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Effective Email Communications
By Ralph Hudson

Quite often, the weakest link between a lead from your website and a potential sale is your email response to the prospect.
Here’s a list of tips that may improve your web marketing sales results.

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 “green”.

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 altogether.

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 difference.

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.


Ralph and Kay Hudson, are the owners of American Builders Network, a marketing program and directory for established home builders.  They can be reached toll-free at 1-877-539-8588 or contact us via email.

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