Most entrepreneurs and small business managers are not using e-mail in the most effective way. They don’t know how to use e-mail outreach as a viable marketing option. Using the wrong marketing techniques can be costly: a drain on the time, energy, and resources of a small business or startup. Furthermore, of the entrepreneurs and businesspeople who are using e-mail in their marketing mix, the majority are doing so in a way that is ineffective. Far too many of us don’t understand the subtle cues of effective e-mail communication that make effective outreach so compelling and engaging. And it gets worse. We may fire off hundreds of poorly written e-mails and silently wait in hopes that SOME positive response will trickle back… but all too often it never does. These days there are far too many mass untargeted mailings which get filed into the Spam folder, and long Shakespearean soliloquies that never get read. Probably not the best way to go about it. I will tell you this: if you know how to write killer e-mails and can install an efficient system for e-mail outreach it can make promoting you and your business ridiculously easy. You can use this powerful medium to connect with anyone in the world, and turn you and your business in to an unstoppable force that leaves your competition in the dust. Given the relationships that I’ve developed, people often seem to think that I have a team of virtual assistants who are always e-mailing people, establishing relationships, and building partnerships. The truth is, I have been running and managing my current business solo. I could outsource my work, but I’ve endeavoured hard to find ways to build leverage into the business. Leverage allows me to accomplish the work of five in half the time. Leveraging our time enables us to achieve greater and greater results, and at the forefront of leverage (where it applies to business) is e-mail communication. E-mail is perhaps the most efficient and cost-effective way to market and promote your business and brand. It is the best medium for reaching out to new business contacts because it’s low pressure and non-intrusive. E-mail allows someone to respond at a time at their convenience. It’s low pressure, unlike the telephone. For reasons like these e-mail is, by far, the best way to get your foot in the door with someone. I’ve tried and tested a bunch of different ways to market myself, my products, and my services, and email kicks the crap out of everything else. Nothing else out there can compare to the ease, accessibility, and sheer connecting power of e-mail. When we take the most powerful medium and apply powerful principles of leverage, we can become a devastating force. How you use this power is up to you. In my new book my objective is to teach you the most powerful e-mail tools, tactics, and strategies so that you can turn e-mail into a powerful method for generating more partnerships and deals, and growing your business. Much of this is based on tried-and-true psychology: neuro linguistic-processing (NLP), sales psychology, and direct marketing. Many of these techniques have been deployed, tested, and refined over time – and proven again and again, to deliver results. Here are a handful of tips from my new book “Hack E-mail” to improve the results you get from e-mail outreach: 1. Blue signatures are more powerful than black signatures Direct marketers have learnt from repeated tests that a signature in blue ink is considered to be more prestigious than one in black! A simple color change in the signature of a letter has consistently proven, time and again, to significantly increase response rates. It’s a substantial enough improvement that direct marketers are willing to pay the extra cost for a color prints versus one in black and white. 2. A signature with a photo gets more responses When it comes to e-mail messaging, I prefer to use Wisestamp to add the professional touch and give my messages an extra opportunity to make a great impression. 3. There are great email ad-ons to ramp up the power of your email There are a number of other extensions in addition to Wisestamp that I like to use for Gmail to set more appointments and close more deals through e-mail, such as Streak and Boomerang, as well as Google’s own apps which integrate seamlessly: Drive, Sites, and Sheets. I use Boomerang to schedule e-mails to send at a certain date and time, which is great for following up with someone a week after your first opening e-mail. 4. Use positive subject lines The key is to create what NLP practitioners call an “anchor” – you want to make people smile when they see your message. This way, they will come to welcome correspondence from you instead of resent it. And believe me, in e-mail this is so important… how many of us feel reluctance whenever we open our inboxes, wondering what evil surprises await? If you can do the opposite, and make someone feel good when they receive your message, it makes a big difference and they will appreciate your e-mail – and you! To succeed at anything you have to enjoy what you do, you have to commit, and you have to have clear, specific goals that are easy to reach. Set a reasonable goal for yourself – such as contacting ten new people every Monday. Test everything – from the apps to the subject lines. After a few weeks, take note of what works, and document it. Create a step-by-step process that becomes your standard operating procedure. Tweak, optimize, and iterate, and most importantly keep practicing to gain firsthand experience on the frontlines. There’s no limit to how good you can be. Have you hacked your email to turn it into your secret marketing tool? Let me know in the comments.