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Three Steps to Creating Story-Based Emails That Delight & Convert

Posted by IndustrySelect on Tuesday, March 2, 2021



How many emails do you receive each day? Of those, how many do you actually read? Be even more brutally honest with yourself. Would you actually read or act on the emails your company sends?

Industry statistics suggest the average open rate is only 15.1%. Of those “opens,” the click-through rate is a mere 2.05%.

Story-Based Emails

Story-based emails draw your potential customers into your world. This interest translates into more email click-throughs and conversions.

Why? Because everyone wants to be entertained. Everyone wants to hear a story. The more personalized you can make your story, the better. Your audience can relate to you when you discuss their pain points through your experience.

Luckily for you, your product solves just those pain points, which helps the audience see its value.

However, before you create your story-based email, take time to go through three simple steps so your story will reach the eyes that need to see it.

First Step: Declutter

Pare Down Your Email List.

This step is easier if your marketing department regularly maintains the list. But even if it's been a while since your company last culled its email list, it’s not too late to start.

Many companies ignore this step. Email, unlike snail mail, is free. What difference does it make if your company sends countless useless emails?

Your marketing statistics are skewed because you're not removing incorrect email addresses. It's difficult to know how effective your story-based emails are when you're working from the wrong information. You lose the opportunity to tell your stories to the people you really need to, making a highly effective tactic useless. Finally, it’s very hard to properly segment a disorganized email list.

Sometimes the errors are simple. Instead of “,” someone accidentally entered “” Other errors are more complicated. Your original contact may have retired or changed jobs.

For the more complicated errors, decide how important that potential client is to your business. If it's only a possible client, skip the error and move on. If it's one that generally uses your product, take the time to research the current contact information.

Second Step: Segment

Let’s face it — not all businesses that buy your products buy the same product. Different businesses have different needs[iv] and different levels of engagement with your company. You'll need to tailor your story-based emails to fit them.

One way to segment your audience is by business type if your products appeal to a broad range of businesses. If you're a software vendor, you may want to divide your email list into education, government and manufacturing categories. While each of these segments uses software, they use it for very different reasons. That means your story-based emails should tell different kinds of stories depending on their interests.

If your entire audience is in the manufacturing industry, consider segmenting your email list by size. Small- to medium-sized manufacturers may have more basic software needs. Larger manufacturers may want your company to convert entire legacy systems to your cloud-based offerings. They'll identify with different stories.

Yet another way to segment your email list is by the level of engagement a business has with your company. Businesses that open most emails, visit your website and read your newsletters have a high level of engagement. They're most likely to connect with the stories you tell. Businesses that rarely read your emails, let alone interact with them, have a low level of engagement. You may be able to craft stories that draw them in, but they may require you to devote more effort, or avoid devoting too much effort.

Third Step: Story-Telling

All successful story-based emails have three key elements – a story, a tie-in to the client’s pain point and a solution that includes your company’s product.

For example, as a software company, you know that many small- to medium-sized manufacturers have a hard time setting profitable price points for their products. You have a proprietary program that makes the calculation easier.

You could send yet another email with charts, graphs and pictures detailing how to calculate true production cost. You could explain that the equation is not as simple as labor plus materials. You could include a spreadsheet showing that overhead costs such as mortgage, equipment maintenance and front-office salaries need to be factored in.

Or you could create a story-based email.

Henry Ford had a large generator that wouldn’t run properly. He called in the premier engineer at the time to evaluate the problem.

The engineer spent several days listening to the generator and taking notes. He finally asked for a ladder, climbed up and wrote an “X” on one of the panels with a piece of chalk. He then instructed the engineers to remove the panel and replace the wire coiling.

Much to everyone’s amazement, the generator worked again!

However, Mr. Ford balked at paying the outrageous sum of $10,000 for its repair. When he asked the premier engineer for an itemized bill, this was what he received and paid:


Often, the pain point for manufacturers is not knowing the true cost of production. Some products are priced too high and don’t sell. Other products are priced too low and produced at a loss. Your software will help manufacturers calculate the true cost of producing their items, allowing them to generate a reasonable, consistent profit.

Another advantage of your software is that if any of their clients ask why the product price is so high, the manufacturer can justify the expense in black and white — or possibly in chalk.

In Summary

Story-based emails offer businesses a prime opportunity to connect with their prospects in fun, engaging ways. But this tactic is only useful once you optimize your email listings. By decluttering and segmenting, you will have prepped your email marketing program to take full advantage of storytelling and maximize your successes. Once you've got your email ready to go, make sure it's going to the right contacts. IndustrySelect gives you live access to 460,000 industrial companies and one million execituves. Click here to learn more. 

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