Using Email to Connect with Buyers

When I started my business as a sales rep, I traveled to my retailers to show them my new products and take their orders.  When I narrowed my sales territory to Idaho, I visited each area at least twice a year — but gas prices, at the time, were under $1.50/gallon!!

For the typical producer (and even reps), this is no longer the most practical way to sell to retailers.

One of the next best ways to contact buyers is via email.  But how do you make your email stand out among the hundreds of other emails a buyer receives every day?

Following are some tips from Wholesale in a Box on email marketing:

If you’re new to this and need a bit of a checklist for what to include and consider in writing this email, keep in mind:

  • DO keep the email short and concise (while also staying warm in your tone.)
  • DO be specific about what your line is.
  • DO give them an easy place to review your work, prices, and wholesale terms, whether an attached line sheet, a link to your website, or even your Etsy shop.
  • DON’T use a service like mailchimp and risk looking like you’ve mass-emailed stores (always a bad idea.)
  • DON’T make them ask for additional information or prices — make sure they have everything they’d need to make a decision about the line from the start.
  • DO put a reminder on your calendar to follow up with them in a few weeks

Just as important than the email itself is the follow-up system you use after sending that first email. Don’t expect the buyer to get back to you right away!  If they do, celebrate, because that is not the typical scenario!!

Most stores will require a second, third, fourth or more emails before they buy.  And of course, there is nothing wrong with placing a phone call in and around any emails you send.

Basically, you are trying to develop a relationship with the buyer — assuring them that you are wanting to work with them to help increase their store profits.

How many times should you follow-up with a potential buyer?  Until they give you a firm no.  They are always a potential customer until they tell you that don’t want your products in their store.  Normally, there is a good reason for a no, so don’t take it personally — justmove on to the next potential store!

If you are interested in more articles on email marketing, click here!

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Best Email List Opt-In Options

I’ve read tons of information on-line on why to have an email list and how to write a good email, but what about how to get visitors to your website to sign up for your email list.

Artsy Shark offers some of the following options:

How do you gather email subscriber names and emails Best Email List Opt-In Optionsonline?

Your website should have an opt-in form, preferably popping up when visitors come to your website. That opt-in form needs to give them a reason to subscribe to your email campaigns … Here are some incentives artists have used to gain subscribers:

  • Subscribe to get an exclusive preview of your newest work
  • Subscribe to receive free shipping on first purchase
  • Subscribe to be invited to VIP events
  • Subscribe to receive invitations to your shows and fairs
  • Subscribe to receive a discount on first purchase
  • Subscribe to get a free download of your art to use as wallpaper

Other options to build your email list would include the following (that I have personally used:

  1. Offer a free report or tips sheet
  2. Offer a limited email subscription to an industry-related ‘How To” series
  3. Offer a list of industry-related tools

The options are endless, if you give it much thought.  In my case, I just needed to remember what challenges I faced when I first started in the field and what I wished I knew at the time that I know now!

There are plenty of email service providers to chose from and each supplies instructions and tutorials on how to use them — so I won’t go into that at this time.  But I will refer you to the Artsy Shark article for more information on where to place your sign up forms:

Where else can you place opt-in forms on your website?

A popup form is a nice start, but there are actually lots of other places on your website where you can solicit email subscribers. Here are some of them:

  • Place a subscriber offer in a colored bar that sits above the header at the very top of your Home page.
  • Put a subscriber link or form in a sidebar if you have that in your site layout.
  • Place a subscription offer on your About page.
  • Place a subscription offer on your Contact page.
  • Create a full “landing page” on your website for the purpose of attracting subscribers, telling your story, sharing your art, and extending your offers.
  • Got a blog? Ask subscribers to sign up through a link at the bottom of the article.
  • Or, place a subscriber request in the middle of a blog post.

Make sure to read the full article

 

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How Can I Get Buyers to Open My Emails?

Email is the quickest, cheapest and most effective way to contact buyers.  It is easy to write out emails and easy for buyers to read it at their convenience.

