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Jed Wylie – Make Your Website Sell – Why Most Sales Emails Fail

By Tim Fuell - May 1, 2013

Make Your Website Sell

The other day I received a call from a recorded message which began “Please don’t hang up”.  I hung up.

A few days later I received another – [long pause… recording begins] “This is an important call”.  It wasn’t, I hung up.

And yesterday I received two items of post; one plain manila brown envelope and another white one with brightly coloured emblems and writing all over it.  I opened the brown envelope first.

Why did I do the exact reverse of what I was being asked to do?  Is it that I’m naturally rebellious or perhaps I’m just bloody-minded?  Well, the truth is neither (unless you speak to my wife).

In fact, I have been programmed to respond this way – most of us have.  And do you know by whom?  By the very people who want us to listen and read their messages!  How ironic is that?

So what’s really going on here and what’s it got to do with helping you sell online?

Well, my examples illustrate that the more something unimportant screams for your attention the less likely you are to respond to it.  This psychology is particularly important when it comes to email marketing.

These days our inbox is crammed with emails all demanding our time and because we receive so many our brains make judgements as to which ones are really important and which are not.  This means we have each devised a filtering system (aka the delete key).

You will typically automatically delete emails from people you don’t know and emails that look like they’re selling something (and people you don’t know are usually selling something).  So, what do the people sending the sales emails do?  They make their emails brighter, more colourful with bigger text and lots of pictures.  In other words they scream the message louder.  (These are often known as HTML emails.)

However, all they are doing is shouting even louder that they are a sales message and so get their message deleted even faster than before.  Genius!

That’s the heart of the problem with junk mail, junk telephone calls and junk emails: once your brain knows their marketing tactic it filters out their message.

But what if you want your sales emails read because you know that you can help the recipient?

The answer is easy, think about the messages that you do read.  The common factor is that they are all text – no graphics, flashy fonts or buttons, just plain old text.  These are the messages that your friends, colleagues, suppliers and customers send you.  Your email will stand a better chance of being read if it’s in that format than if it’s putting on a visual song and dance!

So, forget the flashy HTML emails and simply write your sales emails in text.  Just remember to offer your recipient lots of help and great information so they can feel the value of your business.  That way they will open, read and (most importantly) act on your email.

Jed Wylie is the author of Make Your Website Sell and works for Morgan Wylie a web design and digital marketing agency in the Midlands.