A Complete Book of Writing Problems in Foreign Trade Letters and Suggestions
Do you know the characteristics of this group of recipients?
In the previous article, we introduced why so many people like to write letters on foreign trade. This section will continue the contents of the first section. First of all, it must be stressed that the addressee we are talking about here is not the specific David or Amy you sent the foreign trade letter, but a specific type of person: they may be the company’s head, purchasing manager, department decision-maker, in short, all the addressees we collectively referred to when we mentioned the foreign trade letter.
You need to understand how these people work, how they speak, what they like, what they hate, and what their common attributes are. Only in this way can you make foreign trade letters valuable to them. Here are some characteristics of this group:
He/she receives a large number of letters every day.
You need to remind you of this from time to time, otherwise you may misjudge the situation seriously, thinking that potential customers have not much to do every day and are sitting in front of the computer waiting to receive your foreign trade letters.
By 2018, the number of commercial emails sent and received per day was 124.5 billion, while the number of consumer emails sent and received per day was 111.1 billion. At the personal level, DMR reports show that ordinary office workers receive 121 e-mails every day, and so many e-mails come in different forms and from different channels. For those in the purchasing department, this figure is even greater.
Therefore, you should face the truth soberly: potential customers have no obligation to read your mail, so strictly speaking, you should acquiesce that all low-quality or foreign trade letters that fail to attract attention in the first place should be deleted or ignored. Therefore, under such severe competition, you have to upgrade your foreign trade to open letters.
It is also because they receive a large number of letters every day and have seen all kinds of letters. Therefore, red bricks are not recommended to be played in front of these professional buyers or businessmen for any tricks or tricks, which will only bring you unnecessary troubles or losses.
He/they are active in the pursuit of efficiency.
Whether the recipient is a person in the purchasing department of a large foreign company or a person in charge of a small or medium-sized enterprise, efficiency is very important in a normal business environment, because time is money. Therefore, your foreign trade letters need to focus on “efficiency”. In other words, everything that is not conducive to improving communication efficiency is itemized.
To give a few examples:
If you have an attachment that needs to be given to a customer (100MB), if you think your QQ mailbox supports the super-large attachment function, and your own experience is that downloading 100MB attachments is very fast. Then you are wrong, because when your mail is sent abroad, the customer will download your 100MB attachment, which is a very painful thing and also a matter that reduces efficiency. You should first optimize the attachment size and even delete the unimportant items, leaving only the most essential content. Then upload the attachment to a third party such as Google Drive, Dropbox, WeTransfer to tell the download platform, and then provide a short link in the foreign trade opening letter.
There is a common understanding in opening letters for foreign trade, that is, if you can write less than one letter, you can write less than one word. This is not because you charge per word for sending foreign trade letters, just like the previous telegram. This is an embodiment of efficiency and a consideration of saving time for the recipients.
He/she is a professional businessman, pursuing profit by nature.
Businessmen’s nature is to profit. Therefore, no matter what you write in a foreign trade letter, it must be valuable to your recipients, especially if you want them to reply. Your introduction and Value Proposition (described in detail below) must be relevant to potential customers. Therefore, if you provide them with some kind of solution, then you must ensure that it can solve the problems they may actually encounter.
Only when they feel they can profit from establishing a relationship with you will they consider replying to you.
A Complete Book of Writing Problems in Foreign Trade Letters and Suggestions Although writing letters is an art, we can also use scientific methods to maximize the response rate of mails.
Red brick divides the problems related to foreign trade letter writing into the following four aspects:
The Content of Foreign Trade Letters Technical Issues in Mail Marketing The Style and Language of Foreign Trade Letters Other issues A. problems in the content of foreign trade letters 1. no refinement or personalization For customers, the worst experience is to feel that your email is not specifically addressed to him/her, but to everyone. Although you can use customized mass mailing, you must not make the recipient feel that your email is a spam mass mailing.
This is the correlation or individuation of foreign trade letters frequently mentioned by red brick. Correlation can be divided into several different levels:
If you buy mechanical equipment, but the recipient is a foreign toy store. This is irrelevant at the irrelevant level.
