How to Generate Phone Calls with Emails

Sarah prides herself on not being pushy.  She firmly believes, from her own experience, that people are put off by the overt sales pitch.  She certainly refuses to read advertising copy.  And she is sure her market is similar.

Her problem is no-one responds to her emails.  She shares good content and when she meets people on her list – they tell her they enjoy reading her emails.  But no-one ever replies or comments – let alone expresses interest in her business. 

The Call to Action

Sarah needs calls to action.  To respond people need several things.  They need to know

  • a response is required
  • why they need to respond
  • how to respond.

To put it bluntly, you need to tell people exactly what you want them to do.  This does not have to be “Buy my stuff!”  For example: “What do you think?  Hit reply and let me know …”  

This way you start conversations and so deepen relationships with the people who reply.  It also gets them into the habit of responding to you.

You may think you don’t need to tell people how to respond to an email.  It may need clarifying if the email arrives via an email service such as MailChimp but mostly the aim is to encourage a response.

There are many ways to respond and responses have different meanings in different contexts.  Replying to an email is private, whilst commenting on a post is public.  There may be more than one possibility.

For example, you could encourage readers to call you. 

Emergency Calls

The easiest is the emergency call.  If you are a plumber or electrician – you have little problem encouraging people to use the phone.  The challenge is how to get them to call you and not a competitor. 

Even if their call is not an emergency, it is something people generally find straightforward.  They need work doing and call to ask for a quote.  This is standard practice and both of you know the script.

Why Would They Call You?

But for many businesses, receiving phone calls is not so easy.  The problem is, if you offer a one-off singular service, a call implies interest in you.  Your competitors are not able to offer a comparable quote. 

If they call you they are likely to already be in or close to a buying state.  It is worth asking what steps they would pass through to be motivated enough to call you.  If someone makes the call, what is the immediate thing that prompted them to do so? 

What stages do they pass through to arrive at the point where they call you?

Should You Call Them?

Yes!  However, there are a few things you need. 

First and most obvious is their phone number.  Email marketing can help.  If you have a sign up form on your website, include their phone number.  If they leave it, presumably they are happy to hear from you.  You could include it as optional or required.  The big advantage of making it a requirement is it shows they are willing to play ball.  If someone is put off by a request for a phone number, the chances are they are not a serious prospect.

You need a plan.  What is the objective of the call?  It is possible to sell over the phone or an alternative might be to arrange a one-to-one meeting.  There is no limit to what you can sell over the phone but it is worth considering your options.

If you have something like a place on a workshop, a call to people you expect to sign up might be a reminder and does not really require a face-to-face meeting.  If you are selling long-term coaching a face-to-face meeting may be more appropriate.  A lot depends on what you want from the meeting and your level of experience or confidence. 

Email marketing helps you move to a point where a telephone call is the obvious next step.  You do this through online conversations. 

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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