 words, had the highest clickthrough rates. When in doubt, keep it short.

Sin #4: Inappropriate Tone

Use your prospect’s name to personalize your message, but don’t use it too many times. Be humble, but don’t sound subservient. Be friendly, but don’t overstep boundaries. Be confident, but don’t sound too arrogant. I know, I know, it sounds like walking on eggshells, but once you get a hang of it, it’s going to be a cakewalk.

Road to redemption: Research

Do your research, learn your prospect – know what ticks their boxes, and know what ticks them off. Choose your tone accordingly.

Sin #5: Information Overload

I get it. You’re a salesperson. You’re programmed to sell. But please, please, chill out with the attachments and the links.

Due to frequent malware attacks through email attachments, most organizations are wary of them. Hyperlinks are a better option. Even then, it’s tempting to go overboard. But don’t.

Counterintuitive as it may sound, if an email has too many links, you’d end up clicking on none.

Take this example:

Email example
Too much ‘blue’ in your email can put you in the ‘red

Road to redemption: Restraint

Any more than 2 links in an email, and you’re setting yourself up for failure. Ask yourself what’s the most relevant case study/video my prospect would be interested in, given their level of awareness and share that with them.

Don’t share everything in one shot. Save some for the inevitable follow-ups 😉

Sin #6: No CTA

Do you want to lose out on the sales opportunity that you created through your persuasive email? If your answer is no, you must craft your CTAs carefully.

And yes, when it comes to prospecting emails, more than one CTA is as good as no CTA.

Road to redemption: Clarity

A clear Call-to-action (CTA) is bound to maximize your response and conversion rates. Ensure to include a specific and strong CTA at the end of each email. Bonus points if they don’t have to go through hoops to take that action – make it as simple as you can for your prospect.

Sin #7: The deadliest of sins. Lack of personalization.

Every salesperson I know knows the importance of personalization. However, some spend too little time on it, while others go overboard.

Both lead to substandard outcomes.

You either shoot yourself in the foot by sounding like a robot without personalizing your emails. Or you shoot yourself in the foot by deeply researching your prospects on various channels – sometimes to great success. But you can’t possibly meet your quarterly targets with such a detailed approach.

Infographic representation of the sweet spot in email personalization

You need to find your ‘sweet spot’, and that only comes with practice, experimentation, and metric tons of manhours. But surely there must be a way to do this effectively and at scale?

Road to redemption: Using AI to humanize your interactions

Humantic AI provides a layer of “people intelligence” to revenue teams by providing actionable personality insights and recommendations about prospects.

It can be a gamechanger to know your prospect even before you meet them. You can craft your prospecting email in such a way that they can’t help but respond.

Knowing your prospect’s affinity towards analytics vs. emotion; their ability (or the lack thereof) to say no; negotiation tactics that are likely to work on them, etc., is going to make every prospecting email a breeze (or at least a lesser storm!)

A startup fanatic at heart, Vivek is a SaaS writer and a passionate marketer. He believes in the power of technology and claims that words when put right can help any brand prosper organically.

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