We can make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. -- Winston Churchill
Its a lesser known fact that we never started out building ToutApp to be a sales productivity tool or a email analytics platform. We never imagined that the software we build would end up helping salespeople be better at their jobs or marketing and sales work better together. Although we’ve grown up to do a lot of these things and are slowly becoming the leading provider of Sales Email Analytics, we started this company nearly two years ago with one simple goal: help people communicate better.
In that spirit, we’re more excited than ever to introduce the Tout for Tout program so that we can take helping people and helping people communicate to a whole new level.
Introducing Tout for Tout
Although the majority of our paying customers and our user base (we don’t consider those two things the same thing) are businesses and business professionals, we’ve always recognized that nonprofits could greatly benefit from our platform as well.
For nonprofits, outbound communication is of utmost importance. And what many profits don’t realize is how most of their recipients are super-receptive to their emails. People are more likely to open an email from a nonprofits than most industries combined.
But many nonprofits lack the resources and tools to take that extra step after they have hit send on their emails. They’re often run by volunteers that require re-training, have budgets that can’t always justify the fanciest tools and more importantly, can always use more help.
How does Tout for Tout work?
For Every ToutApp Enterprise Edition Sold, we’ll donate ToutApp, for free, to a nonprofit interested in improving their email communications and productivity.
We hope this model spreads to more startups
The “Tout for Tout” program is about taking our platform and making it available to the types of organizations that can’t necessary spend the big bucks but are out there every day actuating positive change in this world.
And its not about just our software either. Our Happiness Officers and Engineers have also pledged part of their time to help these nonprofits make use of these tools as well. We’re super excited about this program and we hope that over time this type of model gets adopted by other startups as well.
The 182+ billion business emails sent every day show that email is clearly an important channel for communication. Email connects us not only to our co-workers, but also to key customers. Whether you’re in sales, customer service, product development, or marketing, you’ll likely need to interface with your customers on a regular basis. These users are the bread and butter of your business, so it’s important to communicate well with them. Our platform has processed millions of emails, so we know what types of emails are successful. Below are some tips we’ve come up with for writing effective customer emails.
Should you CC people?
Do CC the people on your team who are going to be working with your customers, as well as anyone on their end who should take part in the conversation. It is important for everyone to be on the same page.
Hi, Dear, Ello, Greetings...
How do you introduce yourself to new customers? Internally we use “hey” because that is part of our voice with users. We make it a point to be informal and accessible to our users. However, it’s up to to find your voice with your customers. Keep in mind that formal is effective, yet boring.
Be concise and to the point
Do not try and make your email longer than it needs to be. It is important the the first few lines convey the key message and anything after that is just supporting information. Do not create heavy content. Long and dense content often backfires because the purpose of the email gets lost. Minimize any non essential content when sending your emails.
Keep it simple, stupid
Communicate simply. Not only do you want to send a personalized email, but you’ll want to use user-friendly language. At ToutApp, we talk a lot as a team about email deliverability, workflow, and servers. In the end, our users want to know that their emails are going out - period. Don’t get too bogged down with internal terms or abbreviations. Your users likely aren’t familiar with them, and your message won’t resonate.
Know that you are dealing with actual human beings. You should have a basic background about this person or their company. Figure out and visualize what it would be like if you were actually talking to them person. Be cognisant of the language they are using and relay that into the content you are sending back to them. Show that you have a pulse, that your care about what you are sending and who you are sending it to and show that you aren’t just sending an email en masse. Don't even think about making your emails generic.
Don’t leave them hanging
Don’t be vague. When you send someone an email, you need to ask yourself what it is you would like them to do. Do you want them to reply to your email? Do you want them to join your service? If you need information from customers, make sure to list it out very clearly. Let them know how to get back in touch with you - whether that be via email, your phone, or setting up time for a meeting.
Are you using ToutApp for your sales, business development and business emails yet?
Start Touting Today!
For any company, communicating with your customer base is essential. It can also be very frustrating.
I see this daily with some of our users, whether they’re emailing prospects, current customers, or even potential new employers. Someone will write to us claiming that their Tout analytics aren’t working because no one’s opened the emails they sent. I check and, yes, their emails have been sent. It’s just that no one has opened or responded to them.
All too often, this has to do with the email itself, and I get to tell them: Okay, everything on our end seems to be fine. But maybe your messaging isn’t working?
Here’s 4 common trends I’ve noticed in their communications and also in my own emails:
1) Your tone is too formal.
How would you write an email to your best friend? A sibling? Parent? Got that in your head?
Now think about how you’d write an email to a current customer or prospect.
If these two scenarios are entirely different, I urge you to reconsider your tone. No one wants to be addressed as “Dear Sir or Madam.” In fact, I’d argue that tone makes emails seem grossly automated rather than appropriately deferential. Keep it casual, keep it light, and keep in mind you’re a human talking to other humans.
2) Your email is too long.
No matter what you’re saying to your customers, it should not take two pages of text to say it. So if you find yourself saying the same thing over and over again in an email, stop. Eliminate redundancy. And move on.
If you feel yourself getting particularly verbose in your writing, more often than not you’ll likely need to take a step back and assess how to best cut down on your extra words.
3) You’ve got large blocks of text.
I’ve separated this blog entry into different items so that you’re not staring at a huge page of text with no breaks. Try to do something similar by breaking paragraphs often or making lists:
- Put yourself in the mind of the customer
- Create a process for them to follow
- Order this so that you are providing an organized breakdown of a list for them
Also, don’t forget to bold important pieces of content so they don’t get lost.
4) You’ve forgotten a call to action.
What are you trying to get your customer to do? It’s important to make this call to action pretty clear from the start and crystal clear at the end. Signing off on your emails with a “Just wanted to say hi....”, a “give me a call if,” or similar is a weak call to action that requires too much effort to act on.
Instead, ask your customers if 12pm on Tuesday works for a call to talk to them. Send them a link to a relevant article. Offer them a special deal or a walkthrough of your product. Include tracking links (we generate these automatically when you send emails through our service) so you can see how well each of your calls to action work.
I hope this helps! What other tactics have you found to increase engagement through your communications?