I’ve pretty much exclusively made all my income via email. I’ve sold thousands of products and a large percentage have come from sending well-crafted emails. I didn’t always send effective email pitches, and I’ll share some mistakes with you as well.
Tip #1: Don’t Send A Cold Pitch Email If You Can Avoid It
I wanted to get this tip out of the way because it’s honestly crucial. Sending pitch emails is a form of doing sales. One of the first rules of selling is trying to get a warm introduction. Having some kind of “in” goes such a long way in the selling process. When you’re looking at a list of companies you want to send pitch emails to, do you know anyone who can make introductions to those companies?
One of the early mistakes I made was sending the same email to a bunch of people (cold). Those emails weren’t personalized, were strictly copied and pasted, and ended up being ineffective.
Tip #2: Subject Line, Subject Line, Subject Line,
How many times have you opened an email just because of an interesting or attention-grabbing subject line? I’m willing to bet the shirt on my back that the answer is a lot. Your subject line should be something that stands out from all the other stuff that fills up people’s inboxes. The subject line should be descriptive and should NOT be misleading.
Let’s look at a good subject line and bad subject line of a similar pitch email…
Good Subject Line: A marketing opportunity for XYZ Company (that doesn’t suck)
The example of the good subject line does a couple things.
It’s tells the recipient it’s a marketing email (assuming they’re the marketing person at the company you’re contacting). It shows them you’re sending the email to their company individually. The “that doesn’t suck” part is your way to show a little personality and stand out.
Bad Subject Line: Crazy awesome email you don’t want to miss!
The example of the bad subject line is misleading and subjective.
You may think the email you are sending is awesome, but if the recipient doesn’t, you could be blacklisted by them forever. Plus, this email doesn’t describe anything, and could immediately be looked at as spam.
Tip #3: Get To The Point And Explain Your Value Proposition
When I send a pitch email, especially if it is a cold pitch. I use a simple format that goes something like this:
Paragraph #1: Say hello to the person you’re sending an email to. If you can include something you’ve found about them on social media, LinkedIn, recent news, do that here. Keep your hello short and sweet.
Paragraph #2: The pitch. Use 3-4 sentences to explain what you’re looking to get from them. If it takes you more than 3-4 sentences to explain your product or service, you should work on refining it.
Paragraph #3: The value for the recipient. Use this last paragraph to explain why you think it’s a good opportunity for their company. This should be personalized for them and should be 2-3 sentences. If you want to include pricing, this would be the place to do it.
Last sentence: Thank them for their time and offer to jump on a call to further discuss this email if they’re interested.
Tip #4: The Art Of The Follow Up Email
Most cold email pitches will go unread or if they are read, un-replied. But warm email pitches have the potential to have the same result. The key to getting a response is a good follow up email that isn’t too pushy. You don’t want to follow up the day after you send the pitch email, but you also don’t want to wait a month. I like to wait a week and reply directly to the email I sent the first time with something like this:
Just following up on my email below. I’d love to get 10-15 minutes on the phone if you have time, or feel free to respond with any questions you may have.
I use a free tool called followup.cc for my pitch emails. It’s super easy to use. Sign up for free, then just include a followup.cc email address in the Bcc line of your email. You can set the time to something like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Just include that in the Bcc line of the email, and you’ll get a follow up reminder.
Tip #5: Be Prepared To Hear “No”
Listen, it’s a pitch email. You’re sending someone an unsolicited request for something. The likelihood regardless of how awesome your product or service is, that you’ll get a “yes” is pretty slim. I don’t have a formula or industry standard percentage to follow for X amount of emails sent equals Y amount of yes’s. So be prepared to hear no, but be cordial about it and thank the person for even responding if they do say no (this can go a long way if you have a future pitch).
You may think pitch emails are “icky” or “sleazy” but they don’t have to be.
If you believe in the product or service you’re selling, stand by it and try to get it in front of the right people. Your industry might take to email pitches if formatted in a different way, or using different techniques. Simply keep trying new things and see what’s working well for you.