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Video: Why Use Templates to Send Sales Emails? (3:32)

You probably send a lot of emails. That takes time, and for a sales professional, time is money. There are many options for sending email more efficiently, but this video will explain why email templates are the best option.

Hey, it’s Kyle from HubSpot Academy. Let’s talk about about email templates.

Why should you use templates to send your emails?  

You probably don’t need anyone to tell you that, as a sales rep, time is a precious commodity. But if you’re composing every single email from scratch, you’re almost certainly spending a lot of time typing the same things over and over and over and over and over again. Some of these will be basic things like “Hello” and “Thank you for speaking with me today” or “Sorry I missed you.” But if take a quick stroll through the sent folder in your email account, you’ll also find entire sentences and paragraphs that are nearly identical from one email to the next. These might be questions you’ve made a habit of asking your contacts, or they might be your answers to common questions and objection from your contacts. Either way, that’s a lot of time you’re taking out of your day to do something that isn’t bringing you a lot of value.

But what’s the alternative? You don’t want to be the kind of person who writes emails that start out “To whom it may concern” and then blithely sends identical messages to all of your contacts. Emails like that are probably about as effective as shaving with peanut butter. I haven’t actually tried that, but it seems like a bad idea. The point is, if you sacrifice personalization to be more efficient, you probably won’t really gain much. The goal, then, is to find a way to balance personalization and efficiency.

There are a slew of products out there that aim to help with this, many of which offer a mail merge feature. Mail merge programs allow you to take a document, add a few dynamic fields that get populated with the recipient’s first name and other basic information, and then blast it out to large number of contacts at once. This means you can have one standard email that you send to all of your contacts. But it won’t start out with “To whom it may concern.” Instead, it might start with “Dear Jamie” or “Dear Casey” or “Dear” whatever your contact’s first name is.

Sounds great, right? No. I’m going to make this real clear: if you’re using mail merge, you are not sending personalized emails.

Think about it: how many times have you gotten an email that has your name in the greeting--or even in the subject line--but it turns out to be totally irrelevant to you? How often do you actually engage with an email like that? Mmm, probably about never. Your buyers are no different. They’re smart, and they’ll know right away if you’re sending them an email that you’ve sent to a thousand other people. Even if you’re offering them something they might actually need, people won’t engage with you if you make them feel like a name on a list.

This thinking is built right into HubSpot Sales, which is why, if you’ve been hunting around for a way to send one email to all of your contacts, you haven’t been able to find it--it isn’t there.

So you might be wondering, “Then how do I reach out to my contacts?” The answer is, “One at a time.”

Sound like a lot of work? Don’t worry. That’s where email templates come into play. Email templates are like cruise control: they help you maintain a steady speed, but you still have to keep your eyes on the road and steer. Unlike mail merge programs, which mindlessly send the same content to everybody, email templates take care of the broad strokes of an email but leave you in control of the details.

In the next video, you’ll see how to use these templates to make your life easier while still treating your contacts like the special little snowflakes they are.

Quiz: Why Use Templates to Send Sales Emails?

Answer a few quick questions based on the previous video

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Video: How to Use Sales Email Templates (11:22)

Now that you know why email templates are worth using, it's time to talk about the best way to use them. This video covers best practices for email and how to use those best practices to create email templates that drive results.

This video is all about how to use templates to send personalized emails more efficiently. Let’s start by talking about what it takes to write a really solid email, and then we’ll talk about how to turn those emails into templates.

Here are four pro tips that’ll help you write emails that are worth turning into templates.

First, every email needs to have a purpose--a reason that the contact will actually want to receive it. Maybe your boss requires you to send a certain number of emails each month, but your contacts really don’t care about that. They only want to see an email from you if it helps them somehow.

If you want to create a really great email that you can then turn into a really great email template, you have to be laser focused on the purpose of it. And don’t think about this in terms of what you want to accomplish--scheduling a meeting or closing a sale. Instead, think about what you’re trying to help your contact accomplish. Is there a question you’re answering for them? Is there a misconception you’re helping them clarify? Once this email becomes a template, you’ll need to know that so you know exactly when to use it.

