email pitch

Want to learn how to send an email pitch that won’t get deleted? It’s a vital part of online business.

As the owner of a fairly large website, I get dozens of emails everyday from people pitching things. I have colleagues who get hundreds.

While I try to answer every legitimate email I get, I have noticed that there are certain things that really put me off, and certain things that really encourage me to respond quickly.

The same is also true of the emails I send pitching things to others – I always try to pay attention to what works.

And, as the Internet grows, more and more competition means more and more emails getting sent. That potentially means it’ll be harder to cut through and get noticed – especially if you speak a different language to the recipient.

With all of that in mind, I wanted to write about a few simple tips that apply to almost any emailing situation so that newcomers can have a better idea about what works and what doesn’t.

Let’s take a look at the graphic first and then get into some details:

send_an_email

Like my post on things to know before starting a blog, I hope this will save a few people some time (and heartache) by avoiding the horrible feeling of getting no replies or getting constantly rejected.

How to send an email pitch

Most of the best tips are included in the infographic above, so I’ll just touch on a few extra points down here. First, let’s start with an example:

email example

I get a lot of these types of requests, and not all of them are as succinct and well thought out as this one. Even though Aman is pretty new to online business he cut through well.

So what did he do right?

  • Open with a compliment
    Aman starts off with a massive compliment that, as much as I pretend it doesn’t, usually gets me feeling pretty good. I’m so conscious about trying to help people with this site that when someone tells me it has I always get a little buzz. This technique is recommended by a lot of people because it starts the negotiation/request on a positive note.
  • Straight to the point and a bold question
    The next thing he does well is writes his simple question in bold. Generally I know what these emails are about and so I skip to the crux, and it’s nice to be able to identify it quickly. He doesn’t waste any time getting to this with a big backstory about his site or the post.
  • Time saving mechanisms
    The next thing that I really appreciated in this email was that Aman gave a specific deadline, but also included enough time in there for me to take a few days. He also cleverly added an updated Google Doc so I could see what others had contributed in order to prevent repeats. This is an idea I might borrow.
  • Social proof
    Towards the end he adds a line mentioning that there are 60 other people contributing. This is always a clever idea because it makes you think that it’s a legitimate site if so many people have agreed to participate already. Adding social proof in some subtle form is often a good idea.
  • He understands what it’s like
    The major thing I like about this email is how Aman clearly understands what it’s like for online business owners who are busy and get a lot of emails. The whole email is built around being convenient for the recipient and, although he’s asking me to write a paragraph, it feels like there is no work to do.

While it’s not the “perfect” email, I would rate this as one of the better ones that I’ve received in the last month or so and think we can all learn from it.

A bonus tip for email pitches

One last thing I wanted to talk about in this article is the idea giving something before you receive. It is a very powerful tool when you are sending an email like this.

For example, in the blogging world we all thrive off of back links. When someone links to Blog Tyrant they instantly get on my radar – it’s like a form of blogging currency. In this post on blogging strategy I talk about how you can link to someone (or tweet their posts) as a first point of contact before sending an email asking for something.

While this might not be relevant for every email pitch (you don’t want to do it when applying for a job!), it’s often a good idea to look to see if you can give something before asking for something in return.

What kind of emails work for you?

Do you send a lot of email pitches? Perhaps you receive a lot of them yourself? I’d be really curious to know what techniques or styles work for you, or what really puts you off. Please leave a comment below and let me know.

Quick note: If you like the infographic please considering saving it on Pinterest or sharing it on Facebook. That would help me out a lot.

53 Comments

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  1. Umesh Singh on October 4, 2016

    Hi Ramsay,

    Great post! Email marketing is one of the powerful and effective marketing tactics available that a marketer can use.

    Getting email opened is crucial to make an email campaign successful. Your post has clearly defined all the elements that are necessary to write an effective email.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Umesh Singh

    1. Glad you liked it. Thank you for commenting.

  2. Robin Khokhar on October 4, 2016

    Hi Ramsay,
    Sending perfect email is important these days because no one has time check each and every email. Even i do the same. So, it was a great post and I enjoyed reading the post.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Robin.

  3. Vishal Ostwal on October 4, 2016

    Ouch!

    I’m guilty.

    I usually writer long mails (you know), but I’m trying to fix that. I’ve learned a lot from you, and I still have a lot of things I don’t know about – including how to write perfect emails.

    But usually, to get kind responses, I do a simple thing, i.e. being genuine. I mean, obviously there are other aspects involved including the ones you’ve mentioned above (beautiful infographic!), but being genuine works. Always.

    Or maybe there’s something else I’m doing well but know about. Hah!

