Six Email Strategies to Boost Sales for Food Manufacturers

Six Email Strategies to Boost Sales for Food Manufacturers


We write a lot about how effective landing pages can be at bringing in new digital leads through your website. However, a landing page can only perform well if you also create a smart nurturing strategy to support it. Did you know that it takes 6-8 touchpoints to close a sale? Your landing page might generate new leads, but it's important not to let them sit idle. Instead, use a strategic progression of friendly, relevant emails to gauge their interest in your products.

Yes, these are sales messages, but these email messages don’t have to sound desperate. Nothing turns off a reader faster than a constant stream of emails that screams “Buy me! Buy me!” A better approach begins with identifying goals - your's and the reader's - and demonstrating how they're in alignment. How does your product address a need of the reader? Writing from your customer's point of view will increase your opportunities to close deals.

Here are 6 message types that you can adapt for your product line to increase your close rate.

1. The “Pain” Message

Two things keep retailers up at night: how to increase store traffic and how to increase register totals. Start your conversation with a warm lead by showing how a partnership with your brand addresses these concerns.

  • Store traffic: Do you have a legion of fans with an engaged social following? How about impressive ratings and reviews? Strong digital content is one way to demonstrate to channel partners how your brand will benefit their brand. Show channel partners how you’ve announced new contracts and helped drive store traffic.

  • Register totals: How do YOU increase the take? Any bundle program, seasonal specials, add-on item, demonstrations of use (think recipes on Pinterest) and point-of-sale materials that you use to increase the take are also benefits to the retailer.

Take a moment to write one or two sentences about how your brand can contribute solutions to these critical issues, and your message will stand out from all the other products vying for attention.

2. The Value Message

Retail buyers aren’t as interested in a value story about “good value for the money” as they are interested in relationships that add value to their business. Product quality should be a given, and of course, priced right for the target market. Brands that detract from a storefront’s reputation with difficult service after the sale are a painful part of managing inventory, and merchants may proceed cautiously with new products.

What’s your service quality ranking? If you have reliable numbers to share regarding on-time shipments that show up with the correct product counts, and it all arrives in good shape, these are things that concern category managers. Capture the buyer’s attention by showing that you understand the value of a trustworthy brand.

3. The Name Drop Message

If you’ve already discussed how you can add to the bottom line and that you are a good trading partner, now is the time to share a success story from another retailer. “In our three years with Albertson's, we increased sales X% year over year and learned how to extend turkey breast sales throughout the winter months by cross-promoting with…” is a brief case study. It shows longevity with a retailer, validates that another company has kept the contract going, and shows market insight. That’s a brand in partnership with the retail channel.

4. The Qualifying Message

If you’ve sent 3 or 4 emails and still no response, now is the time to qualify your contact with specific questions tied to pain points. Using the example above, try something like this:

“Last week I referenced how Ted’s Turkeys helped Albertson’s grow turkey breast sales by X%. I think we can do the same for you, but I have a few questions first:

  • Are you currently concerned about shrinking sales of frozen foods?

  • Are you happy with your current organic turkey supplier?

Think through 3 to 5 questions you’d typically use to qualify a new account and use this email to get that process rolling. As with all the emails, be sure to include a call to action and request for a phone call.

5. The Product Message

It’s time to be more direct. Keep it brief but speak directly to your product’s features and benefits. Summarize information from your earlier notes in short bullet points, mapping out what a relationship with your product would look like from the retailer’s point of view.

6. The Last Attempt

Sometimes this is called the break-up email. If you’ve sent one or two “pain” messages, described your brand's value, sent along a case study, attempted to qualify your contact and submitted a brief, direct sales request, then it’s time to end the thread. It’s tough to be rejected, even passively, so don’t let a defensive tone creep into the conversation. Write this message well in advance and have someone review it to be sure it reflects gracious professionalism.

Be sure to give your message a subject line that tells the reader this is your last attempt. Let them know that if you don’t hear back, you’ll assume they aren’t interested, but keep the door open for the future. You’d be surprised how many brands get a response when the buyer realizes they never followed through on their original thought to check out new products!

The key with breaking-up, though, is to honor your promise of ending the conversation. Remember that you found this contact once; chances are you will run into them again at a trade show or other industry event. A graceful exit leaves the door open for another conversation at another time.

You may have noticed that the messages build upon one another, and that’s deliberate. If a potential buyer has found your landing page and shown interest in your product by downloading a sales sheet or other product information, we recommend that the nurture campaign starts with the “pain” message by aligning your product to an issue your buyer is currently facing. Then work your way through the list to the closing farewell. Keeping your series friendly and relevant is critical, so be sure to adapt our concepts to your product line… if something in our sample outline doesn’t fit right, by all means, modify!

This email sequence works in other sales situations, too. I’ve met many “natural” sales reps, and I’ve marveled at their ability to start conversations cold with new prospects. I’m just not that gal. If you aren’t one of those blessed with natural sales talents, then begin the email sales process soon after a trigger event in real life. If you’ve met new contacts at a trade show, reach out within that first week back at your desk. Perhaps you have a new product to announce or a sales promotion that can serve as the initial icebreaker. Just remember to frame the offer from the buyer’s point of view.

Map out the entire email outreach campaign by writing all six scripts before you deliver the first message. Sending one message week, interspersed with a few phone calls means at least 8 touch points are covered in a 6-week time frame. Time your messages to release every few days, and you can narrow the cycle to 3 weeks.

If you’ve read this far, then you may be searching for a solution that connects your sales and marketing efforts. I challenge you to start writing your campaign today and send your first email next week. Then let me know how you’re doing. I’d love to know what worked and what didn’t work for your brand.