And keep in mind, people need different things at different times. Someone who’s just figuring out that they have a problem isn’t going to be looking for a solution quite yet, so they’ll be more interested in educational content than in product comparisons. But once you’ve met with someone and they’re trying to decide between you and your competitors, a product comparison might be exactly what they need. This means you need to create a set of templates, with different templates for each step of your sales process.

It’s worth noting here that email is not the only way to reach out to a person. Especially when you’re first making contact, try to think of options besides sending an email. For example, if someone writes a blog post or says something on a form that makes you think they might be looking for a solution like yours, a good first step would be commenting on their post. Engage with them where they are. Nobody likes to receive an email from a stranger. So whenever you can, start by sharing helpful content with them elsewhere. You can always move the conversation to email later. So as you consider the purpose of your templates, ask yourself if email is the best way to accomplish that purpose.

Next, every email needs to be written for a particular kind of person. This is one place where buyer personas come in handy. In the class on contacts and custom views, a persona is described as little more than a job title. But when you’re creating email templates, you’ll need to think about other aspects of your persona as well.

Think about it: even if you work exclusively with, say, CEOs, you probably have a few different kinds of customers. Some will be data-driven executives at well-established companies who want to talk about things like ROI and sunk costs. Others could be the founders of bootstrapped startups who aren’t interested in fancy-schmancy investor-speak and are just looking for a way to get up and running. If you work with both groups, you’ll definitely want two different buyer personas--and, therefore, two different sets of templates.

Just to be clear, you don’t have to do this all at once. Start by thinking of a particular kind of person you work with on a regular basis. Now think about a question or concern that kind of person is likely to have. Now write an email that helps with that. Better yet, find an email you’ve already sent that got a good response. If you’ve sent an email to someone, and they wrote back, “That helps a lot--thank you!” then that’s exactly the sort of email you want to turn into a template.

Next, anytime you write an email, you want to keep your subject lines short and relevant. As it turns out, subject lines matter. A lot. This is the first impression your contacts get of your email, and if they don’t like it, they won’t open it. One study found that 33% of recipients open emails based on subject line alone, and 69% of recipients report messages as spam based on their subject lines alone. Harsh.

The good news is that subject lines are pretty easy to improve over time. If you’re sending out a lot of emails with the same subject, you’ll be able to judge that subject line by how many people are opening those emails. The class on the email extension discusses that more.

If you’re struggling to come up with a subject line, here’s a good place to start:

First, think about your prospect and the problem you’re helping them solve. Let’s say you represent a recruiting agency that helps people find, acquire, and onboard new talent. That’s a fine mission statement, but it’s too long for a subject line. Figure out a way to express the same idea in three words or less. So if you are a recruiting agency, the one-word version would probably be “hiring.” In that case, your subject line can be as simple as, “Question about hiring.” In general, you want your subject line to be as short as possible. “Question about hiring,” “Thoughts on payroll,” “Idea for online rental payments”--whatever it is you help people do, get that into the subject line in as few words as possible. Shoot to get it below 30 characters because, if your email gets opened on a mobile device (and 40% of all emails do), then your subject line’s going to get cut off at that point anyway.

Finally, as you’re writing that email, personalize, personalize, personalize. If you’re looking at an email you sent previously, look for parts of it that are only relevant to the person you sent it to. A good way to do this is to ask yourself, “If I was going to send this email to a different person, what parts would I have to change?” At the very least, the greeting should have to change, but hopefully there are other parts, too. Maybe a passing reference to a previous conversation, or some detail that’s specific to the person’s company or location. Take note of these things. They’ll help a lot as you turn this email into a template, which is what we’re going to do now.

Every template in HubSpot Sales needs three things: a name, a subject, and a body.

