You sent the Email, but will they read it?

Ok, so a recent poll I looked at on Linked In estimated that most mid-to senior level executives get between 125-175 emails a day. That's just an average! So...when it comes down to it, you call and get voice mail. You write and have nothing but a Fed Ex delivery receipt to account for your message getting there, and you email and what have you got? You're in line...behind or among 174+ other emails DAILY! Sigh...So how are you supposed to set yourself apart from the competition, even when the other emails have nothing in common with yours? Face it, you are in competition with EVERY email...even those MailerDaemon emails because you are competing for TIME. Tick Tick Tick.

So how DO you make the cut?

Here are some Tips:

1. Get Personal. Image personalization is still a novelty on post cards, but is far beyond a novelty in emails. It can be used to spark an immediate emotional connection and has been known to result in a 10-15% return on response.

2. Have a strong subject line. you have about 54 characters to make this count! You know the old WIIFT (What's in it for them)? Tell them what's in it for them here! Tighter than twitter by half the size, you need to be pretty concise but comprehensive. The ultimate impossible task? I think not! Get creative!

3. Use the most familiar Sender Email you have. Your email prospect will open the emails he or she recognizes first. If you have a personal relationship, use a personal email address. Stay away from the impersonal info@ and news@ email sender addresses.

4. Create a Sense of Urgency. Catch their attention with your subject line and familiar sender address. Have a strong call to action in the first paragraph of your email.

5. Keep it brief. Don't use an email to oversell the virtues of a product or service. That's what the personal touchpoint is for. Be brief and give prospects a place where they can find more info, opt in to receive future communications from you, or a phone number to call you.

6. Branding!!! Every message you send must incorporate your brand in some way. It can range from the complex- like video and FLASH- to the utterly simple, like a logo, customized signature or slogan. The point is, you want each e-mail to be immediately associated with you.

Social Media is Word of Mouth on Steroids

A price averse prospect posts a miffed “review” on a ratings site, smacking a respected company with a public black eye. An architect writes in a Linked In Group that remodeling prices are way down, spurring a feeding frenzy of homeowners expecting deep discounts. An employee lists where he works on his obscenity-laced Facebook page, prompting prospective clients doing due diligence on the company to write it off in a hurry.

Whether or not you’ve embraced social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and/or blogs, it’s becoming essential to actively listen to them. Online conversations are windows into unfiltered opinions, experts say — insights that can help you improve, as well as to engage and build trust on a personal level. So, to get started...

Create automatic alerts. Free tools such as Google Alerts can reveal when your name (or other search term, including your competitor) appears in a variety of public online media.

Surf and increase cross postings. At least weekly, search for your name on consumer-driven ratings sites, from Yelp! to the Better Business Bureau.

Join community listservs; when relevant, respond to queries in your groups with helpful, non-salesy advice and insights.

Promote glowing reviews. Encourage strong clients and trade partners to visit the sites and share their perspectives on your company.

Keep a level head. For negative comments, if you know the poster, politely call and ask if there is anything you can do to change their impression. If a review is flagrantly untrue or is posted by someone you believe is not a client, you might be able to contact the site and challenge the post’s legitimacy. Otherwise, just use the opportunity as a way to prove the excess of your customer service and grace by responding with a “higher road” reply offering to make right whatever the poster seems to have had a problem with. Be careful; rebuttals can sometimes sound like a dogfight and only put you in a defensive position. This is the opposite of the goal you should have.