    1. You do well, mate! I haven’t forgotten about your email either. 😉

  4. Thanks Ramsay! Very practical.

    1. No worries.

  5. Ahmad Imran on October 4, 2016

    Ramsay, I am guilty of writing a slightly long-ish copy but trying to improve on it. We need to appreciate that the person you are writing to might be busy and will benefit if the email is kept short and to-the-point.

    I get a few emails here and there. One thing that really annoys me is that people without knowing me much or my website call in as cold-callers. One advice which you mentioned as well is that don’t be a complete stranger. Spend some time on the blog/website of the person you are going to write to, get some degree of interaction first before writing them an email.

    Great post Ramsay, getting shared now. Cheers.

    1. Great comment, as always!

  6. Lisa Eddy on October 4, 2016

    What a great list – all points are 100% on point. The only thing I would add is that if you spread it on too thick when you compliment someone, you could easily come across as insincere. I think sincerity is the number one thing I look for when people contact me about working together. I also love it when people are able to express themselves succinctly – such a rare gift!

    1. That is really, really true.

  7. Michael Gorman on October 4, 2016

    Yes, this is superb advice, it makes great sense! I think a lot of folks online tend to focus on what they are doing and demand we take them seriously-and courtesy can suffer. Sorry I hit you up on the back of that one Ramsay…I was genuinely interested in your opinion, and it can be hard to keep perspective on your own case sometimes.

    1. Your email seemed fine to me. 🙂

  8. Laura Routh on October 4, 2016

    Thank you for the tips, Ramsay – especially since I’m going to email you soon, LOL! Actually, I won’t be asking for anything, though. Because of your interest in climate change, I have some resources to share.

    The importance of keeping to the point resonates with me the most. I can be long winded. These are such helpful tips, and I appreciate that you shared them with us from the perspective of being the one on the receiving end. I’ll make sure to review this post before sending the email this week! 🙂 It will be good practice.

    1. Looking forward to it.

  9. Alexandra Wilinski on October 4, 2016

    Ramsay!

    Fantastic blog and great advice. I am a recruiter and with the way headhunting and recruiting has evolved these days; often times my first connection is via email (or Linkedin message) and I will be implementing your advice to my intros! I totally agree on the personalization and keeping it short and sweet, my objective is always to get them on the phone – once i have them, I know i can hook them!

    Thank you and I love your posts!!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed this one.

  10. Anyaogu Ikechukwu on October 4, 2016

    Nice one Ramsey. This post will help me when I start Email Marketing in my blog.

    1. Thank you.

  11. Aman Thakur on October 4, 2016

    Great Infographic, Ramsay. You totally KILLED this! I’m so happy to be included in your post.

    I’d like to share another tip to get the email opened. It’s to write specific subject lines, I mean like really specific.
    For example, when I mention any influencer in a post I’d usually say something like:
    Mentioned your post [Post Title]
    or
    Mentioned your [Technique]

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Thanks man. And thanks for letting me share.

  12. I’ve embarked on pitching, as part of my freelancing career, and the points you’ve mentioned above are great. I will definitely take action on some of the pointers, even as I test the various ones I’ve come across.

    1. Please let me know if anything works.

  13. Katrina Fox on October 4, 2016

    Hey Ramsay

    Some great tips here. My background is journalism and I’ve received thousands of pitches over the years (still get some for guest post for my blog) and the above all apply when approaching media. The only one I was surprised at was the ‘Hey [name] Got 5 seconds?’ subject line. That to me screams ‘spam’, whereas something informative and to the point ie ‘request for collaboration’ etc is preferable – each to their own though 🙂

    1. Ah that’s interesting. I’m totally more likely to open them. Good point!

  14. Stéphane on October 4, 2016

    Another remarkable post! Thank you Ramsay for sharing these advices and the infographic.

    The emails I send to my subscribers (in the autoresponder) are quite long because I share fitness tips with them, which are not to be found in my blog (kind of reward for their subscription). I took that idea from Nerd Fitness.

    On the other and, my newsletters are short (quite shorter now than in the first ones).

    Do you think it’s not good strategy and that all the emails have to be short?

    1. I do the long ones too. It’s been working so far, but I’ve never really split tested it. I reckon if Steve is doing it then it’ll be fine!

  15. Thanks! Very informative. Shared. Glad to have found your guides and to have subscribed. I have learned a lot!

    1. Thank you!

  16. Ramsay great post with lots of actionable tips! I have been ding email marketing for my day job for the past 2 years and you nailed it.

    I am actually working on something built around this post so I will keep you updated!

    1. Please do!

  17. James Hipkin on October 5, 2016

    Solid effort. You hit all the high points. Email marketing is the unsung hero of digital marketing. When it’s done right it is so, so powerful.

