Email can be an effective tool for prospecting and lead generation. It’s personal, targeted, accessible and measurable. It can also 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 a number or 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.
This “gatekeeper” is the person your prospecting and lead generation emails must break past.
Use these tips to craft your emails with gatekeepers in mind in order to get past those gatekeepers and into the hands of decision makers..
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 can reference in your emails to make them feel more personal.
4. Ask a favor. People inherently like to help, so using the word “favor” will get their attention. This could be as simple as a referral to an industry association or group.
5. Ask the gatekeeper for his/her help. Mention why you’d like to talk with the contact, and ask if he/she can help you set the first appointment. Use your prospecting value proposition and ask for his/her help guiding you to the right person to talk to within the company.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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 United States 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.