My name is John Sherer. And I spam my prospects. At least, I used to.

You're likely thinking one of two things: "What a monster. I can't believe he did that." or "How the heck did he ever stop?"

Unfortunately, I didn't stop mass email marketing until it stopped working. And, at that point, it's too late and you're left with no money.

So, today I'd like to share the evolution of my email prospecting strategy and how it went from old school robotic to modern and strategic, with a series of different email templates.

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Mass Email Marketing

Mass email marketing is when the same email is sent to a large subscriber list. It's a marketing strategy that isn't used much today as it usually yields a very low conversion rate.

Mass email is not customized, contains no personalized offers, and is sent to an unfiltered audience that may or may not be interested in what the sender has to say.

Today's consumers expect targeted and customized emails that use AI to provide information and offers relevant to their immediate needs.

The Old Mass Email Example

I used to mass email my leads three times a week, which generated enough appointments to consistently fill the top of my pipeline. The old mass email looked something like this:

This mass email worked for two reasons:

1. It included a valuable piece of content

I knew the New York Times article would grab many people's attention. While this email wasn't personalized -- I did know that the prospects on my list would be interested in learning how their websites could answer prospect questions and save their reps time.

While it's obviously a mass email, this article made it interesting enough to grab my reader's attention for a second longer.

2. It included a request to connect

To always be closing you must always be asking. You don't want to ask for your prospect's business in a mass email, but you do want to close for a connect call. Asking for a consultation regarding their site is a great way to pique interest in how I can help their business identify and fill gaps.

So, this old mass email wasn't necessarily bad. But one day it stopped working, and I have a few hypotheses as to why:

1. Maybe it was the generic opening

We all remember FAQs, but asking a generic opening question isn't offering anything of value to my prospects. They don't know why I'm asking them if they remember FAQ pages, and if I'm a busy marketer, I'm likely already zoning out and moving on to other emails.

A better way to phrase this opening might have been, "The best way to increase your sales is to answer prospect questions. And the easiest way to do that is by optimizing your website."

I've immediately offered a piece of information that serves my prospect's business and should earn their attention.

2. Or the assumption the prospect had a horrible website

No one wants a random salesperson to insult their website -- especially via a mass email. A better approach would be to research my prospect's website before sending a personalized email. Then, I could include one element I like about their site and an idea or two on what I would improve.

This is a less jarring way of offering help. It also provides immediate value to the prospect, without being pushy or offensive.

3. Or putting all the work on the prospect to find a time to chat

The least I could do here would be to link to a calendar or booking tool. Simply telling my prospects, "Let me know what works for you," is a vague, noncommittal way of asking for a follow up.

A more proactive way to phrase this closing sentence would be, "I'd love to learn more about your website and its unique business challenges. Click here to book a free website content assessment: [Link to calendar]"

Whatever the cause, prospects stopped opening my emails -- and that was a problem.

The "Personalized" Mass Email

Personalizing the greeting

I knew it was time to start personalizing my emails. So, I went crazy and ... sent the same email as above but opened by greeting each prospect by name.

You're probably not shocked to hear this didn't work.

Customizing the time

Next, I tried customizing the time. In this case, the email still stayed the same, but I suggested a specific time for us to talk. It looked a little like this:

By now, you know what's coming: this still didn't work.

My conclusion was "personalized" mass email didn't work on my prospects either. Looking back, it's not all too surprising they could see right through my copy-and-pasted templates.

The Non-Mass Email

I was still confused. After all, for the past few decades, prospects just like these had been responding to mass emails. And now, all of the sudden, adding a name wasn't enough, adding a company name wasn't enough. Basically, any one-word adjustment just wasn't enough.

Then, it hit me. Prospects don't want "personalized," they want "tailored," "focused," and "value." So, how did I respond? By giving my prospects what they wanted. Here's what that new email looked like:

I sent these emails one at a time -- no more mass email for me. And it worked. It still works. And here's why:

  1. I open with a custom event in the prospect's life
  2. I connect their expertise with my/HubSpot's own
  3. I provide a specific timeframe to chat

Suddenly, my prospecting emails started working again. Collectively, our team tracked these emails to see which ones were opened. Then, we followed up immediately.

Now we don't have to robotically send mass emails. And we're not just filling the top of our pipelines. We're moving people through them.

So, start sending and tracking valuable prospecting emails to see what works best for you. While your at it, try increasing your email prospecting response rate by 1400%. And find almost anyone's email address (without being creepy) here.

Oh, want to make email personalization even easier? Click here to learn more about Sales Hub's personalization tokens, and automate email personalization in the templates you use every day.

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Originally published Mar 29, 2019 5:05:00 PM, updated June 11 2021


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