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American Builders Network
By Ralph Hudson
Quite often, the weakest link between a lead
from your website and a potential sale is your email response to the
Here’s a list of tips that may improve your web marketing
1. Subject Line – Be sure to include both your company name
and the prospects’ name here. For example, “Able Builders Co. – Sue
Jones Inquiry”. Doing this will not only remind the prospect of
their inquiry, but just in case your email was filtered into their
junk file, they are much more likely to spot it if they are quickly
scanning their junk mail file.
2. Return Address – Use your domain name in your return
address rather than a free email program address like hotmail.com,
yahoo.com or g-mail.com. “You@AbleBuilders.com” looks more
professional and may make it through more email filters.
3. Respond by Name – Use the prospects’ name in your greeting
rather than just diving into your reply. If your market is first
time buyers you might simply start with just the first name, e.g.,
“Sue”, however if you’re selling in a retirement community, a “Dear
Mr. Smith” may be more appropriate.
4. Consider Your Market – Choosing the right tone and word
selection depends to a great degree on your target market. If you’re
building in an area like Silicon Valley, you’re probably safe with
more technical language than when selling in a retirement community
in Florida. Building industry jargon is probably best avoided. Older
words will generally be better understood by more of your prospects
than newer words, e.g., “energy efficiency” vs. “zero impact” or
5. Using Humor & Sarcasm – Unlike face-to-face or even
telephone communications, email does not give your reader the
opportunity to judge facial expressions or tone-of-voice so using
humor or sarcasm can be extremely tricky – probably best to avoid it
until your prospect knows you well, and visa-versa.
6. Answer Questions – If a prospect asks specific questions,
address them early-on rather than burying your answers deep in the
body of your response or ignoring/forgetting the questions
7. Check Spelling and Punctuation – Normally you can count on
your spell checker to pick up misspellings, but don’t depend on it
100% since many words are spelled similarly but have different
meanings, e.g., “very” and “vary” – your spell checker won’t
identify either as a misspelled word.
The Outlook email program has an option for checking grammar;
however, some email programs only offer spell checking.
8. Make Links Clickable – If you’re sending a link, one
either to your website or to another website, your email program
will allow you to make that web address a clickable link. All your
prospect has to do is click on it to take them to the page or
website, much better than making the prospect cut-n-paste.
9. Don’t Discount Any Lead – Just as with people coming into
your model, some are more communicative than others are; email
contacts can be the same and getting a dialog started can be
difficult. Just because a prospect is short with words, does not
mean they’re not seriously considering you to build their home.
10. Use Your Mailboxes – Just because you don’t have a
sophisticated ‘Contact Management Program’ doesn’t mean you can’t do
a good job of tracking leads. With just a little imagination, your
email program’s ‘Mailboxes’ can serve as a good lead tracking
program. “Local Leads Pending”, “Out-of-State Leads”, “Follow-up
January”, “Follow-up February”, etc. are simple ways to track leads
from your mailboxes. In addition, you can send yourself a reminder
email to arrive on a specific date and time in the future.
11. Confirm Receipt – Because of spam filters, it’s difficult
to be certain that your email has been seen by the prospect. If they
gave you a phone number in their contact, you can call to advise
that you have sent the email, tell them what the subject line is and
the time you sent it. That way, even if it did go into their spam
filter, it will be easy to find. That phone call may also give you a
chance to further develop the dialog.
Another option is to use the Return Receipt function in your email
program, but some may have a negative connotation with that approach
and not respond to the prompt.
12. Scan Your Junk In-Box – Those spam filters work both
ways. You will occasionally find an email that you really want to
receive in your spam or junk file. Before deleting those emails,
give the Subject lines a quick scan.
13. Contact Information – Be sure to give the prospect all
the information they need to contact you, either in the body of your
message or included in the signature lines. Consider providing
phone, fax, cell, toll-free numbers and the best time to reach you.
14. Common email to Multiple Recipients – Unless you’re
addressing 100s of prospects for an announcement or a newsletter,
it’s probably best to send an email to each prospect individually
rather than using your “Recipients” list. The danger of exposing
everyone’s email address to your entire list can irritate some. Even
if you use the Bcc (blind carbon copy) the results won’t be as
personal and professional. There are a number of companies that
offer services that allow you to send a common email to multiple
recipients – google “email list serve” for more information.
15. Your Closing – A pleasant conclusion is appropriate in
just about all cases. A “Best Regards” or “Sincerely” can make a
16. Promptness – Although there is nothing more
important than promptness in responding to your leads, if you cannot
respond to your leads within a couple of hours, consider using an auto responder.
When added to your contact form your prospect gets an immediate
reply from you. Even if you simply thank the prospect for contacting
you, give them your cell or phone number and tell them the best time
to call you.