If you are buying mechanical equipment, the addressee is also in this industry (potential customer), but when you start sending a letter, it is a mass email aiming at the industry. Sending the same email to multiple company types and emailing a business, not a specific person are actually a little risky. The response rate basically depends on luck. If the potential customer just needs your product very much, then you still have a chance, otherwise the chance will be very small.
If you buy mechanical equipment, the addressee is also in this industry (potential customer), and you also find the addressee’s name and company’s name, and these personalized information are also mentioned in the subject line and body of the letter. This is a highly personalized foreign trade letter.
At the highest level is personalization, which is to carefully study and analyze a single potential customer and tailor a foreign trade letter for it. From the subject line to the opening line, then from the text to the signature, it is full of relevance. This is the highest level of correlation. Of course, it is not easy to do this, but the return is huge.
2. A bad subject line The customer can judge whether to open your foreign trade opening letter by scanning the mail subject line in 2 seconds, so the subject line is the guarantee of the opening rate of foreign trade opening letter. From a certain point of view, half of the importance of a foreign trade letter is in the subject line. We will introduce it in detail in the following chapters.
3. Long-winded self-congratulation Since the hi-tech foreign trade letter is a long-winded talk about how your company has a long history and how many functions your products have. These self-greetings are of no value to the guests. In the text of the foreign trade letter, don’t say what features your product has, but what benefits it can bring! Only when customers feel that they can bring benefits to themselves can they establish the relationship between products and themselves and have the motivation to read carefully and patiently.
Another point is that there are many active voice words like we, I, our and my in the mail. in English business mail, it is not good to have too many such words, so you can try to change them into passive voice. For example: active voice expression: i can provide you a free sample if you want to.
4. The mail was written too long.
What you need to understand is what the purpose of the foreign trade letter is, you are not educating the seller or persuading him, because then you may not even receive a reply. Therefore, the purpose of sales mail is actually to receive the customer’s reply, so the mail generally does not need more than 4 to 5 complete sentences. Be sure to keep your email short and clear.
Short e-mails (meaning containing less than 100 English words in the body) usually get a higher response rate in the first and second e-mails. However, the reply rate of 100-200 words is only 14.4%, and that of 200-300 words is only 16.1%. However, surprisingly, the reply rate of 300-400 words is 28.6%, and that of more than 500 words is as high as 40.3%.
5. English proficiency is very impressive This is absolutely unacceptable. In business English, English proficiency is a big taboo. Recipients will not only not appreciate your English proficiency, but also become a sub-item.
6. The tone is too stiff Because mail, as a medium of communication itself, gives people a slightly cold feeling. If the tone is too stiff when opening letters in foreign trade, it will inevitably make the recipient feel uncomfortable. Therefore, you can add more polite or polite words such as “could you please”, “help”, “thank you” and “approbate” when expressing. Of course, after you get familiar with the customer, you can reduce them appropriately.
7. Content is of no value Offer Value is to provide valuable things to the recipients, such as e-books, valuable data/reports, free samples, and even a more useful article. Providing valuable things can give the recipients a good feeling and make them feel that your things are more or less useful to them.
However, in the first foreign trade letter, we do not recommend to directly attach PDF documents or other attachments to the mail (but this is not absolutely true either). However, if you receive the guest’s reply, you can boldly add attachments.
8. Don’t be too formal After investigation, some organizations found that in its current form, the super formal greetings would make people feel strange. Because what you write is not a college graduation thesis, you only need to tell the recipient that you are a real person and have a good product that you want to introduce to him/her, that’s all. There is no need for fancy words or the title “Dear Mr./Ms.” Normal and equal everyday words are actually better.
9. bad actions call to action.
The preparation and foreshadowing in the early stage of foreign trade letters are to get a reply. The response rate is directly related to the call to action. Foreign trade letters must ask a simple question at the end, and do not end directly with a full stop after the statement. These questions can be: Which is the better address for the free samples we want to send? Does the information we send have much relevance to your current field of work?
A clear and appropriate CTA will bring better recovery rate. A lengthy and vague CTA will make potential customers not know what to do next. Therefore, if there is no clear and powerful action to call to action, it is better not to write letters on foreign trade.