But then why is it so hard to get buyers to read emails?  Because they are quick, easy and ineffective in attracting buyers!!

So how can we get buyers to open and READ our emails?

Well, from my experience, there are two obvious killers to getting your email How Can I Get Buyers to Open My Emails?read:

  1.  Addressing the email to sir/madam and any other generic name rather than using the name of the buyer.
  2. Sending a ‘cookie cuter’ email to every buyer you know.  (Do you think buyers can’t spot that tactic a mile away??)

There are numerous article on how to write a good email.  Here are some of the tips I found from some of the experts on email marketing:

What to write in a subject line to increase its chance of getting opened

Firstly, there needs to be a connection between the subject line and the content. You can’t just write what you think is a great hook to try and get them to open your email, and then when they open the email they find it’s a sales pitch all about you. All that does is ensure they will never open an email from you again.

The subject line has to be something which when the recipient receives it they are immediately thinking ‘that is something that is really important to me right now’. Not just of vague interest, but critical interest. Most email subject lines I receive have literally nothing to do with anything I truly care about. Some are of vague interest and I may click on those, but it all depends on how busy I am, so it’s a risky bet. A few are right in the centre of my world and I always open those.

~ The Business of Trust

 

Stop pitching over email

Too many salespeople prematurely pitch over email. They describe the features and benefits of their products and services, what they do and how they do it. As should be evident by the low response rate these types of emails get, their pitch is falling on deaf ears.

What should you do instead? Determine whether a prospect has a need before pitching anything.

In your first emails to a new prospect, try keeping your messages short and about your buyer.

~ Hubspot

 

Customize the Subject Line 

The subject line of your email is the single most important 50 characters of the entire email – it is your first point of contact with the buyer, and it can singlehandedly win or lose a lead. Creating a good subject line depends on three key elements:

Keep it short and sweet: Choose succinct words that pack a punch – you have the rest of the email to inform your buyers of your intention, but only a few words to grab their attention. Active, descriptive words will catch their eye and hold it long enough to get the email open.

~Act-On

I found that the best approach is practice, practice, practice — watch what works and repeat!

Interested in some email templates?  Check out HubSpot’s article:

3 Sales Email Templates to Get and Keep Buyers’ Attention

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Wholesale Prospecting Tips 101

Prospecting for wholesale accounts is a methodological process that can be learned.  As a semi-retired sales rep, I can share some of the wholesale prospecting tips I have learned over the years.

First, the best way to prospect accounts is to visit the town or area where you want to open an account and visit stores in the area that sell similar products.  Often, if you find a small store or an independent retailer, you can talk to them about your product line on the spot.

Of course, unless you do a lot of traveling, this method is not a good long-term strategy!  Most vendors use phone and email to contact buyers to present their products.  It is quick, easy and cost effect.

The Arts Business Institute posted an article last month that outlined some good tips for email prospecting that are excellent.

A quick summary of tips that can work for you:

  1. Verify that a particular store is good fit for your products.  It only wastes their time and yours to pitch your line to a store that does not carry anything similar to what you make!
  2. Always use the buyers name in your correspondence.  Nothing screams inexperience or thoughtless emails than addressing to Dear Sir/Madame or Dear Buyer.  Or worse yet, sending out a form letter to a group of retail stores or buyers!!
  3. Customize your emails as much as possible.  If you cannot physically visit the retailer, at lease check out their website, the products the already stock and get a feel for what this store offers their customers.  When you have this information in hand, you can correspond more intelligently with their buyers.
  4. Stay in touch with your emailed buyers.  It often takes several contacts before a buyer will actually place an order, so follow-up is critical.  If you want orders, keep following up until you get a firm commitment from the buyers.
  5. And when you finally land the order, make sure to follow through on all the promises and agreements you made.  If you promised a certain ship date, make sure you ship in plenty of time for the buyer to receive the product BEFORE that time.

For more information, check out the complete article from the Arts Business Institute:

Prospecting Tips for Artists Who Wholesale