I firmly believe that email is still the best tool for prospecting and lead generation. It’s personal, targeted, accessible, and measurable. And it can yield a steady flow of very high quality leads.
That said, it’s getting harder and harder to break through to the people you actually need to reach. We know that whether you’re prospecting or using email marketing campaigns, it can take at least nine attempts to reach a cold contact via email — and that’s assuming you don’t get trapped in a spam filter or undermined by the “glimpse factor.”
And then there’s the gatekeeper.
Truth is, many emails are never read by decision makers. Even in small and midsize companies, decision makers delegate some part of their email management to a member of their staff. This is particularly true if they have more than one email address.
Who are these gatekeepers and what do they care about?
This “gatekeeper” is the person your prospecting and lead generation emails must break past.
Who are they? And what do they care about? They might be a marketing coordinator, operations manager, or a sales person. But that’s not really relevant. What is relevant are the things you can write to get around them. More specifically, what issues can you bring up that the gatekeeper can’t handle on his or her own? What questions or points can you bring up that will force them to share the email with your target contact?
Craft your emails with gatekeepers in mind.
Here are eight tips that you can combine to craft emails that get past gatekeepers and into the hands of decision makers.
- Mention a referral by name. If you’re reaching out through a referral, use the person’s name but don’t include details that make it easy for the gatekeeper to screen the email. If the referral has a nickname they use (“Mike” vs. “Michael”), be sure to use it.
- Reference something specific in the contact’s LinkedIn profile. This may be a shared school, association, or interest. For example, I’m an avid skier and its front and center on my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. I frequently connect with people who begin their emails to me by discussing ski areas, towns, or favorite runs.
- Mention something that’s personal to the target contact. Maybe you read a blog post, saw a post on social media, or read an interview about the contact. The higher up they are in their organization, the greater the chance you’ll learn something you reference in your emails to make them feel more personal.
- Ask a favor. People inherently like to help, so using the word “favor” will get their attention. Ask the favor of your target content. This could be as simple for a referral to an industry association or group.
- Ask the gatekeeper for her help. Mention why you’d like to talk with the contact and ask if she can help you set the first appointment. Use your prospecting value proposition and ask for her help guiding you to the right person to talk to within the company.
- Request an interview. Perhaps you’re writing an article about a specific business issue or situation and you’d like to interview the business owner for it. Or, interview them as members of an association to include a quote. Use the interview as the trigger in your email.
- Ask a question about a comment you read related to the company on social media. This could be a comment made by the company, or about the company. Mention where you saw the comment and use the information as a launching point.
- Ask for their opinion. It could be related to their business: a new product, service or price change. Or it may be specific to their industry. For example, parts of the U.S. and Canada are experiencing an economic downturn due to the drop in oil prices. You may want the business owner’s input on how they’re seeing their customers adjust their businesses.
Need help writing better emails?
With prospecting and lead generation emails, it’s critical that your content be relevant to that specific contact and as brief as possible. The more succinct you are, the more personal your email will look to the gatekeeper. And when emails feel personal, the gatekeeper often feels compelled to engage your contact to respond.
If you want assistance writing better lead generation campaign or prospecting emails like these, our team can do the writing for you, or coach and guide you to write them yourselves. To get started, give me a call at 303-741-6636 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.