Email templates typically get a bad reputation as being cold, impersonal, and overly sales-focused. We’ve all received email templates that don’t fit what we’re interested in, or make you feel like a sale. These are examples of email templates done badly, and there are few things that a hurt company’s reputation more.
Let’s forget that mindset and strive for better. As a business leader, you should view email templates as a way to improve marketing and sales efficiency. Most companies, especially B2B firms, are hesitant to implement email templates because they don’t know where to start, don’t think there’s value, or don’t think their team will buy-in to a new process. But when implemented well, there’s considerable benefit to your entire organization.
Email templates help standardize processes, reduce time required for routine tasks, enable email testing and data-driven decisions, and integrate well with marketing automation tools.
Personalization is the key to successful email templates. Without showing that you understand what the email recipient is interested in, automating part or all of the email process will not add value. As the centre of your business, customers need to feel valued. While basic personalization techniques such as adding the contact’s first name or last name is a good start, there are several other ways to make email templates feel more personal.
Types of Sales Email Templates for Business
Sales teams typically have the greatest need for high-quality, personalized email templates. Depending on what a lead or customer’s buying preferences are, email templates need to reflect what’s most important to them while minimizing focus on anything else. Some of the opportunities that sales teams have to use email templates include:
- Sales Prospecting Email Templates: Email templates can vastly improve the sales prospecting process. Depending on how you target your audience, it can be relatively easy to figure out what your prospects are interested in and help them to better understand their challenge or opportunity. The goal here is to provide value and identify a next step, which usually involves a direct one-on-one interaction.
- Sales Introduction Email Templates: If prospects have made a deliberate choice to get in-touch with your sales team, the first email sent to them can often be standardized with an email template. By asking them a set of standardized questions, your team can help better determine the needs of a prospect and accelerate the sales process.
- Sales Follow-up Email Templates: After a meeting or another key interaction in the sales process, much of the follow-up can be handled through email templates. Your sales team may need to personalize the templates with information from the meeting, but at least half or more of the effort can be saved. “Next steps” and reminder emails are can be developed into templates and even scheduled to send automatically after a certain number of days has passed.
- Sales Activity Alert Templates: Not all sales email templates need to be customer-focused. Consider developing email templates that alert members of your sales team when contacts and account owners change. By notifying your team when a lead is assigned to them, when it’s been a while since they were interacted with, or when their sales opportunities are approaching an expected close date, it can help prioritize follow-up and get them focusing on the right contacts at the right time.
Types of Email Marketing Templates for Business
Like sales email templates, email marketing templates can also save considerable time and team resources. Email marketing templates help expand the number of touchpoints your organization uses to engage leads and bring them back to sales-focused conversations. In doing so, you can amplify your marketing team’s power while maintaining or reducing the number of hours needed to achieve successful campaigns. Some of the opportunities that marketing teams have to use email templates include:
- Lead Nurture Campaign Email Templates: Lead nurturing (drip) campaigns are entirely built based on email templates. These can be relatively simple and contain as few as 2-3 emails that drip out over a week, or become significantly more complex. The most successful nurture campaigns enable users to select a particular “track” of content based on their exact challenges or opportunities. These campaigns use time-delay steps so that your email templates are sent out with a regular cadence and lead contacts towards a specific goal such as making their first purchase.
- Live or Online Event Invitation Templates: Companies can also use email templates successfully for event marketing. Email templates save considerable time when sending invitations, reminders, and follow-up materials. Repeatable events such as seminars, workshops and webinars can use the same general email templates each time, so carefully construct these materials and use data-driven insights to increase your attendance rates.
- Form Auto-Responder Email Templates: When contacts visit your website and fill out a form, your company should display an on-page thank-you message and follow it up with an email. These auto-responder emails are a great way to provide related resources and keep prospects engaged in your materials. Don’t let them get distracted and move on – keep their interest and recommend what they should do next!
- Marketing Engagement Alert Templates: Similar to sales alert emails, marketing alert emails are a helpful tool to improve interactions and help leads engage with your company more intuitively. Each touchpoint your marketing team uses for a contact gives more insight into what works for that person. Use triggers such as email opens and clicks, website, or social media engagements to email your audience similar content and track if they interact with it.
Email Template Tips: Planning for Sales and Marketing Success
When using email templates to achieve marketing and sales efficiency, consider the following best-practices:
- Have Permission to Email: If contacts haven’t given you their email address, they aren’t expecting to receive email from you or your company. Don’t get flagged as a spammer – do your due diligence to ensure only contacts who have given their consent receive email from you.
- Be Clear and Concise: Lengthy emails can be difficult to follow and lead to poor engagement. While different email template styles can require more or less content, focus only on what’s most essential and ensure you include an action item or next step.
- Use One Call-to-Action: Your call-to-action is your direct pitch to the contact in terms of what they need to do. Ensure you have one, but only one. Some email campaigns give the recipient too many options, which can be confusing and lead to contacts to not take any next steps.
- Make it Personal: Go beyond including first names as your only personalization technique. Instead, automate the sending of email templates to engage your audience at the times when they’re most interested. Recommend similar articles, resources, or products/services whenever possible to help them feel like they’re well-known and valued.
- Data-Driven Changes to Improve Results: Finally, ensure your email templates are tested and updated frequently. Implementing A/B tests that help better understand customer behaviour will enable your team to bring long-term improvements to its materials. In doing so, your marketing and sales teams will incrementally become more successful and lead to higher revenues.
How Email Templates Support Marketing and Sales Automation
Email templates are best used in combination with marketing automation tools. Many of the tips included in this article focus on delivering the right communications to the right person, at the right time. This can be difficult to achieve without software that automates the process. Consider implementing a marketing automation platform to receive the full benefit of templates for your sales and marketing teams.
To learn more about how to efficiently use marketing and sales automation, please download the Grow Your Sales Online: Tips for Marketing Automation white paper.