    If I may, a couple other things I’ve observed and learned over the years.

    Under “Use a Professional Format,” and you would think this is obvious but I see it frequently, don’t send a single image as your email. First, it’s more likely to get swept into Junk, and it doesn’t facilitate linking to the content that interests the recipient. Frustrating for them and a miss for you.

    Plan on a follow-up email for Opens. Working on the theory that a busy person doesn’t mind being reminded, you will be amazed at the conversion you will get from the second email.

    Really appreciate the effort you put into your posts. You never waste my time.

    1. Great comment! Thanks for the lovely feedback too.

    2. Great comment! Thank you.

  18. Nelson Dy on October 6, 2016

    Good day!

    This post is really helpful. To all new in SEO or students who are studying SEO this is very helpful!

    Nelson Dy

    1. Awesome!

  19. Love this post but looks like most email marketer will be stuck right at the first point that for high conversion a single field is only being used by marketers.

    1. Hey Louis. Do you mean for collecting email subscribers we are only asking for the email address?

  20. Mania Mavridou on October 9, 2016

    Great tips and nice and funny graphics!
    I like your infographics, it’s a smart idea.

    What I mostly hate about email pitches is that most of the people or companies ask me to hire them or buy their products, when they didn’t even bother to take a look at my website.
    Some of them may even write a compliment, that it’s obvious they wrote to everyone emailed.
    This is a stupid marketing strategy – in fact, this is not a strategy but a way to be just annoying!

    p.s.
    A friendly suggestion. I notice that many bloggers add screenshots, like the one above, or even photos that are not clickable images.
    Most of the times they are not easily readable without zooming in.
    I don’t know if there’s a reason they/ you do it, but a clickable picture in a good resolution makes things easier.

    1. Hey Mania. Mostly I don’t add larger images because it slows down page loading time. But I didn’t realize people were struggling to read them. Thank you for the feedback.

      1. Mania Mavridou on October 10, 2016

        You’re right about speed!
        But we are not all -and our eyes- as young as you, Ramsay! Ha ha!

  21. I never come away from your blog feeling like I’ve wasted my time. I learn so much each time I stop to read.

    Coming out of an industry where I dealt with tons of emails, I too am sensitive about quality over quantity. I had to pour through tons of completely pointless emails, which your point of knowing what you’re going to do or write speaks to. People often (I too have been guilty) use email as an extension of their unfiltered, unedited thought process. This occurs particularly when someone’s emotions have been tapped into.

    Email is easy to see as temporary, as we click a button and it’s gone! People need to always be aware that what they write is real, often permanent, and could come back to haunt them at a later date.

    General email etiquette should have been a requirement back in school when the internet got started, afterall letter writing used to be taught!
    Now I’m dating myself, who writes letters anymore? 😉

    1. Great comment! Ha. Thanks for the feedback too.

    2. Thanks so much for the feedback and excellent comment. Appreciate it.

  22. Nick Raineri on October 11, 2016

    Email marketing is a major strategy for many companies and is still on the rise. The tips you provide could help out numerous people ensure that their emails are getting seen and more importantly interacted with. Great post and thanks for sharing Ramsay.

  23. Christine de Guzman on October 14, 2016

    I like the infographics and also the content. It is very detailed. I also do guest posts and when I’m sending my pitch to a webmaster, I usually include the links to my sample writings and give 3-4 title suggestions.

  24. Clay Smith on October 17, 2016

    Hi there Ramsay,

    I just liked your blog design and the photo on the header (It’s my first time here).

    Also this blog looks very professional written, so you’ll see me more times around here.

    Cheers,

    Clay Smith.

    1. Thank you.

  25. Shafi Khan on October 28, 2016

    As always a great article with powerful content. I’m new to blogging and would like to do some expert roundup articles.
    All the tips and especially the example email will help me a lot in writing my first email pitch.

    Thanks.

  26. Nice one Ramsay,

    Now that I’m reading this, I’ve been inadvertently been doing the right things when pitching.

    I’m always trying to look at how I’d like to receive an email and draft mine accordingly.

    The bolding is a nice touch.

    PS pinned it on Pintetest.

    1. Thanks!

  27. Nice article Ramsay!

    You really summed it all up. When you draft an email to send it to someone, you should show that you care for this person. Write a comment about their website, or use a little bit of humour to show that you are a real person.

    Like you said, it’s very important to use your recipient’s name and to personalize your email. Your message shouldn’t sound like you sent it to 5000 people. You have to respect the person you are writing to.

    Needless to say, spelling and grammar are very important if you want to be taken seriously.

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