Writing proposals that win you projects

6 Ways To Better Engage Your Project Leads

By Brennan Dunn

Let’s move on to part 3 of my series on building up relationships automatically with your future clients.

In part 1, we talked about how to get people you meet at networking events onto a mailing list.

In part 2, we set up an editorial calendar for this list and went to work building our autoresponders.

In this article, we’re going to focus on designing and writing your autoresponder emails with the goal of squeezing out the maximum amount of engagement.

How To Write Engaging Emails

Goal: To increase the number of people who read and engage with our emails.

Imagine you just got an email from a friend. What are some of the traits you can expect this email to have?

  • It’s likely plain text
  • It’s addressed to you
  • You’re expected to reply to it

Now compare that to the GroupOn promotion you got the other day, or a Spring sale email from your favorite online store.

Totally different, right? The email from a friend is a letter from a human to another human. The promotion email is auto-generated, loaded with images, and — in general — visually scattered, like the coupon inserts you might find in the Sunday paper.

The more we humanize our autoresponder emails, the more likely we are to have our audience engage with us. After all, most professionals live in their inboxes. It’s where work happens. And it’s immediately obvious which emails are low priority, auto-generated machine emails.

The top 6 ways to write autoresponder emails that actually get read…

  1. Your subject needs to be awesome enough to get someone to open up your email. Ideally, it should reflect what takeaway the reader will get. Here’s an example: “A few tips on how great design can make your business more money”
  2. Ditch the template. Don’t opt for just plaintext, but find a barebones HTML template that will allow you to bolditalicize, and underline your copy.
  3. Start each email off with “Hey $FIRST_NAME”, or whatever salutation fits your audience (this might be “Dear” instead of “Hey” or “Hi”.) Make sure that you include the recipient’s name, though.
  4. Instead of thinking that this email you’re writing is going out to hundreds or thousands of people, write your emails as if they were being sent to just one person.
  5. Include a call-to-action right before your signature. “I hope you got a lot out of today’s discussion on how design affects your bottom line. Reply to this email and let me know how you plan on using this info to change something about your business.”
  6. Close your email with an expectation of what’s coming next, and a signature that fits well with your salutation. If you opened with “Hey Andy,”, you might close with “Cheers, – Brennan”

…Point #4 addresses the call-to-action — in this case, asking a reader to reply. Next, we’ll dig into why we want actual email replies (vs. taking a survey or whatever else) and how we can use the replies we collect to further optimize our emails AND our general marketing.