Guest post by Patricia McLaren, Co-Founder and Head of Customer Operations at CopyShoppe
I think we can all agree that dropping a prospect's company name and title into an email isn't exactly "personal." Good job, you successfully completed a 2-minute LinkedIn search and impressed no one. There's a huge difference between "personalization" using basic information, and crafting a truly personal message that yields an emotional response. Here are 5 tips to personalize emails that will actually get responses.
There's a lot of research to do about Julie before you reach out. The majority of reps are looking at the following:
- Julie's LinkedIn page: Maybe they're sending her a connection request.
- Company LinkedIn page: How many employees do they have? What are the latest posts/news?
- Company website: A deeper dive to find out how to best position their own product for Julie.
- Current customer page: Who is Julie's target customer? How can they help her get more of them?
You can gather useful information from these sources, and it should absolutely be incorporated into your outreach strategy. The problem is, this information alone is not enough to trigger any type of real interest from Julie. It's been used a thousand times over, and as VP Marketing, she knows this kind of data can be easily pulled and inserted into an email with little to no effort on your part.
So how do we go beyond the basic layer of personalization?
At CopyShoppe we help companies create personalized content that leads to conversations, and every client we work with receives an extensive industry overview, along with buyer persona tables. These become useful internal documents for sales and marketing teams alike. It's crucial to understand the space you're writing to and operating in. Further than the current competitive landscape, research how the industry has evolved over time. What used to happen before your product/service was available? What are the biggest challenges today? What are the statistics that support the need for your product/service? How big of an industry are you operating in? The goal is to collect as much information as you can and become the expert, not only in your own product/service but in the industry itself.
Emotions drive our decision-making. It's science (limbic system, look it up). We use information to rationalize our decisions, but they're ultimately based on how we FEEL. If you aren't tweaking your messaging to appeal to this aspect of human nature, this is likely the reason that your prospects aren't responding. The messaging you write needs to trigger an emotional response.
Figure out who your target persona is. Beyond understanding their day-to-day responsibilities, figure out what kind of person they are. Think about the characteristics they need to have to be successful, and what emotions they may experience in their job. How do they feel about their biggest challenges? How does your product/service affect that primary emotion? How do you want them to feel after reading your emails? Your messaging is the opportunity to pluck the persona’s emotional strings to make them decide to respond.
Emotional triggers are important to include in every email, and every outreach channel. We aren't interested in or care about any email, until we do! Brainstorm some things that resonate with the persona you’re reaching out to. What are buzzwords, results they would care about, examples and stories they might relate to, etc.? This brainstorming process doesn’t include pulling up a thesaurus to find creative adjectives. Excessive use of adjectives can actually be counterproductive in emails - it’s been proven that too many just add ornament and subtract from the original intent. Keep it simple and direct. This is a brainstorm to figure out the best topics to cover that will speak to your persona's unique characteristics.
Consider the objections your prospects would respond with and utilize them in your messaging. A good exercise is to think of your prospect complaining about their biggest problem. What do they sound like? Who are they complaining to, and about what specifically? What kind of language are they using? Mirror that tone and address those complaints before your prospects brings them up.
So you've put yourself in your prospect's shoes, complained on their behalf, and know what their biggest emotional trigger is. No matter who they are or what title they hold, they're human beings above all. The best way to be personal is to be a person! Your messaging should sound like a conversation: simple and easy to read (on the screen and out loud). Take out the fillers like, "Hope you're enjoying your Friday" or "Bringing this to the top of your inbox." Take out wordy jargon, and just talk as if the screen between you was removed. If you read your email out loud and trip up on any part, remove it and try again. If you read your email out loud and don't feel an emotional response, try again until you do.
We tend to lose sight of the fact that we're reaching out to people, regardless of their industry and title. A personal touch goes beyond the surface of professional data. It takes a bit longer than a Google search to find what will reach each persona on an emotional level, but the results are unparalleled.
These tips are part of the 7 Foundation Principles used in CopyShoppe's Messaging Methodology - the principles are why our customers benefit beyond email copy and are having more personalized, quality conversations.
Is your messaging provoking an emotional response right now? How can you change it to be more personal?