The name is only displayed internally. Your contacts won’t see it, but you’ll need to know what it is in order to find the template and use it to send an email. So name your templates something you’ll be able to remember easily. For example, if you have a sales process where the final decision maker often joins the conversation later on, and you’re creating a template that provides them with a product comparison to look over while they make up their mind, then you might want to call the template “Decision Maker - Product Comparison.”

However you decide to name your templates, make sure the names are clear and easy to remember. And, if your templates will be shared with other members of your team, work with them to come up with a naming convention that makes sense to everyone.

The subject of the template will become the subject line of the emails you send using that template. Remember, the best subject lines are short and relevant. Follow the pro tips we already discussed, and you’ll do fine.

The body is the actual text of the email itself. Some of this will be identical in every email that you create from this template, but remember--personalization is key. This is why it’s so important to pick out the bits of an email that are specific to the recipient. There are two main ways to preserve that personal feel as you templatize the email: personalization tokens and fill-in-the-blank areas.

Personalization tokens pull in basic information about the contact and their company. If you’ve created a custom view, you’ve seen how long the CRM’s list of properties is. They can all be used as personalization tokens in an email template. You’ll use these to put in the contact’s name and any other basic details the email requires. But personalization tokens are the lowest form of personalization. They’re down on the level of mail merge programs. You should still use them because they’ll save you a little bit of time and because they’ll help you avoid silly mistakes like misspelling a contact’s name. But don’t rely on them to make your email feel personalized. For that, you’ll want to add some fill-in-the-blank areas.

Fill-in-the-blank areas are the secret ingredients that make a template different from mail merge. Because here’s the deal: if you’re using email templates, you should be customizing every email you send out. If you create a template and send it without manually adding any information, you risk falling into all the same traps as you would if you were using mail merge.

What this means for you as you’re creating your templates is that you need to make sure there’s room for you to drop in things that are unique to the recipient. How you do this is up to you. You might put a few blank lines up at the top so you can reference a previous conversation, or add a few lines at the end to reference an upcoming meeting.

If you’re creating a template to use when you’re first making contact with someone, you can add reminders to yourself to explain why you’re reaching out. Maybe you were referred to them by one of their colleagues. Perhaps their company was recently featured in the news and you have a way to help with whatever changes they’re going through. In that case, you might add a note in the middle of the email that says something like, “RECENT NEWS EVENT GOES HERE.” Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that’ll make sense to you when you use the template to send an email.

By the way, when you use a template to send an email, double check to make sure you’ve filled in all the blanks. It would be pretty embarrassing to send an email that still says, “RECENT NEWS EVENT GOES HERE.”

As you add personalization tokens and fill-in-the-blank areas to your templates, have a goal of referring to the buyer at least twice as much as you refer to yourself. Make sure the email is primarily about them and their needs. This is especially important when you’re first establishing a relationship with the person. Your ability to help them will only matter if you can prove that you understand what they need help with.

Once you’ve added personalization tokens and fill-in-the-blank areas, you’ll be left with the static pieces of text that will probably be included in every email you send using this template. Make sure this static text really shines. This is another place your buyer personas are really going to come in handy. Even if your buyer persona is just a job title right now, it’ll help you understand what angle they approach a problem from. Does your solution help with a problem that affects them personally, or is it meant to benefit the team they manage or their company as a whole? Make sure the static text reflects that.

But you can dig into this even further. Look back over the email exchanges you’ve had with past customers. But this time, instead of looking at what you wrote, pay attention to what they wrote. When they tell you about their goals and challenges, are there particular words and phrases that come up again and again from one customer to the next? Make sure your templates use those words and phrases. People will be much more apt to talk with you when you’re speaking their language.

In addition to professional information, your buyer persona can include demographic information as well. This will also help you design your templates. If you tend to work with 60-year-old banking executives, referencing the show you’ve been binge watching on Netflix probably won’t do much to build rapport. On the other hand, if you’re targeting recent college graduates, that might not be a bad way to go.

