Marketing Makeover: Fix This Email Pitch

Email marketing fails when a message contains just biz-blab and fake emotion. Here's how to write a note that generates real leads.

One of the weirdest phenomenons I see: otherwise articulate people who lapse into biz-blab and jargon as soon they try to write an email pitch.

For example, I recently received a reader request to rewrite her email pitches.

Here's how she described herself:

I’ve parlayed a clinical nursing background and a successful medical device sales and management career into a career in executive recruiting for health-care technology firms. I now find myself in a sales slump, which has me concerned.

In the past, I've been introduced/recommended to key decision makers by their friends and respected colleagues for whom I’ve successfully recruited or known in my previous life as a medical device sales manager.

Now, however, I need to generate new business with email marketing followed by cold calling. Once I get in a conversation, everything is fine, but my email isn't having much success.

Note that her self-description is clear and succinct. Not so her prospecting email, which is bloodless and abstract. Check it out:

Many senior sales management executives are grappling with issues around not seeing enough highly qualified candidates quickly enough and positions taking too long to fill with the right people to exceed corporate objectives.

In working with other health-care technology companies, I’ve been able to successfully identify and attract high impact sales and business development candidates, shorten recruiting time exponentially, which has resulted in an accelerated time to productivity.

Geoffrey, if you would be open to investing a few minutes to explore your recruiting needs to determine how I might be of benefit, let’s become acquainted. By any chance are you open Thursday, March 29th at 9:00 AM (Pacific) for a quick 20 minute call?

Please let me know. I look forward to your reply and our conversation. Thank you for your time and kind attention.

What's wrong with this marketing email? Just about everything.

The opening paragraph simply states the obvious: Good employees are hard to find. Then, the second paragraph strings along a series of buzzwords saying that the recruiter can help.

Cut It Down

In other words, the email has now expended 68 words (and the reader's patience) to say:

Good employees are hard to find but, if you're a health-care technology company, I can help.

That's just 16 words. And as a bonus, it would actually make sense to a mere mortal.

The third paragraph, though, is the real killer. The fake use of the recipient's name to "personalize" the message simply screams "email form letter"–while simultaneously insulting recipients by implying they are too stupid to figure out that it's computer generated.

Then comes the request for 20 minutes (!) of the recipient's time in order to "become acquainted." Question: Who in today's business world has 20 minutes to "become acquainted" with somebody they don't know from Adam? Answer: somebody who's about to get fired for not being busy enough.

Finally, the email expresses weaselly emotions of "looking forward" to the conversation and "thanks" for reading the recipient's time ... as if those emotions could possibly be sincere at this point.

I don't want to give the impression that this prospecting email is particularly bad. I've seen worse (much worse). But it's a great example of how an otherwise good communicator can get tied up in biz-blab and marketing-talk.

Short, Sweet & Concrete

Fortunately, it's easy to create a message that will work better, by using plain English and fake camaraderie. For example:

I've helped health-care technology companies like [one big-name company that's competitive with the target's company] find qualified candidates for hard-to-fill positions. Based on some research I've performed about [target's company], I believe I can do the same for you. Would you be open to a brief telephone conversation to discuss this issue? I have some time open next Thursday morning.

How did the rewrite work? Here's what the reader said:

I immediately implemented the new email, and out of seven sent, four immediately (within minutes) responded. Three are interested in speaking (appointments scheduled for next week), and one is “attempting to recruit internally, but if unsuccessful, will call.” Outstanding results!

Outstanding indeed. I need hardly say that a response rate of better than 50 percent on an unsolicited email (even when targeted) is insanely high.

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