Jill Konrath


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3 Things I Learned About Email This Past Week


email iconLast Friday, I sent out an email telling you that I was shutting down my Selling to Big Companies website. Within minutes, my inbox was flooded with hundreds of messages. To say I was surprised by the reaction, is an understatement.

Here are three things I discovered from that deluge -- and what they mean to you.

1. Email subject lines really matter -- much more than you or I think.

My last email generated at least 15 times the number of responses I typically get. That's huge. But I didn't just hope it would happen. I actually worked hard to craft a subject line that would pique your curiosity.  When I thought of "I'm calling it quits -- and here's why," I knew it was a winner.

Action Step: If you want your emails to get opened, don't make your subject line an afterthought. Think about it from your prospects' perspective. What would make them overcome their auto-delete reflex and read your message. Brainstorm 5-10 different subject lines, to ensure you find a better option.

2. People seriously scan <don't read> their emails.

The majority of people who wrote to thanked me for my helping them in their career and wished me well on my new endeavors.

But I'm not quitting! I'm just shutting down Selling to Big Companies. Everything has already been ported to JillKonrath.com. I thought I was pretty clear. Clearly I wasn't. I think my message was hidden in too much verbiage. It can easily happen.

Action Step: Be ruthlessly concise in your emails. Get to the point. Use short sentences whenever possible. Of course, that doesn't mean you have to be rude. It just means you need to cut out the unnecessary.

3. Email systems don't like unrecognizable senders.

The last email I sent out came via HubSpot, my new website provider. While the message still came from me, many of your systems flagged it as potential "you know what." In short, the email was never seen by the intended reader.

Action Step: Please add jill@jillkonrath.com to your address book to ensure you keep getting these newsletters.

Action Step: You could easily encounter the same issues. To minimize the chances of this happening, call your prospects first to leave a voicemail message alerting them to look out for your email.

In short, you want your emails to get opened, read and responded to. When you pay attention to the factors that impact this, you're more successful.

QUESTION: What suggestions do you have for getting better results from your emails? Enter them in the comments section below.

Jill KonrathJill Konrath is an internationally recognized sales strategist. As author of two bestselling books, SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies, she's a frequent speaker at sales meetings and conferences. For more fresh ideas, download her free Prospecting Toolkit.



Don't send the usual, boring emails. Liven your emails up using a resource like Jeffrey Gitomers "Ace of Sales" www.aceofsales.com)  
Full disclosure - I have no affiliation with Jeffrey Gitomer or Ace of Sales but I do use it and it gets results
Posted @ Thursday, April 05, 2012 6:49 AM by Bill Paul
A few I have used with success and a few suggestions: 
(as you know, personal is better and will be read more often unless used all the time) 
1) Clinet of Jill Konrath 
and other variations 
2) Responses to my emails are growing. Here is the main reason. 
3) I have information that will impact your bottom line. 
4) I do not sell my product, it sells itself. Here's why and how it can help you. 
5) Random respondants will get a free (book) from Jill Konrath. 
6) Great news from Jill Konrath about new selling techniques. 
Most of the above comes from my experience designing ads and brochures since 1995. 
I hope this inspires and helps. 
Posted @ Thursday, April 05, 2012 7:16 AM by Robert Murphree
I have found that if I keep my emails subject line to a very simple but interesting few words I get a lot more response, example recently I used the heading One question and at present I am using New rates released short and sweet and to the point.
Posted @ Thursday, April 05, 2012 7:52 AM by Mark
One of the reasons why I opened and forwarded your message was that it screamed "focus"-something that is hard to do when clients and prospects have you jumping through more and more hoops to get to "yes".  
Good job for recognizing that honing your message down to the most valuable part of what you do for your clients is the most important thing you can do for your business. I wish you much "focused" success. 
Terry Kile
Posted @ Thursday, April 05, 2012 8:17 AM by Terry Kile
During my corporate career, when sending emails to my staff I made it a habit to include in the subject line either "JUST FYI" or "URGENT" or "RESPONSE REQUESTED" ahead of the subject itself. I think the staff appreciated this and and it definitely helped me.
Posted @ Thursday, April 05, 2012 8:32 AM by Norm Patry
Beyond trying to make emails short and sweet I use selective bolding so that if someone scanned just the highlighted parts they would get the coles notes version of the email. 
I often include two links that are also bolded that go to the sames page but use different words to capture the attention of different people
I hope my ideas and the example above help. 
Good Luck! 
Posted @ Thursday, April 05, 2012 8:37 AM by Craig Elias
Great letter and love the fact that you are asking for additional comments. Good comments above. A couple of other suggestions: 1) As suggested in one of the comments above, consider asking an attention-getting question in the subject line. Questions really pop off subject lines when you are scanning you inbox 2) Use your creativity. Example: for weeks I had tried to connect with a key decision-maker at a corporation with which I was interested in doing business. This individual was incredibly busy and out of the office on travel a good part of the time. The good news is that she responded. The bad news is once I got her response I was unable to get her again by phone or e-mail. I figured she would like to talk since she had answered me once. But how to get her attention again? I went to LinkedIn and checked out her profile. Turns out she graduated from a university (Purdue) in the state where I grew up (Indiana). So, I went out on a limb and in the next e-mail sent to her the subject line read: "How about those Boilermakers?". The Boilermakers are the Purdue football team. Even though I had no idea whether she followed football or not (and it really didn't matter in this case), I sure got her attention and got an e-mail back within the same day. Of course, you have to be careful how audacious that creative subject line is; use good judgement. Would love others' suggestions...
Posted @ Thursday, April 05, 2012 12:20 PM by W Mantel
I do more technical support emails than sales, but in general, I've noticed a two-sentence limit. By the third sentence, more than half my readers are no longer fully focused, and often neglect any info or questions beyond that limit.  
Remember, these are support-related emails with existing customers who actually want to communicate with me.  
So my advice is get all the important action-inducing text in the first two sentences, or at least the first paragraph. I've noticed some residual attention available for the last couple sentences too, but the stuff in the middle seems to be always at risk of being skipped. 
I don't know if my experience directly applies to sales, but I thought my perspective may help someone. 
Posted @ Thursday, April 05, 2012 12:59 PM by Chris J
If your readers skim, doesn't that mean you should use a subject line that better portrays the content of your message? Your subject line is optimized for CTR but not for user experience.
Posted @ Thursday, April 05, 2012 7:41 PM by Steven
The time of day you send your email is important too. I use the Options - delay delivery in Outlook to send my email when I think they maybe working their inbox i.e. Monday morning early am. Also,keep in mind with today's connected society, prospects maybe reading emails 24/7. I tend to notice when a prospect responds via Ipad or smartphone by the signature line. 'sent from my verizonless blackberry'. This tells me they are serious about work and don't mind chatting off hours.
Posted @ Friday, April 06, 2012 8:08 AM by Paul
Email subject lines are the absolute hardest thing I deal with every day. I can have a great email with value all over, but if I bomb the subject line, I'm done before I ever get started.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 10, 2012 8:26 AM by Ryan Cunningham
Jill, all of your points are absolutely valid. I picked up some great tips from Wendy Weiss about subject lines and you've echoed those perfectly - where possible make the subject personal, and to the point. A number of ones I've used include: 
"Bill, how are you going to deliver your applications from the XXX TELCO cloud?", "Fred, Craig has asked I contact you regarding XYZ project" or another one I use a lot where I need a quick response is "Jane, two quick questions".  
This last one is best suited to someone you have a relationship with and want to get a quick response to, but can potentially be used for getting introductions to new clients.
Posted @ Wednesday, April 11, 2012 9:35 AM by Mark Vulling
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