5 tips for writing marketing emails that work

business email

In our always-online, always-connected world, the marketing cold call is becoming relegated to history. These days, many of us turn to email or other forms of social messaging to develop new business relationships or seek new partnerships. When done properly, the “cold email” can work wonders in our small business marketing. But, like the cold call, it can also hinder your efforts.

Keep these five marketing email tips in mind before you hit Send:

1) Research the person or company you’re emailing

You’re a clothing designer who’s just found a local influencer that could be perfect to help you promote and review your products on their blog. Great! But before you do anything, make sure you’ve done your research. Who is the best person for you to email – the blogger directly, or a member of their team? Do any of your competitors appear on the site – and if so, how can you set yourself apart? Does this blogger even work with independent designers, or do they focus on bigger names?

2) Don’t start your message with with “Dear sir”

Let’s be honest – it’s the 21st century. Approximately 46% of small-to-medium businesses in Canada have some degree of female ownership – and what about the other non-sir employees who may be the ones reading your email? If you don’t know the name of the person to best address your email to, call the company and ask, or look for a staff directory on their website. Failing that, a generic greeting will do. But don’t irritate your potential partner or client before they even get to the content of your email.

3) Don’t write a generic message

What message appeals to you more:

“Hi. I’m a notebook manufacturer who would love to work with you at www.yourstationeryfriend.com. Please contact me to set up a meeting.”


“Hi Ashley. My name is Lee and I’m a notebook manufacturer. I came across an article you wrote on the Notebook News site, and was very interested to hear about Stationery Friend’s commitment to forming partnerships with manufacturers of animal-shaped notebooks. I’ve been creating elephant-shaped notebooks since 2013, and I would love to schedule a meeting to discuss this more.”

Now, these are just quick examples and not meant to be exhaustive. But you probably would be more drawn to the second email, where the sender has clearly done basic research on you and your company. This is important – a generic fill-in-the-blanks style of email will save time, but it can also put forth the impression that you don’t even really care about who you do business with – anyone will do. Probably not what you intended!

4) Think about your subject line

Try to strike a balance between a spammy, too-good-to-be-true subject line and one that gives no information whatsoever. Remember that this is your first chance to grab the attention of someone who likely sees dozens of emails a day. Read what our GoForth Expert and Fast Company have to say about effective email subject lines.

5) Keep it short and sweet

Your introductory email is not the time to describe how you have always wanted to be a greenhouse architect, or share your business’ origin story – get your foot in the virtual door first. Depending on how “cold” this email is, your recipient might be wary. They might also just scan your email for key words. Keep your eye on the goal and don’t wander too far off track. And don’t bury your lede – ask the relevant question or make the relevant statement as soon as possible. Once you’ve developed an initial connection with someone, then you can go into more detail.

Do you have any email marketing tips that have worked for you?

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