We suggest that a foreign trade letter should have a clear call to action. asking for too much is actually not good, because it is easy to confuse potential customers and do not know what to do.
10. meaningless questions or descriptions Foreign trade letters are originally meant to be simplified, streamlined and further streamlined. If you write some meaningless questions or facts that customers have long known, then you will lose too many points.
Do you want our products？
Do you interested in our products?
Would you like to cooperate with us?
I am wondering whether you are the decision maker.
Offering a “Menu of Services” Provide “service menu”
Writing letters for foreign trade is a thing that costs nothing. What you have to do is to directly tell potential customers who you are, why your products or advantages can benefit them, and what specific actions should be taken next (call to action).
Unrelated foreign trade letters will only highlight your unprofessional nature and make customers question your ability.
B. technical problems in the development of foreign trade letters 1. Avoid keywords that trigger SPAM After you have spent a lot of effort to write a high-quality foreign trade letter, you need to understand one thing: your recipient’s spam filter will get your mail content, including the subject and body. Filters can be triggered for a variety of reasons, but usually because the message content contains common spam triggers.
Spam filters have become more and more complex and intelligent over time, and now they can analyze the context (context) in which these keywords are used. Of course, if you need to send marketing emails to potential customers, then you will more or less use the words or expressions “traffic flow”, “marketing solutions marketing solutions” or “sales sales”, but you need to use these words very carefully and find a clever way to reasonably replace them.
Whether you send 10,000 emails at a time or one email at a time, as long as you trigger the spam filter, your email will be blocked, and what’s more, your or your company’s domain name email will be blacklisted.
Anti-spam technology has developed into a highly regulated and controlled technology in the past ten years. Every year, new agreements and mechanisms are established between the sender and the recipient. Therefore, sensitive words and trigger mechanisms are not the same.
2. Use attachments and pictures in the first foreign trade letter The first time you send a foreign trade letter, if you have an attachment or insert a picture, it is very easy to be intercepted by the server, so the mail arrival rate will be very low, either by default as junk mail, or it will be deleted directly by the guest, so it is better to have the full text when you contact the guest for the first time. If you have received an email reply from a new guest, you can add pictures or attachments to subsequent emails.
3. Insert link When writing foreign trade letters, we always have an impulse to join our company’s website. Please hold it, because in doing so, there is also a high probability of being intercepted by the server! We suggest that you try not to use links when opening a letter for the first time. This is because the mail system has an anti-spam anti-virus Trojan program. At present, only the link detection for foreign websites such as Google/Facebook is passed by default. If you put the official website link in the text, it may lead to the return of the letter. Remember! It is better to insert these when writing to the guest for the second time after he replies. However, if there is a link to the company’s website at the signature, we think it is no problem.
4. Use the form of secret copy BCC to send a large number of foreign trade letters.
First of all, there is no way to make personalized use of secret copying, that is to say, BCC sends a large number of emails in essence or in groups. Second, your mail server or the other’s mail server may cause problems because of the large number of messages you send.
5. Use free public email to send Avoid using mailboxes like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to send foreign trade letters. One of the reasons is that it may give the recipients a less professional feeling, and they may think, “Why doesn’t this salesman even have a company in official website? Will it be unprofessional? ” ; Another reason is that some free public mailboxes may prevent your foreign trade letters from reaching potential customers’ inbox smoothly.
Therefore, you should first choose the corporate email, for example, your company’s website domain name is www.nicecompany.com, then the best is to use email@example.com to send this email. Second is paid email, and third is free email abroad (gmail is preferred).
6. Do not preview text Never send letters directly without testing your foreign trade. It is suggested that the test mailbox to which the foreign trade opening letter is sent can be previewed on both the computer side and the mobile phone side, because the appearance and feeling of the same mail in the outgoing box and the inbox are different.
Preview and optimization of mobile terminal must not be ignored, because more people are reading e-mail on mobile devices such as mobile phones. According to Litmus statistics, 53% of e-mails are opened on mobile phones. Many marketers have realized the importance of mobile optimization. Now many websites and clients have been optimized for mobile devices.
