I’ve mentioned in some of my earlier posts that I’ve found direct emailing to be the most effective way of getting new clients over the last 4-5 months. There are a number of good reasons for that as well and you can learn about them in detail in my post where I shared a few tested methods of getting freelance writing jobs.
Today, however, I plan to discuss something that I learned while handling a mass Email Marketing project back when I used to work as a Project Manager. My recent emailing activity relates very closely to that project and I owe a lot of my emailing success to the experiences I gained during that project.
One of the key success measures of any email campaign is usually the open rate that it manages to achieve. That is the first step towards driving any positive action through a campaign.
But this is usually the step where most amateur marketers fail as well. I’m sure you must have seen many marketers or freelance job hunters complain about the lack of response to their emails.
You might be one of them as well.
When I recently published a post on this blog and advocated the use of direct emailing for contacting clients directly, I received the same complain from some of my readers. All of them couldn’t get any responses.
There are a number of reasons for that.
Let me list down each of them along with a few solutions that I found very useful. And as I said earlier, I learned most of these during my employment days as a Project Manager.
1. Don’t Shoot in the Dark – Track Your Emails
You can not take any improvement actions if you’re not sure what exactly happened to your emails. You need to have a proper email tracking system in place to get an idea of where your email actually ends up.
This might not be a direct factor in increasing the response rate of your emails, but it certainly is the starting point.
If you’re running mass email campaigns, then you must be using an email marketing application. For my employers, I used to manage all our campaigns through Interspire Send Studio. They were usually pretty massive campaigns with average email lists of 500K to 1M customers.
But for my own campaigns, I use Mail Chimp. Its a user friendly application that gives you almost all the necessary information needed to derive improvement actions from your campaigns.
For individual Gmail users, Yesware is a must have. The free version might not give you a lot of details about your emails, but it certainly lets you know when your emails are opened.
How is this useful?
Once you have a basic tracking system in place, you at least know how many of your emails are actually being read by the prospects. This will give you the starting point to move forward and make the necessary improvements.
2. Timing is Critical – Identify the Best Time Slots
This is an absolutely critical factor in determining whether your emails are opened and read or simply get ignored. You wouldn’t want to approach prospective clients at midnight nor would you like to bug them on weekends.
Timing is a deciding factor in the success of your campaigns.
But there’s no fixed schedule that guarantees success either. It all depends on who you are approaching.
For corporate email subscribers, usually our target market, the best days to shoot an email campaign are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
I say this purely on the basis of my personal experience with hundreds of campaigns targeted at millions of users in almost every corner of the globe.
Friday is a risky option, while Monday is a definite No, since its the first day of the week and most email inboxes are usually filled with weekend emails.
But selecting the right day is not the only thing you need to worry about. Time slots are also critical.
The best time to land your emails in your client’s inbox is between 9AM-11AM. This is when you have the highest chances of getting your emails opened and responded. The worst, of course, would be any time after the standard working hours.
So the magic time is anywhere between 9 to 11 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday!
And this holds true for both large scale email campaigns and individual prospecting emails.
3. Make or Break – Choose the Right Subject Line
You’ve probably heard about this one more than any of the other points. And the focus is not unjustified either.
It doesn’t matter if you get the timing right. Your emails will only make it quicker to the trash can if you get the subject line wrong.
So make sure you choose your words carefully.
The general subject guidelines like the number of characters, avoiding the usage of special characters etc. are pretty well known so I won’t go into much detail of that.
I want to focus more on the actual structure of your subject line. This is where most people get it wrong.
First of all, you don’t need to say everything in your subject line. Overly detailed subject lines usually get ignored and are often perceived as Spam. That, of course, doesn’t mean that you limit your subject to a couple of words.
Make it look natural. A short sentence with attention grabbing keywords usually works the best.
When I started approaching clients for freelance blogging projects, I used the subject line “Freelance Writer and Blogger”. The response rate wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.
I then did a few experiments with my subject lines and tried different combinations of similar keywords.
“An experienced blogger looking to add value”
“Freelance Blogger, Writer and Ghostwriter”
“Looking for an opportunity to work with you”……..
……I tried these and a few more subject lines to get an idea of what works well. Out of all the subjects I tested “An experienced blogger looking to add value” had the highest response rate.
This subject line not only looks natural but also generates interest of the reader. At least this is what I concluded from the high response rate it received. Also note the usage of capital letters in the different subject lines I used.
It all points to one direction; being as natural as possible is the way to go. That is the core principle that you should keep in mind while designing your subject lines.
4. The Final Frontier – Drive Action through Your Email Content
You’ve done everything right up to this point. All you need now is a killer email that makes the reader take action.
Simple, isn’t it!
While writing email copy is a separate, and much more detailed, subject all together, there are certain principles that you should always bear in mind while writing your emails.
1. The reader doesn’t have the whole day for your email., so keep it to the point.
2. Be as clear and concise as possible. Don’t confuse the reader with vague statements.
3. Make the objective absolutely clear in the first few lines of your email.
4. Include a clear call to action. It can be in the form of a simple reply, link to a blog post or subscribing to your newsletter. Whatever it is, make sure its there for the reader to see.
In my case though, I was seeking a favorable response to my freelance work application. I had included links of my work in the email and wanted the reader to check them out.
However, I made sure that the email wasn’t very long and included only the necessary links so that the reader didn’t get confused.
Here’s what I initially wrote in my emails,
I am Jawad Khan, a freelance writer, internet marketer and blogger.
I’ve had a detailed look at your website and the services that you’re offering.
I believe you’re missing out on a significant number of potential clients by not updating your blog regularly. Blogging is currently the most effective way of attracting new customers to your website and many of your competitors are already doing it.
I can help you by writing 2-4 highly engaging blog posts every week that will not only attract addtional traffic to your website but also provide you a regular influx of highly qualified sales leads.
If you find my offer interesting, you can have a look at samples of my work on my blog www.WritingMyDestiny.com.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
I didn’t have any particular idea of approaching clients directly through emailing at that time and my email was designed in a pretty casual manner. However, the results it achieved were quite encouraging and I was contacted by a number of clients for my hourly rates.
In the coming weeks, I added a few links to my guest posts and other writing samples as well but the general theme of the email remained the same.
What do you think?
As I’ve said throughout this post, most of these recommendations are based on my personal experiences. However, I would like to hear your point of view on any of the tips that I’ve shared here.
It’ll be great to know how you choose your subject lines and what time slots you find as the most responsive.