Don’t Trick. Intrigue

October 22, 2020

With Halloween a few days away, tricks are in season. However, it’s best to keep those reserved for your holiday activities and far away from your prospecting efforts.

Rather than relying on tricks to increase your open rates, we’ll share a few methods you can use as a substitute. They might take a bit more time but they’ll generate higher quality results without cutting corners.

Your prospects deserve the treat.

No More “RE:” — Account Map Instead

One of the most common subject line “tricks” involves using the universal reply symbol, “RE:”

When a prospect opens up their inbox and sees an email with the “RE:” designation, it aims to tricks them into thinking this is a reply to some past conversation. They’re more apt to open an email — even if they don’t immediately recognize your name — if they think you might have had some contact in the past.

Hiding behind the idea of a falsified relationship can go south pretty quickly. Once they realize you’ve never actually connected you can bet the prospect will be pretty reluctant to get back to you. If they do, it probably won’t be pretty.

Instead, look to create an actual prior relationship by account mapping through the organization in search of a referral.

If the prospect you’re trying to get a hold of is the decision-maker, they still probably work with other Director, VP, or C-level contacts. Sometimes it’s best for you to reach out to those offices first — and if you can’t get a hold of them their admin will gladly point you in a different direction.

By talking to as many people as possible you arm yourself with the knowledge you need to speak with the decision-maker, and that’s something to put in a subject line. “Sent here by XYZ” generates a lot more genuine interest than any “RE” subject line.

Throw Away Generic Time-Frame’s — Use Your Resources

Time of year is a common topic for SDR’s to lean on when crafting subject lines. They revolve around the idea that the prospect will be entering an evaluation cycle, have some projects starting up, or act as a compelling event for them to talk with you. Timing is one of the biggest roadblocks that an SDR will come across, and by learning about that from the get-go it makes the rest of the relationship move along smoothly.

The problem is that most subject lines involving time-frame are very generic — examples like “planning for FY21” and “kick-off Q4 with a bang” look like they came from a salesman. Usually, that’s not going to drum up excitement from the prospect.

Instead of using broad time-frames for your subject lines, do some research to shorten the period you’re referring to. By utilizing sites like Zoominfo or Bombora and drawing from your own past prospecting efforts, it’s much easier to narrow down the timeline you’re referencing in your subject lines. Through your own prospecting efforts you can also infer that if other companies in XYZ industry are starting to evaluate solutions or source new platforms, it’s safe to guess this company is too.

That way your subject lines evolve from “gearing up for Q4” to “your scheduled XYZ technology evaluation.” You can bet that will get you a second glance, at the very least.

Have Your Subject Line Summarize Your Email

Nothing is more annoying than when a subject line has nothing to do with the content of the email you’re reading (well, maybe some things are). Too often will an SDR come up with a subject line that has great open and reply rates, only to use it across the board for all of their emails.

No one wants to open an email with the subject “reduce your XYZ costs by 19%” only to be asked for a referral.

Any extra time or effort you put on the shoulders of your prospect will backfire quickly. Your job is to convince them to talk with you / help you out. It’s (usually) not something they want to do.

Making sure your subject line accurately summarizes the content of your message will pay its dividends in droves — and the more specific you are the better. When you’re asking for a referral, use a subject line like “referral help”. When you’re talking to a decision-maker and you know that costs are an issue, then you can use the “reduce your XYZ costs by 19%” subject line. Making sure the message and the content are in sync will resonate more with the reader, and you can bet they’re more apt to respond.

aj alonzo

AJ Alonzo is the Head of Marketing at demandDrive. A former SDR turned marketing leader, he's made it his goal to develop resources for sales reps who are looking to level up and for managers who are looking for guidance. Outside of work you can find him trying to shoot under par at his local disc golf course, sipping on a bourbon on the rocks, or continuing his quest to be the very best like no one ever was.
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