Getting Your Emails Opened

img-snl-email-symbolIf you’re like me, you find no response to your emails frustrating and oftentimes, rather rude. After all, you don’t send frivolous emails, especially to people you don’t know. If you reach out it’s with a purpose… a good one.

In a recent session of ExecuNet Master Class, Geoffrey James, a veteran business journalist who specializes in sales and marketing, shared his system of getting pretty much anyone to pay attention to his emails. The goal of an initial email is what he calls “five taps:”

  • Tap #1: Reply
  • Tap #2: y
  • Tap #3: e
  • Tap #4: s
  • Tap #5: Send

You want them to tap, or click, Reply, y, e, s, and Send = a reply of “yes” to a question you asked. It’s important to ask for the smallest commitment possible to get you into a conversation. That conversation, if you play your cards right, can lead to a meeting – via phone, video or in-person. Once you are in a conversation you have your first yes and momentum with permission to sell. You are whitelisted and won’t end up in their SPAM filter. “By asking for the minimum, you get the maximum,” said James. Whereas if you ask for a big thing, your chances of getting into a conversation are much smaller.

You have no more than two seconds to get someone to open your email when they see it in their inbox. James suggests sending the email during off hours, anytime except work hours. People are checking emails 30 hours a week, so if you send yours when they are not getting a lot of work emails it stands out as different.

Makes sure it’s from an address they recognize. Rather than sending an email saying “a mutual friend suggested I contact you,” have your mutual connection send the email and CC you. This active referral receives a much more favorable response than an indirect referral coming from your address.

You also want to have an informal salutation. Make your emails feel internal. You want to portray yourself as an insider. You don’t want to sound like an outsider or a supplicant looking for something. Better to go with “John,” instead of “Dear John,” or “Mr. Smith,”.

The subject line and inbox teaser must be relevant to the reader. Keep it about them and their needs. If the first word in your email is “I” you have no chance. Your new product is not relevant – their conference, problem, event is. Focus on what they want and what they want to accomplish. If you don’t know… you need to find out first.
Keep your initial email simple:

  • Relevant: What does the VIP want? Not what you do.
  • Peak interest: How you can help.
  • Easy: A simple yes/no question.

If you want more responses to your emails, more meetings with VIPs (including hiring managers), a stronger marketing message, more sales, and higher visibility, Geoffrey’s system is for you. Find out more by watching this session of ExecuNet Master Class: How to Get a Meeting With C-Suite Executives, Business Celebrities and Investors – Without Cold Calling.

Happy emailing!



Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is ExecuNet's president and chief economist. An Arjay Miller Scholar, Mark received his MBA from Stanford University and a BA in economics from Yale University. He joined ExecuNet in 1993, with extensive marketing and new product and business development experience, having served as president and founder of A&M Associates, an investment management firm. Mark's corporate leadership experience includes several senior marketing and financial positions with RCA Global Communications (a GE subsidiary) and American Can Company.

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