If Your Using Email To Sell You Have Already Been Out Sold

Jeff Molander, quoted me on a Linkedin post and set this "exam question"

"I got talking to a CIO. I asked him what it was like to be a 'target' for calls, emails and social media," says Timothy (Tim) Hughes 提姆·休斯.

"He said, actually it was easy. 80% of what he was sent was 'rubbish.' It was all the same, no differentiation, no understanding of his business issues and no relevance to him, his company or his vertical.

He laughed that two competitors were using the same template to try and get hold of him. Just think for a second, salespeople using word for word the same outreach.

The same template. Let me write that again, using templates means you are exactly the same as your competition."

How do you react to Tim's words?

Somebody put the following response.

I’d like to hear what Tim thinks if those emails arrived when he needed a service.

As a copywriter, I’ll be the first to say that pitch matters. But nobody’s good enough to sell grass to a lion.

Likewise the best pitch in the world will only get you a “No thanks” at best if the target doesn’t have an underlying need/want for your product.

Are You a Sales Bottom Feeder?

It was an "interesting" response because if you are already justifying the use of templates then you are a sales bottom feeder.

The response of having an email hit somebody at the point they are going to buy is a common response used by email marketers as this is supposed to get a response, that makes you assume this happens every day. Of course, it doesn't.

What Do We Know About Email Marketing

According to Hubspot, the response rate to emails fell to a record low of 2.1% in April 2020. Said differently, 98% of our efforts to reach new prospects failed.

Hubspot say in the report "Sales teams are sending about 50% more email to prospects than they were pre-COVID, but responses continue to drop. Last week, sales response rates hit an all-time low for 2020 at 2.1%, a lower response rate than Christmas week 2019."

Diagram above, from Hubspot showing the number of emails being sent going up and the response reducing. 

Hubspot also said "These trends tell an important story. Email prospecting, to put it bluntly, is out of control. It's easy to send thousands of emails with just a few clicks, and in a chaotic time, we understand why sales teams are sending so many. But volume and quality is a tradeoff — the time a team saves by sending out email blasts is wasted if that outreach isn't personalized, relevant, and helpful. These gaps are clear in the data."

Let's not forget that Hubspot sell email marketing systems, so they have a vested interested to upsell why you should use email.

The 5 Responses From Emails (or Cold Calls)

The other issues with email marketing is that, like any form of interruption marketing (cold calling, advertising) there are 5 possible outcomes from sending an email.

  1. The person blocks you, probably without telling you
  2. The person tells you to go away
  3. The person tells you they purchased one of those 3 months ago
  4. The person tells you to call back in 3 months
  5. You hit the person when they are ready to buy

As you can see, that the likelihood of sending an email and somebody opening it (according to Hubspot) is small, and the likelihood of you sending an email, somebody opening it and them buying something is infinitely small.

Email marketing is based on hope and as we know, hope isn't a strategy.

Why Will I Have Been Out Sold If I Use Email?

The alternative to spamming people with email is to empower your sales teams to be where your prospects and customers are. On social media.

This isn't about some home grown social selling program this is backed by a world leading methodology. What does that mean?

It means that your sales people look interesting, they are proactively building networks, they are creating and sharing content. This content is insightful and educational.

The problem with email, even if we hit the situation that the person mentions above

"I’d like to hear what Tim thinks if those emails arrived when he needed a service."

The socially empowered sales team will have already, connected to me, they won't have spammed me because they know that spamming and using templates does not build trust. It also does not create conversations. What we are looking to do on social is build relationships and conversations.

Your competitor sales people know that "know me, like me, trust me" and if I do all of those things when it comes to buy something I will buy from somebody I know like and trust.

What Happens When An Email Arrives at The Point of Buying?

For a start I won't buy from somebody who sends me spam emails. Why? Because that does not build trust, it just shows that the company has old fashioned thinking and it also shows they are desperate. That is not a platform in which to have a business relationship.

Why as your competition who has built a relationship with me, that I know like and trust ..... I will buy from.

If you are using email to sell .... your competition have already out sold you.

Related: How Digital Marketing Collapsed Under Covid-19