This is a guest post by Daniel.
You have 1,091 new messages!
We’ve all opened our email inboxes at some point in time to find legions of emails that are eagerly awaiting our response. Many of these emails however, are so poorly written or far too general to form any sort of relationship between the sender and ourselves.
As recipients, many of us will ignore these types of emails; we are rarely given an incentive to open them in the first place and nobody likes being addressed as ‘Site Admin’ – just another reason to delete and ignore these types of emails.
When it comes to email marketing however, if every email you send out is getting deleted or you are getting really low response rates it could be a sign that your style and format of emailing is either not specific enough or just completely wrong for your target audience.
So, it’s time for a strategic adjustment that won’t cost you the earth in fact it’s really simple to achieve; if your emails are poorly written, impersonal and very generic in their nature, you need to ask yourself: would I response to this?
If the answer is no, then start making adjustments to your emails. A useful technique to ensure better response rates is to send the email to yourself; look at the title and be completely honest with yourself – if you wouldn’t open the email then neither will your potential clients or cliques.
So, how can you get people to open your emails?
- Area of interest – what interests your target demographic? You need to know this before you email them; do they prefer potatoes, horses or hot-air balloons? Use their interests in the title and content of the email to get a rapport going with them.
- Be personal – tell them who you are and who you represent. What’s worse than not knowing who you’re dealing with? Also be sure to offer them something unique and it helps to compliment their website/blog.
- Be specific – Never generalize anything in the title and content of your emails. Remember you are approaching intellectual people who can see through transparent email templates.
Grand Prize Winner
The amount of times that I’ve cleaned out my junk folder to find an email entitled: “Dear Sir, you are a winner” – is far too many than I’d have liked it to be, but it raises an interesting point.
If the company/companies sending out these emails know that I’m a male – how the hell do they not know my name yet? It’s practically gifted to them on a silver platter – my name is actually part of my personal email address!
So how did they miss that part out? Clearly the email is automatically generated; otherwise anyone with half a brain would have gone: Hey, that’s his name – I’ll go ahead and include that in the email title.
This ties in quite nicely with my next point though: it’s insulting to be objectified by these company’s as it severs any chance of a relationship between yourself and them.
Many of us (me included) see cold-mailing as an incredibly aloof way to be approached, but on the other hand it’s also incredibly funny to be addressed as your own email address or ‘Site Admin’.
For the best chance of success – be it gaining a guest posting opportunity or the chance to show off your creative writing skills – you need to stop being a robot and start paying attention to obvious details; like email addresses and putting your personality across in an email, always endeavour to be personal!
Before we talk about what makes an email good though, let’s first look at what makes an email look bad.
Here’s one example of what an automated, copy and pasted or rushed email could look like – but one that still holds the fruitless hopes of gaining quick back-links from you:
The Bad Email
Dear Site Admin,
We very much like your site it has the good content and are good for reading. If you like we create guest post on your site to add value to your readers experience and give us some back-link for our time.
Random Internet Robot
So what’s wrong with the above mentioned email? Aside from the lack of personality, bad grammar and punctuation, we don’t even know who they are and what company they represent – big no-no’s. Below, I’ll summarise some key points to consider in this atrocious email:
- They don’t specify what they’d be guest posting about.
- Addressing someone as ‘site admin’ is a huge “hell no” when it comes to emailing potential clients. If you can’t take the time to learn somebody’s name – don’t bother. Treat people as individuals and you’ll be surprised how open they can be towards your ideas and proposals.
- Whilst the person writing this email is being friendly enough to us saying; that they like our site, they never specify what exactly it is, that they liked about it.
- Poor grammar; whilst not everyone is perfect when it comes to grammar, there are some huge mistakes in this email. Pointing to several factors; this is either a copy and paste job or a non-native speaker – are these type of email pitches something that you want to expose your readers to? (Note: being a non-native speaker is not a bad thing if you have good ideas to contribute – I’m not trying to start a war here by saying non-native speakers can’t write!)
- Asking for back-links seems kind of counter-intuitive move to me and whilst this isn’t a crime in itself, it goes to show you how little of your site this person has actually looked at. If you have a guest posting section then it’s probably already covered here.
Here’s an example of what a good and engaging email should look like:
I was recently browsing debt topics on Google+ and found a link to your article on how you beat your payday loan debt in 28 days – how inspirational, well done you!
My name is John and I write about personal finance for Personal Finance Test Company. I regularly discuss debt in my written pieces and I feel that we should highlight both sides of your story. Would you consider letting me write a follow-up post to your own?
I could talk about how easy it is to get into debt with a payday loan within 28 days – highlighting the pitfalls of these short-term loans, how to avoid them and how they work out for you in the long run – they’re easy to get into, but extremely hard to get out of.
What do you think to this idea? I imagine that, by showing your readers the opposite side of your original story could deter some of them from committing to payday loan and perhaps seek out alternatives.
I’d love any feedback you have on this idea and I’m more than happy to change the angle slightly, at your recommendation.
The person writing this email has taken the time to learn the author’s name – gold star number one!
Secondly, they have taken a specific interest in a topical area and suggested an idea/follow-up based on the original article – this is a great way to engage readers and the person you’re emailing; providing them with an opposite albeit similar angle to the original piece.
The author of this email shows his willingness to adjust the ideas he has based on the feedback of the author. If someone’s willing to adjust and refine their ideas for you it’s highly likely that this will be reflected in their quality of writing and how they express ideas and concepts – exactly the kind of thing your readers deserve.
Here are some key points where the author of this email scores big:
- Personality. ‘John’ has taken the time to read one of her articles, find out her name and ultimately submit a reasonably good idea to her based on what he’s seen so far. Throughout the email he remains friendly, using a somewhat informal tone to break the ice and expresses genuine interest in her original ideas.
- He informs the author about who he represents and what he does – by being transparent John looks to start things off on the right foot; some people withhold their name and/or company name, which is normally indicative of someone trying to gain links or conceal information that could be harmful to your site.
- What do you think? I think that’s a bloody good question to ask someone! It shows them that you are interested in their input and not solely focussed on your own ideas – selflessness is next to godliness, they say!
So let’s sum up – two plus two is indeed four! Sorry, getting side-tracked again. If you want to get responses from your email campaigns, you first need to identify your target audience and their needs. Sending out generic emails won’t cut it as most of these people are smart, intelligent and ones who actively seek intellectual engagement – don’t underestimate their ability to read between the lines.
A final note on email titles: Be sure that you engage the recipient with the email title and content of the email. People are incredibly receptive when you show a genuine and enthusiastic interest in their website or area of blogging – always look to be specific with your targeting methods.
Here’s two examples of email titles – I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is the good one!
- Dear Site Admin – Guest Post
- Dear Jane – Blogging on the move: how you can use your commuting time to start up a blog – a guest post idea
Did you get it? Yeah, it was the ‘Site Admin’ one – kidding!
Well, I think that’s the broad of it covered. If you have any questions feel free to drop me a comment. In the spirit of generating some discussion I’ll leave you with a question below – I look forward to your input.
What’s the worst email that you’ve ever received from a marketing company? Feel free to go into the specifics!
About the Author
Daniel is a writer for Payday Angels; whilst he usually covers personal finance issues such as debt, student loans and other topical areas in the realm of personal finance, he’s becoming increasingly well versed when it comes to networking with people and enjoys finding new ways to express ideas and approach people to create mutually beneficial pieces that will drive community discussion on hot weekly topics!