We all get them: those pushy sales emails pitching a shiny new product or service with phrases like "utilizes machine learning to source more leads" or "optimizes your marketing emails".
Most of us just roll our eyes, delete the message, and hope the terrible "Did you get my last email?" follow-up doesn't appear the next day.
But it probably will. Unfortunately, emails that simply provide a list of random features are practically the norm with sales email copywriting these days. They're also meaningless to your prospective customers because features without context can't articulate the value your company provides. That means they're also unlikely to inspire many responses to your email.
Sometimes these feature lists happen because of laziness. But the main culprit is confusion: there are still tons of salespeople out there who don't understand the difference between the features of their product and the benefits that product provides.
The good news is, this is easy to fix. Here are four ways to turn benefits into features and ensure more positive responses to your email campaigns:
1. Focus on your customer, not yourself.
Pitching a list of features to your prospective clients make you seem self-absorbed. It's no different than the annoying person in the office who can't stop talking about what school they graduated from or all the high-powered business people they know. None of it means anything if you can't prove those features will help the other person's business in some way, either through adding value or solving a problem.
If you're selling a marketing tool, a line like, "completely automate your customer interactions" doesn't tell me why my business should even care about automation in the first place. Instead, "Automate your marketing emails so your clients receive product information they actually want" is a more effective description. Remember, features make you look like a show off; benefits tell the customer how you'll help their company grow.
2. Narrow your focus to specific benefits.
It's tempting to think a generic email with a long (probably bulleted) list of features will appeal to a greater number of people and therefore get you more responses. It won't. A feature list tells your customers you have no idea what they want and that you expect them to tell you what they need.
For example, "We write email templates that convert more leads for your sales team" could be sent to anyone and is so vague it will appeal to no one. Compare that to, "Our emails increase response rates by 300%, so you don't burn good lead lists on bad copy." This is a laser-focused statement explaining exactly how the recipient's business will improve. It also describes a scenario--burning a good list of leads--most in sales and marketing know and hope to avoid.
Keep in mind that not all potential customers need the same benefits. Before you choose the benefits to focus on, refer to the research you've done on each contact to match the right benefit with the right role.
3. Replace technical jargon with language the contact will relate to.
Jargon is especially a problem if your product or service is technical in nature, like application development platforms or data analysis tools. Not everyone on your list will understand what your company "does." Lines like, "We analyze your CRM data so you can bring accurate numbers into your EOQ QBRs" can potentially alienate tons of leads.
Why? Because prospective clients may not understand how your product functions, and a list full of jargon isn't going to bring them any closer. As salespeople, it's our job to educate these people by showing them "how" not telling them "what." Good salespeople are in the job of helping others with their business, not just closing deals to reach quota.
Opt for the simplest language possible in sales emails. And before you hit "send," scan your text on more time to see if you can replace any complex phrases or words with more straightforward terms.
4. Turn your benefits into calls to action.
It's hard to ask someone if they need something when they don't know what it does for them. I may need a new car, but the way to sell it to me is not by asking, "Do you have 30 minutes next week to see a demo of this awesome vehicle?"
It would be much better to ask, "Can we set up a quick call next week to discuss how this car can cut your transportation costs by 50% while upping your coolness by 100%?" Benefits can be used in calls to action, but features are just a list of things that your product does.
Running a successful company is about building long-term value for your business and, more importantly, your customers. Every one of your interactions with potential (or current) clients needs to be focused on how you plan on helping them reach their goals. Features will never convey that feeling. Pitching benefits, then delivering on them, is the only way to earn trust.