There are three principles to use when you want to get a response from someone.
- Short – With the attention span that humans have today (about 8 seconds, 1 second less than a goldfish), it pays to write short messages.
- Personal – Use their name. Let them know that you remember them. Even if you are using a database, it is really easy to plug their name in. That way, even a mass email can be personal.
- Expecting a Reply – The easiest way to get a human to respond to something, is to ask a question. We as humans NEED to close a curiosity loop…
Email is still a very effective way of sending a communication. Email allows an automation that few other delivery methods allow. Not only is it automated, but cheap, and effective.
The principles listed above are good to know, but there is also a template that has been effective for me. In this example, the goal is get a past client or a prospect to identify themselves as someone who is interested in your product/service. It can be adapted to many different applications in addition to this as well…
Subject: <Prospect First Name>
Are you still looking to ____________________? The blank can be filled in with whatever product or service you offer. For example:
- Have your carpets cleaned?
- Buy a home in XYZ neighborhood?
- Donate to the XYZ organization?
In the above example I would use the client’s first name as the subject line in the email.
Don’t add anything else to the email! You will be tempted to add a phone number or website or fax number (do people still have fax machines?!?), but don’t do it. Your mission in this exercise is to Pique Interest! I know you will also want to add a testimonial or some other proof about how awesome you are, but don’t. And here is the reason why: All you need them to do is identify themselves. All you want them to do is say, YES! I am still looking. If you start listing a bunch of information that may or may not be interesting to them, you may bore them. In this email you do not want to do anything that will make them want to delete your email without responding first. All you need is a response.
The response will likely come pretty quickly because the human mind can’t stand to leave a mystery… If someone asks a question, there must be an answer!