C, foreign trade letter style and language problems 1. Avoid selling too much When foreign trade salesmen try their best to enter the “sales” mode in the process of opening letters, exhibitions and meeting customers, potential customers will fidget. Because no one likes to make purchases under pressure or manipulation, you don’t like this sales model yourself.
There are many ways to make you sound less marketable. One of the simplest ways is to delete some vulgar or untrue words and phrases from your foreign trade mail. Whether you communicate with buyers by email, phone or in person, avoid these words.
You don’t need to remember so many marketing words and phrases at all, because we have already embedded these words into our foreign trade opening letter physical examination gadget, and you can easily filter out these words to help your opening letter avoid looking like a sales letter to the greatest extent.
2. Use strange fonts and colors In fact, it is a very unprofessional performance in the mainstream western business environment to use exaggerated or unusual fonts, use more than 2 colors of text, and easily enlarge/bold/italic/uppercase articles. This is also a great damage to the readability of the mail. If you look at many foreign English websites, you can easily see that their reading habits and reading preferences are simple and clear, leaving a lot of white space.
Red brick suggests that you use the default font, font size and color in the mail to complete the content of your foreign trade letter. If you need to emphasize a particular message sometimes, you can use bold, just bold, not bold, large and italic.
3. Abuse of exclamation marks and emoticons Abuse of exclamation marks will not only make potential customers feel disgusted, but what is more troublesome is that it may trigger the other party’s spam filter.
4. Various writing errors Including spelling errors, tense errors, grammar errors, nonstandard punctuation, etc. Although potential customers may know that you are Chinese and English is not your mother tongue, they can understand if there are a few minor mistakes, but if the whole foreign trade letter is full of these mistakes, your professionalism in the eyes of customers will be greatly reduced. When using foreign trade to open letters, success or failure is often made up of many small details.
According to statistics from Foster Research, 59% of people are unlikely to use products or services if there is bad grammar in marketing materials. Your grammar is your reputation and professional ability. Google Docs and Microsoft Word cannot check your grammar accurately. If necessary, you can even ask native speaker to proofread.
You can use professional tools such as Grammarly to check for errors in writing.
5. Avoid using abbreviations and excessive use of professional terms Every industry has its own terminology, acronyms and catchwords. These words may help us communicate with people in the industry. But don’t think your potential customers know what you’re talking about. Using words they are not familiar with will not only confuse them, but also make them feel stupid. This does not bode well for the subsequent business.
This is the importance of using synonyms, replacing terms with words and phrases that are easier to understand, and letting customers know what you are saying.
7. Chinese punctuation/symbols/characters appear This is very unfriendly to English readers and seems unprofessional.
More strictly, in order to reduce spam, many European and American companies have started to reject mail containing non-Latin letters on their mail servers. In other words, if you accidentally enter some Chinese commas in your foreign trade letters, your mail may be rejected by the mail servers of the other party. Sounds incredible, but you can assume that if every employee in your company receives a large amount of SPAM every day, that is to say, your company will have some valuable time to deal with these spam, then you will definitely set the filtering level of the mail server to the strictest level, even if you know that some innocent mails will be automatically blocked.
D. other issues 1. Send only one foreign trade letter When looking at e-mails sent by sales to potential customers, we found that the first attempt is usually the most effective (that is, the first foreign trade letter). Basically, 12.5% of the sales staff will get replies from potential customers.
However, sending subsequent mail is still valid. If the first attempt does not get a response, the second email will get a response of about 8.6%. If the second email is still unanswered, the response rate of the third email will be reduced to 3.1%. In other words, after three attempts, you have a 25% chance of receiving a reply from a potential customer.
2. No mail signature This is a well-known “personalized email” method. Data show that personalization is indeed effective. We found that by adding a conspicuous signature, especially one with your head portrait, we can really improve the reply rate of foreign trade letters.
3. Delayed reply to potential customers Another best way to increase the response rate is to contact potential customers as soon as possible. We found that if you meet some potential customers in exhibitions or other occasions, or get the contact information of customers from some channels, then the reply rate of sending foreign trade letters within one week is the highest._
Original Artical，Author：China Trade Agent，if repost，please give references ：https://offers-bg.com/writing-problems-in-foreign-trade/