Okay, you’re now ready to create a template. And once you’ve done that, those contact timelines will start to fill up with the emails you’re sending and receiving. Ready to see how it works? The next video will walk you through the details.
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Video: Sales Email Templates in Action (2:15)

Here's an example of turning an effective email into a scalable template.

Let’s take a look at how you might go about turning an email into a template. For this example, we’ll use the fictional sales rep we introduced in the class on custom views: Bob at Groundskeeper, Inc. Bob sells landscaping services to small property management companies. Because he works primarily with business owners, it’s pretty common for his contacts to get busy and forget to respond to his emails. He typically gives his new contacts five chances to respond before he gives up and looks for a different contact at their company.

Bob recently sent his fifth and final email to a contact. He decided to try something new and tell the contact that this was their last chance to buy. Here’s the email he sent:

Hey Chris,
I was just going through my records and realized I haven’t heard back from you on the lawn maintenance contract we discussed for A1 Management. Typically, when I don’t get a response from someone after a couple of attempts, it’s because they’re either really busy or not interested. If landscaping is still a priority, let me know. Otherwise, I’ll let you go.
Have a great weekend,

This email got a response the same day Bob sent it, so he wants to turn it into a template and see if it works for other contacts who have gone silent. So he copies the email and creates a new template. Bob names this template “Owner - Breakup email” because it’s the final email he’ll send when working with a company owner. He makes the subject “Question about landscaping” and pastes the email into the body.

In order to turn this email into a template that can be sent to other contacts, Bob needs to be sure to change everything that’s unique to Chris. First he looks for information that can be handled by personalization tokens. He finds two. So he replaces Chris’s name with a token for the First Name contact property, and he replaces A1 Management with a token for the Name company property. Next, Bob looks for opportunities to use fill-in-the-blank areas. He finds two of these as well. First he replaces “lawn maintenance contract” with “SERVICE OFFERING GOES HERE.” He also replaces “Have a great weekend” with “PERSONALIZED SIGN-OFF GOES HERE.”

Bob saves the template, and now he has a breakup email that can be used anytime a contact stops responding to him. Great work, Bob!

In the next video, we’ll walk through the details of creating and sending email templates.
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Blog Post: 28 Sales Prospecting Email Templates Guaranteed to Start a Relationship

This blog post explains the do's and don'ts of sending email and provides 28 sample templates to help you get started.


Quiz: Evaluating Email Templates

Look at the sample templates and identify improvements.

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Tool Walk-Through: Creating Sales Email Templates in HubSpot (1:43)

This video walks through the details of creating and sending a template.

To get to the Templates page, click on the Sales Tools dropdown and select Templates. To create a new template, click the Create Template button and select “From Scratch” from the dropdown

Every template needs three things: a name, a subject, and a body. The name will only be displayed internally. Your contacts will never see the template name, so feel free to call it whatever makes the most sense to you. Whenever you use a template, you’ll need to know its name in order to find it, so be sure that the name is clear and easy to remember. You might also want to develop naming conventions with your team so that everyone can understand what each template is for.

The subject line is the first impression your contact will have of your email. Keep it short and make sure it’s clear and relevant to your buyer’s needs.

The body of the email needs to be short, helpful, and personalized. You can use personalization tokens to pull in information from contact properties and from company properties, but you’ll also want to add some fill-in-the-blank areas to make sure that you customize the template fully each time you send it out.

To save the template, click the “Save template” button. If you ever need to edit a template, click the edit button next to it.

Once you’ve saved your template, you can access it from any contact record by going to the Email tab. Just select it from the list, customize it as needed, and send it out. You can also set a task to remind you to follow up if the contact doesn’t respond. Templates can also be sent from inside Gmail or Outlook using the HubSpot Sales email extension.
In-App Tool

HubSpot Tool: Make a Sales Email Template

Use HubSpot Sales to create an email template. Notice the feedback it gives you as you write. Be sure to take the suggestions into account to make a template that really shines.