How to Convince More Leads to Open Your Sales Documents


Frustrating, isn’t it? You send sales documents to your leads – proposals, guides, product specs…

But for some reason, they completely ignore the links and never open your collateral.

The problem?

Unless they click on those links, there’s hardly any chance they’ll decide to do business with you, right?

Lucky for you, in this post, I’ll show you 6 tricks that will help you convince more leads to open your documents.

Intrigued what they are? Then let’s get started.

#1. Build Trust with Clever Personalization

I’m sure you remember this:

Only a couple of years ago, the best way to personalize an email was to start it with the person’s name.

And to help you do that, many email marketing software providers introduced personalization tags that would automatically include the name, email, and other information into a template.

But you know what:

This technique doesn’t work that well anymore.

Today, prospects have grown wary of messages from unknown sources that start with or include their names.

In fact, a study conducted by Sunil Wattal from the Management Information Systems (MIS) department at the Fox School of Business found that this type of personalization could hurt your campaigns.

He writes:

“Given the high level of cyber security concerns about phishing, identity theft, and credit card fraud, many consumers would be wary of e-mails, particularly those with personal greetings.”

(Not to mention that this type of personalization is also often used by spammers, who use it to try to elude us to opening their messages. )

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t personalize an email. Quite the contrary, in fact.

However, instead of starting with the person’s name, include information they’d find relevant.

State how you two have met or how you heard about the person. If there’s anything else you have in common, mention that too.

This way, you’ll build rapport and trust that will convince the person to perceive your message and document links as genuine.

#2. Never Disguise the Link

You know:

If you include a link in a document, be open about it.

Don’t hide it behind an anchor text but disclose the full URL instead.

Even using calls to action like “click here” might prevent a person from opening your doc.

Guys at the UXMovement explained how this works in this post:

Apparently, the word “click” takes the attention from the content of the email to what they call “mouse mechanics” – in other words, it makes the person to think about how the link works, not the benefits of clicking it.

And the word “here” conceals what they’re clicking. Even though you might wrap the link with text that explains what it leads to, once prospects see the link, they will have no clue about what it is.

And thus, skip clicking it all together.

#3. Target the Prospect’s Curiosity


The fact that you can’t disguise a link with an anchor text doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t describe its contents in any other way.

And as a matter of fact, what you say about the document the link leads to, helps the person make a decision about whether to click it or not.

And there is a number of ways you could use this behavior:

A.) For example, you could invoke their curiosity about the information to convince them to see it.

Curiosity has been long recognized as the critical driver for our behavior. In 1757, Edmund Burke, an Irish statesman said:

“Curiosity is the most superficial of all affections; it changes its object perpetually; it has an appetite which is very sharp but very easily satisfied; and it has always an appearance of giddiness, restlessness and anxiety.”

And in his 1994 paper, The Psychology of Curiosity, George Loewenstein described curiosity as:

“[…] a form of cognitively induced deprivation that arises from the perception of a gap in knowledge or understanding.”

According to Loewenstein, the moment we realize that there is a gap in our knowledge, we will pursue the information until we close it.

And therefore, to entice prospects to open your documents, present them as bearing knowledge they should have but don’t.

B.) You could be very open about the contents of your link.

Instead of using any dedicated anchor text at all, make the sentence explaining the document a link, for example:

(PRO TIP: Follow the link with a short explanation about the document to put your prospect at ease about what you ask them to click)

C.) Use their company’s name in the anchor text.

When referencing the document in the link, make it clear that it’s something you send specifically for the prospect. You could do it simply by using the “[Document type] for [Company]” formula.

For example: Copywriting proposal for Attach (and make these words a link)

#4. Use Social Proof


Whenever we’re unable to make a decision, we emulate the behavior of others, assuming that it is correct.

That’s one reason we pick a busy restaurant over an empty one.

Or only watch those movies on Netflix that have the highest rating.

But social proof goes beyond inspiring our choices. It also serves as a confirmation of the source’s authority and trustworthiness.

For example, the more other people do something, the more likely we are to do it too.

Just take a look at the two famous social experiments that have confirmed that seeing others doing something makes us do it too.

The Lift Experiment – originally conducted by Dr. Solomon Asche, the video contains a more recent recreation of the experiment.

The Burning Room Experiment

And you could use this technique to entice more prospects to open your documents too. Here are a couple of ideas how:

  1. Mention other people in your prospects’ organization who received or even reviewed the document.
  2. Refer to your document as your standard material and be open that you’re sending it to other people too. This way you’ll offer a subtle social proof confirming that other people have received the document before (and might have opened it too).
  3. Denote the document a must read before processing further. State that reviewing the document is the next step in your process and that every new client has to go through it.

#5. Remove Distractions

Sounds kinda obvious, doesn’t it?

And yet… I bet there are elements of your email you’d never consider distracting, even though in reality, that’s exactly what they are.

Take your signature, for example.

Even if you don’t typically include disclaimers and long winded legal copy about how the email is intended for its recipients only, your signature probably still includes many links:

  • Your email,
  • Twitter profile,
  • Linkedin profile,
  • Company’s website,
  • and perhaps a link to your latest post,

And needless to say, all these elements distract a person from clicking on your link.

Of course, you can’t remove the signature from the email.

But you can position the link strategically away from it.

#6. Write Shorter Emails

Finally, did you know that the length of your email acts as a distraction too?

According to Mailchimp, links buried in long emails receive lower click-through rate than those surrounded by a maximum of 8-12 words.


(image source)

And therefore, to entice more people to click the link, write more concise emails.

You’ll make the link stand out more plus; you’ll make the information the document contains more enticing to read.



Getting your email noticed is just half of the hurdle.

To progress the sale further, you also need to convince your prospect also to open the document you’ve attached.

And given our growing mistrust towards attachments and links online, it’s not an easy task.

Strategies such as building and communicating trust, social proof or even strategic position of the link can help you increase the chances of recipients to click them.