I’ve received my share of emails from various service providers. It’s amazing how many keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
For example, I once received the following from a web design firm:
Hi Mary, (Note: I use Mary Rose Maguire for everything. This means I go by Mary Rose. Just an FYI.)
I visited your website and the posts were a great read, However i also went through your site and saw quiet a few issues with your site which i would like to bring under your notice ( few of them are listed below ) as i think this is proper platform for doing so :-
1) Not responsive ( unable to view on smart phones , tabs etc. )
2) Cross browser compatible ( The site is not cross browser compatible )
We provide web development services , Let me know if you need any assistance regarding your website.
#1 Mistake: The Put-Down
I know I have issues. My husband knows I have issues. And my website has some issues.
But I don’t want to be reminded of this in the very first paragraph from a complete stranger.
If you’re using this type of approach, for the love of all that is good and holy…stop it.
Your prospect likely knows there are gaps in their system. But they also probably have a healthy ego. They’re trying to do the best they can with what they have.
So coming right out of the gate telling the person what she’s doing wrong isn’t exactly going to endear yourself to her, let alone get you the response you hope you’ll get.
#2 Mistake: Typos
Web development services depend upon detail. If you send an email filled with typos, there’s a good chance the person will think 1) you don’t pay attention to detail and 2) you don’t care.
Neither creates trust.
People want to do business with companies who care about the details. Otherwise, you put out an image of a sloppy vendor who will try to rush through a job, or worse, take a decade to get it done… all while ignoring the small details that count.
#3 Mistake: Proof
Whenever you point out that something is wrong, prove it.
Once I had a logo designer contact me and actually took the time to prove his concern about my logo (which in his expert opinion, was ordinary) by linking me to a Google Image SERP that showed patterns of similarity.
Now there’s a specific reason why I chose the image for my logo. But I truly appreciated his willingness to go the extra mile and demonstrate his concerns. I responded to his email and will keep his contact info on file.
But to tell me that my website design isn’t responsive and can’t be seen across different browsers without citing any proof is just lazy.
I don’t like doing business with lazy people because often they deliver mediocre work and expect premium fees.
My website design is a WordPress theme that is, yes, a responsive theme. And since my Google Analytics tells me that the browsers used to view this site are: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Android Browser, Safari (in-app), Opera, and Opera Mini, I think it’s safe to say that the website is not only viewed across the most popular browsers but also viewed fine on mobile.
A Better Approach
Copywriting isn’t just for web pages but also for all of your marketing communication, including email.
A better approach would have been in identifying a possible problem that I might experience with web design, such as working well with my copy. Better yet, a website design that would get better traffic.
You could follow up the intro with a lead question such as this:
“Is your website getting the attention it should? If not, you may be wondering how to improve things. You have some great add-ons to your site but you may not realize you’re missing out on one of the simplest additions of them all — one that could bring you the traffic you want…”
See the difference? That sort of language would make me sit up and take notice. It would bring up a concern of mine while also giving me a small pat on the back for doing something right.
That’s a big deal. More than you probably realize.
The Internet is filled with advice (and I’m adding more) but how many service providers use an opportunity like an email to tell you that you’re doingsomething right? Not many, from my experience.
So the next time you think someone may be a good prospect for your service, why not open up the conversation with something positive?
Focus on what the person wants and tell them they’re doing okay but could dobetter with what you’re offering. Then position your offer as a custom-made solution for their needs.
Those are the kind of emails that bring value and have a better chance of bringing in sales.
About the author: Mary Rose Maguire
Copywriter. Content marketing specialist, B2B web copy, content marketing collateral, and email marketing. Tireless advocate for testing response. David Ogilvy is my invisible mentor, along with John Caples and Claude C. Hopkins. You can find me on Google+