Contemporary Strategies for Content Marketing

Email Marketing Tips: How to Stand Out from the Crowd

Hi there, I’m Michael, and there’s a 90% chance I have your email address.

No seriously… but it’s nothing to worry about. How do I know? Because an email address is only as good as your relationship with the address owner.

Here, you can have mine:

Now what? Email me to say how silly that was? Perhaps… but unless you’ve got something helpful, interesting, or otherwise mind-blowing to talk about, you’ll never make it past my SPAM filter, multi-layered Gmail filters, auto-responders, or other 12SM team members I delegate to (sorry guys!).

The thing is, I DO want to hear from you, and so do your potential fans and customers. However, interruption marketingsecurity leaks, 16hr work days, and 6 cups of coffee have many people so walled up it’s hard to break through.

How do you find your tribe through the noise? Here’s how I do it in 3 steps.

1. Do Your Research.


While your mother may have told you you’re a beautiful unique flower and “everyone” would be crazy not to like you, reality reminds us that trying to build a relationship with “everyone” is much like me becoming a successful olympic swimmer: highly unlikely and quite questionable as a good use of my time… you can keep your gold, Michael Phelps.

Instead, what if you were only trying to build relationships with people who had a high probability of being interested in what you’re offering?  We create this understanding by building Buyer Personas that describe who these people are, their wants and desires, and the methods by which you can reach them.


Click here to use our Persona Tool!


 Find that Email

Now that you have a good idea of who these people are, you’ll want to get in touch with them.  This could occur wherever they most frequently communicate (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), but for now, let’s focus on the medium that almost everyone uses: Email. While you’ll always get a better response to an email if you’ve already started a relationship or have the user’s permission to email them, there are times when this just isn’t possible to begin with. Here’s how to find that email address then turn that cold introduction into a warm email.

There are a handful of tools to get the job done, but I’ve had the most continual success with Email Hunter.  With a simple free account, Email Hunter let’s you look up email addresses of any specific company domain with the click of a button.


Looking for the email of someone specific via LinkedIn? There’s a Chrome Extension for that too. Bing Bam Boom, Email.

But now what?


2. Be Specific. Be Helpful.

Every day, I get emails like the one below (edited to protect those involved)…

While fairly harmless, emails like these are also fairly ineffective. Did I listen to the music? Sure. Do I know more about the band, where they’re at, or how I can help them from this email? Not at all. I’d have to dig in hard to even figure out how to become a fan of this band beyond their Soundcloud page. What’s the call-to-action here? Do they want me to reply back? Are they just looking for Soundcloud plays? Do they think I work at a label and want to be signed?

When communicating with your potential fans or customers, making them ask similar questions only creates distance and delays your potential relationship. Instead, what if you could provide something interesting, awesome, and helpful that would inspire a reaction within your first communication?


 Meet AIDA

Here’s a formula I use on a daily basis from content writing to emails that gets me a response 99% of the time.

AIDA stands for:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

Let’s break them down, using the email above as an example:

Attention: Here’s your ice-breaker. Your subject line and lead intro line. You want to use something that will grab your reader’s attention but not come off like you’re reading the National Enquirer. Write like you speak. Use something natural, personal, and off the cuff. Adjust your wackiness for the appropriate Persona.

Example: “Hey Michael! Man, crazy Monday, right? The only thing that’s been kicking me through it are the super helpful blogs I’ve been reading from 12SM!”

Interest: Ok, you’ve got their attention. Now what’s going to keep me reading? You need to find a common ground that connects both you and the reader. Tell a story that’s about them.

Example: “Here’s the deal. My band has never toured but released our EP last May and have grown our mailing list by 200% over the last 3 months by using methods from your blog.


Desire: Help them understand the benefits of performing whatever call-to-action you’re about to follow with. What’s in this for them? Remember, you’re painting a picture here. Make it an attractive one.

Example: “While I don’t think we’re quite ready for your fantastic marketing services yet, I think we could be in the next 6 months if we continue on our current growth pattern.”

Action: Give them a simple next step they can do after reading the email. The easier you can make this on the reader, the better response rate you’re going to see. This doesn’t have to be the “big” action you’re looking for. Remember, you’re trying to build a relationship. Start small.

Example: “Do you think you could help us keep that momentum by Tweeting a short 140 character review of our EP?  Here are a few examples already prepped for you…”

It’s that easy…

… but sometimes it isn’t. What about folks who just get too much email and might not see your first message?


3. Be Persistent.

If you’ve read my previous post about automation, you probably know I’m a bit of a life hack junkie.  When I want to reach out to someone or build a relationship, I’m not going to just leave it up to chance. I build a strategy around it that includes actions for every potential scenario.

What does this look like? Let’s use the band example from above again. A good strategy here might look something like this.

  1. Initial Email using AIDA format.
  2. If email was opened but got no response, follow up to same email 3 days later with an even simpler next step, then retweet one of their posts from Twitter.
  3. If your email was not opened within 3 days, send new email with a different subject line but similar information in the AIDA format.
  4. If no response 3 days later, send same email but add a quippy one liner to the top of it.  Something like, “Hey! Hadn’t heard from you so I thought, eh, might as well get ignored again :)… but in all seriousness.”

Sound intense? It might be without the right tools in your arsenal. I use the Sales Tools from Hubspot to make this painless and repeatable and, yep, there’s a FREE level. To perform the actions above, I’d use either Sequences or Automation Workflows, then tie in email tracking to give me real-time notifications of my progress.

While this may be a bit more than you need if you’re just starting out prospecting for more fans or customers, having an understanding of what motivates each of your Personas and how to build nurture sequences for them will be invaluable down the line.

How would you use these strategies? Hit me up in the comments below.

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