As you probably know -or don’t- Prospect.io‘s purpose is to help salespeople cut their time spent on prospecting by 50%. Those efforts are accomplished through our product as well as through this blog.

Since it has been growing a bit, we regularly get pitched for internal as well as external guest posts, affiliate programs… Let’s be honest, we’re not a huge company and our blog isn’t as big as Hubspot’s, but it doesn’t mean we’ll settle for anything.

Truth is, because they’re so bad, some of those pitches have been giving us endless material to comment on.

Why is that? Read on!

Here’s what I received not so long ago

deleted cold email

Okay Paul, let’s talk.

1. I don’t care who you are (not yet anyway)

Don’t take this the wrong way, but your name is at the top of the email, at the bottom of it and, in most cases, again -along with your job title- in your signature. Don’t start by introducing yourself, start by giving me a compelling reason to care.

Also, Paul, you don’t really hope I’m well. You don’t even know who I am.

I don’t care about your or your name alright… but I want to know what your company does. Why would you talk about yourself and not the company you’re representing? That makes no sense.

As Copyblogger puts it:

Every sentence you write should make them want to read the next sentence you write.

Unless you’re someone very famous and/or very important, your name and job title won’t make me want to read the next sentence. Get to the point, quickly. 

2. Your email is too clearly a template

I have no issues with templates. Hell, Paul, I create and use templates on a daily basis. The trick is to make it look like it’s not one, by leaving more room for personalized content. And not only by using merge tags. Refer to the content of the blog, to the author… Make an effort!

Templates are meant to be modified and personalized.

Personalize some fields. First name is mandatory, company is great and something -or lack thereof- relating to my industry will make it or break it. Templates are good, but they’re made to be tweaked.

Barbara Giamanco illustrates this well in a campaign aiming at booking meetings with executives. Her results are stunning!

3. You haven’t done your research

This ties to the previous point.

I see you’re reaching out to me, I see you want something from me. But why are you writing to me? What about my work made you want to be featured on the blog?

Honestly, Paul, have you even been on the blog? The tagline says: “Actionable sales advice. No bullshit.” Are you seriously asking what kind of content I require? It’s right up there.

If you haven’t taken the time to research what it is I do and what it is I blog about or what my audience requires, you’re wasting both your time and mine. Maybe you’re on the clock, but it’s worth taking the time to research your recipient, it’ll yield much better results.

N.B.: We’re talking blogs here but this is valid for every other type of request. David Brock provides a brilliant example about retail solutions.

4. You don’t provide tangible benefits

What’s in it for me, Paul?

Sure, you’re offering money, but blogging is not -primarily- about money. Blogging is about bringing a meaningful message to a qualified audience.

How many subscribers do you have? What’s the size of your social following? Do they care about what my blog is about?

This, of course, again, is is just an example when it comes to guest blogging, but it works the same for every kind of request you send.

Every single request you introduce through email must be based on an exchange of value. There’s nothing wrong with asking, but you should make it clear why it’s good for me. Not just… “What do you need?” Especially if I don’t know you because I don’t know what you can provide for me.

5. Your request is vague

Sorry mate, but if your message is confusing and you can’t correctly articulate what you want from me… how do you expect me to want to do business with you?

So, Paul, you ask me for a guest post, for one of your clients… but others might be interested. What others? And why? And why this client more than the others first?

Also, a guest post about what? Your client doesn’t seem related to my industry, which is fine, so long as we can find common ground.

Oh… I shouldn’t have asked that.

Seriously, Paul, what does that even mean?

Come on man, if you want something from me, please make it clear.

It all comes down to a clear call to action.

If you have a request to address to someone who doesn’t know you and probably doesn’t have much time on their hands, make it as simple and clear and possible. For example “How would feel about publishing one of our case studies about [X]. We’ll be happy to share the post to our [X] blog subscribers as well as to our social media followers.”

So, Paul, what should you remember?

  • Grab the attention immediately, don’t waste time with useless formulas and introduction.
  • Gain time by using templates but take the time to personalize your requests, include merge tags.
  • Show you’ve done your homework, show your recipient why you reached out to them by manually personalizing.
  • Provide actual benefits your recipient, value they can relate to or , better yet, be excited about.
  • Have a clear call to action. What do you want them to do? Reply? Give timeframes for a call?

No hard feelings? Maybe check out our 10 Cold Email Templates Based on 3.320.657 Emails Sent!

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