How many times have you received an email with a business pitch that starts with:
I’m Bob Smith, digital sales executive at Company XYZ.
I was looking over your website and feel my company, Acme Corporation, has a product that fits your needs…”
Excuse me? “Looking over your website”? Which website? You probably say that to all the businesses you contact…
At that moment, it feels as if the person ran by and threw a business card in my face. I don’t need to read further to have my spam theory proven right: nothing unique in the copy, nothing special, zero authenticity.
What’s the good news then? There’s a better approach. We don’t need to spam.
In fact, when I show you how it takes about five seconds to write an authentic email, you will never rely on the old approach again.
The 5-Second Strategy to Write Emails with Authenticity
What’s the best way to make a busy working professional stop and pay attention to you? Compliment his/her work, of course! Every day, we wake up, go to the office, and immerse ourselves in the job. We are proud of what we create and the impact we make on others. And then we write articles and blogs about the efforts on our websites. Why? Because we want the world to know how special we are.
We all do it. You, me, everyone.
That means, of course, that everything you need to capture the person’s attention is sitting on the company website. Let me give you an example (as you’ll see, I’m all about step-by-step instruction for business writing):
Here’s the play:
- First, go to the company’s website
- Then visit some or all of these pages: Blog, Recent News, Press Releases
- Read — like, actually click on the link and read — something that stands out to you
- Return to your email body
- Finally, incorporate the company news into your message
Before I show you what it looks like to drop company info, I need to stress one point. It’s not enough to write, “I checked out your website and think your company does fantastic work.” That’s not authentic. You also can’t fake it with, “I enjoyed reading more about your business.” Again, that’s lip service and both we know it.
Writing an Authentic Email
The way to prove authenticity is when you include a specific example of the company’s success:
I’m Bob Smith, digital sales executive at Company XYZ.
First, let me tell you I enjoyed reading the company blog post about your initiative to donate tablets to underprivileged children at Acme Elementary School this past October. What a cool way to build team spirit and give back to the community.
I’m writing to introduce myself and tell you about…”
So let’s unpack what I did here.
- Before I dove into the pitch, I provided an example of a notable project from the company’s website. It took five seconds to find the story. So this strategy will not gobble up your day.
- I also linked to the post to prove once more I physically went to the website and studied up.
- I used specific language at every turn.
- Instead of “donate items to kids,” I wrote, “donate tablets to underprivileged children.”
- Where did it happen? I included that detail (“Acme Elementary School”)
- When? There I go again (“this past October”)
With every piece of detail, I built rapport and also developed trust. Because the business person expected my message would be impersonal, it was a refreshing change of pace.
A Real-Life Example
When I wanted to promote my book, Wait, How Do I Write This Email?, on various career-related podcasts, I always began the outreach message with an example of a recent podcast episode I enjoyed from that particular show.
Like this authentic email, where I asked to be on a podcast that preps students (and their parents) for the college application process:
“I’m Danny Rubin, an author and blogger in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Thank you for creating a tremendous resource to help students (and their parents) navigate applying to college. I want to tell you I enjoyed your discussion in episode 083 about myths on college admissions. Agreed: it’s never too late to apply!”
Can you spot the detail?
- “episode 083”
- “myths on college admissions”
- example of a myth to prove I listened (“Agreed: it’s never too late to apply”)
The podcast host wrote back:
“Thanks, Danny, for reaching out personally. Your topics sound like a great fit for our podcast, and we’d be happy to record a guest interview with you. Also, sounds fun.”
In fact, during the book launch, I sent emails to 10 podcast hosts — each time with the authentic email approach. As a result, I heard back from nine and appeared on eight podcasts. How’s that for a batting average?
The Power of Authenticity
Now, apply this strategy to your job search. Imagine how your job hunting efforts would benefit from being perceived as well-researched, unique and also authentic?
No, it’s not brown-nosing to compliment the company’s or recruiter’s efforts. In fact, this giving (rather than taking) approach to building relationships is perhaps the most prized of all the “soft skills.”
Authenticity is a magical thing. Nothing… and I mean nothing… replaces genuine curiosity in someone else’s life and business as an method of introduction to your product: you.
So spend five seconds in someone else’s world. Your career will thank you for the effort.
For this post, YouTern would like to thank our friends at dannyrubin.com.
About the Author: Danny Rubin is a communications expert and author of the new book, Wait, How Do I Write This Email?, a collection of 100+ templates for networking, the job search and LinkedIn. For more of Danny’s insights and sample chapters from the book, visit his blog, The Template, which highlights the career advice in the latest headlines. Follow him on Twitter.