What’s in a SoPro Email?
I read a lot of clickbait articles offering 7 top tips for a perfect email or “Make these simple email changes and start selling NOW”. You know the ones.
Much of it is written by non-specialist sources, freelance writers and content production teams. The idea of freelance, often younger content writers advising a readership of experienced, senior B2B professionals on the recipe for B2B email success is an amazing quirk of modern reality… or it’s a standard Wednesday commute, depending on your caffeine levels.
Well… for what it’s worth SoPro really are experts in this game.
Our team identifies and engages with over 75,000 B2B prospects every month, we find and connect buyers with sellers in situations that are complex, unique and too numerous to list.
We contact close to a million prospects each year and we don’t mince words when we say the lifeblood of every SoPro campaign is the concise passage of text we craft to engage every specific prospect with just the right message, in the right way, at just the right time. To kick-start the right conversation.
“Mixing the cut and polished language of executives with the playground banter of real business.“
Every email builds on years of experience, years of living, breathing and mastering the psychology of situational readership and knowing the behavioural traits of every job profile imaginable.
We draft, re-draft, re-draft, and draft again, until we strike gold, then we simulate the reader scenario. We place ourselves in the mind of the prospect and step through the literal experience of receiving and reading the email, in the midst of the inevitable busy day, under pressure, a little hungry, disappointed in the recent weather and almost certainly in a terrible mood. And if the first line doesn’t pin us to the wall and tickle our socks off we add it to the not-good-enough pile and send it over to Grow Labs. The SoPro senior management team is a tough crowd to please and if we can’t sell our clients services internally then the job’s not done. Sometimes it takes a week to write the perfect email. We take time to do this because we know what happens if we don’t.
So here’s how it’s done. And by the way, I toyed with this for a while, I even deferred to Co-Founder (and general Sage) Rob for a view on just how stupid it would be to publish our secret sauce.
In the end we took the view that we’ve often taken in the past. Tell everyone what we do, and tell them exactly how we do it. And if needs be, show them. Anyone prepared to replicate the SoPro service internally is welcome to do so with our blessing. And if you can do it for under £20 per prospect then congrats, you are doing better than average. If you can get anywhere near the SoPro rates (£2/prospect) then I suggest you stop what you are doing, quit your job and start selling prospecting services. The world needs you.
It gets a bit bullet pointy from here, mostly because there isn’t much room for not doing things the right way. Here are the rules we observe to make emails that sing.
- Greeting and softener.
- Outline logic for the targeted personal email.
- Introduce [yourself], your role at [your company], and outline [your company]’s product/service in a way that clearly and directly solves a top 3 challenge for [prospect x] in their role at [target company].
- Suggest a meet/call to outline the aspects of notable relevance.
- Close with an assumptive feeler about the best time/date to speak.
2) Subject Line
Referencing the product or service in your subject line will reduce open rates, so don’t do it. Something more ambiguous works better in 90% of cases. I.e. “2017 plans” or “London next week” etc.
Personalise the intro, every email should be opened and read as a 1:1 message. Human to human. Fail to personalise and you really are tasering yourself in the face at the first hurdle.
Every message should be confident of its relevance. The idea of “finding out if we can help” is not good enough, we need to convey clearly that we have done our homework, “we know we can help and we just need a few minutes to explain how.“
In terms of SoPro dynamic personalisation fields, the more the merrier, we have at least 20 pieces of prospect information available at the point of engagement, from social profiles to shoe size, always be frivolous with the particulars:
- Prospect *|company|*, informalised of course. Never use the full company name or group details.
- Always throw in a chronological reference or two. I.e. I hope *|Monday morning|* is treating you well so far…”, or “…enjoying the *|summer|* weather this week”. “Wednesday already!”.
- Personalise the close, reference the target office location and always suggest a specific date/time for the proposed call or meeting. I.e. “I’ll be over in *|Shoreditch|* for the first half of *|Tuesday |* how about I swing by for a coffee at *|10:00|*?”
- Mention prospect’s *|Industry Sector|*
- Reference prospect’s *|company location|* (town or perhaps even country)
- Mention prospect *|company size|*
- Mention prospect *|website URL|*
- Mention systems or technology that we know the prospect is currently using.
- Get creative mention the fact you both know the person X, you went to the same Uni or you both served time in HM Borstall, eek out the commonalities and use them like a green Top Sriracha sauce.
SoPro have zero-tolerance for overtly descriptive language, the market rejects it instantly and a campaign will fail if this rule is not observed with rigor. Always rip out descriptive adjectives and adverbs from your email templates. Personal communication is functional and punchy, never polished. It is rough and scrappy and reads very differently to the over-syllabled sparkle-statements pumped out by brand marketing teams the world over.
“Highly-experienced”, “compelling”, “wholly focussed”, “tangible results”, “extensive experience”, “best in class”, “unparalleled results”, “unrivalled expertise”, “globally scalable technology” , “customer-centric bullshitology”, “commercially strategic”, “unique… anything” etc… all need to come out. Oh and never use the word utilise… just never use the word utilise. Even in real life.
Once you have a draft you are happy with, I want you to re-write the email on the basis you are paying $1,000 per word. Force every word to earn it’s keep. If you can reduce the word count without further loss of meaning or readability then reduce it. A thousand dollars per word. Keep going, strip out every word you can. You have 25 seconds of a prospects time, on a good day. Last year it was 40 seconds, next year it will be 15.
Avoid links in the main body. Links offer much downside and very little upside. Roughly speaking a 10% increase in click rates might come with a 30% decrease in response rates. Email response leads are far more valuable than clicks, so lose the links.
Be confident, direct and assumptive in your close. Assume that the logical course of action is to meet/speak and initiate the arrangement of that meeting/call.
Never offer a fall-back (read: get-out) option in your close. I.e. “If a call isn’t appropriate at this time… then just keep my details and send me a Christmas card”. Don’t do it. Always sign off with a question.
I.e. “Are you in the office today?”, “I was thinking about dropping you a quick call on *|Weekday +2|*, does that work?”.
And there you have it
Simple as that. Real rules used buy real people doing actual B2B prospecting for 100+ companies, for a living. The last time you responded to a cold email it could well have been us… think about that.
Hopefully a useful read. Here’s an example we’re going out with to future London partners this week. It will definitely work. I’l publish some stats in the comments below next week.
I hope you don’t mind the direct note on a *|weekday|* *|morning/afternoon|* – I wanted to discuss the logic of SoPro working with *|COMPANY|*… LinkedIn pointed me in your direction.
SoPro are a London/UK based B2B Prospecting service provider. (With a slick web portal.)
In general we work as a very neat outreach bolt-on for our digital agency partners’ B2B clients. We take a clever approach to identifying and engaging qualified prospects, then we work to a run rate of engaging with say 50-100 prospects each day for the client, ensuring a fairly constant flow of leads back into their sales team. A great way to keep the sales guys doing what they are good at – usually the face to face stuff.
I see us as quite a complimentary offering and a logical partner for *|COMPANY|* if you think it might work. So I thought I’d drop you a line to at least discuss it. We’re in London anyway so I was hoping to pop over whenever you have a few minutes over the next week or two… Is there a good time for a coffee?