A pitch email is your shot to say hello. Here’s how to get it right.
What are the ingredients to a perfect pitch email? As short as these missives can be, they can feel extremely challenging to write. Meanwhile, it is all too easy to think of a time when you’ve received a bad pitch email in your own inbox. A bad pitch email somehow leaves you both with too little information and feeling like you have wasted your time reading it.
Pitch emails require us to talk about ourselves. And, while humans crave connections and marketers know the importance of growing businesses through communications, focusing on yourself can be hard. This is especially true for people who dislike being in the spotlight, or who don’t like to brag. On the other hand, if you are comfortable talking about yourself, a pitch email can be a challenge because you can have trouble nailing the content. Include too little, and people will walk away disinterested. Include too much, and people will walk away overwhelmed.
A perfect pitch email is clear and concise, yet detailed enough to offer something unique and memorable. It is also thoughtful and purposeful. When you send the perfect pitch email, you are thoughtful about what you include while also being thoughtful of the recipient’s time. Focus on information, clarity, and consideration. No matter who is on the receiving end, these elements should remain the same.
With the right tone and right content, you offer just enough information—and leave them wanting more.
What Do You Want to Accomplish?
If pitch emails are so awful, why do we write them anyway? Like it or not, pitch emails are a necessary evil, especially when it comes to marketing and communications.
With a pitch email, you might have a variety of goals. You might be a freelancer looking to extend your opportunities. You might be a student getting in touch with a professor about a new class. Or, you might be someone looking for a reference or an interview. Whatever the case, there’s an element of introducing yourself. Who are you? And, why should this person get to know you?
Getting the word out about who you are and what you do is at the top of the pitch list. Then, of course, is the why. These elements are about you and your needs. The perfect pitch email can go wrong if the writer forgets about the recipient. That can seem strange, since an email requires both parts. So think about it as balancing the conversation. You are talking about yourself, while showing your interest in them. So, although you are pitching yourself, you are also starting a conversation. Do your homework! Read up on the person you are emailing before you press send. Ask your mutual connections for tips. Avoid embarrassment with a little research and etiquette.
Stand Out in the Inbox
In a perfect pitch email, your goal is to get in, get out, and leave a lasting impression. Remember, it’s an honor to be in someone’s inbox. An email inbox is a busy place, bursting with information and eager subject lines. When you send an email, you are competing with all the other messages being sent to that person, from promos to newsletters to personal. Think about the length of the message, the clarity of your subject line, and even the day and time of your send.
Once your message makes it to the right inbox, you want to make sure it doesn’t get deleted. Then, you want to make sure you are not wasting anyone’s time.
Tips and Tricks to Say Hello
Here are a few questions to ask that will help you structure your email.
- Who am I? What is your quick story and background? This can be as easy as saying your title. Are you a baker, freelance photographer, long-lost relative? Figure out a way to wrap it up.
- Why am I here? What brings you to this person’s inbox today? Did someone suggest you get in touch, or are you reconnecting after meeting at an event? Prove that you have a reason to be there…and that you are familiar with who they are.
- Why should they care? What is it that you do better than anybody else? (Okay, that is a tall order!) Think about what makes you stand out and, if you need help, find ways to have others brag for you. This could be about linking to an example of your work.
- What is next? Don’t leave the conversation hanging! Yes, this means your perfect pitch email ends with a call to action or explanation of next steps. Include your contact information, offer to follow up in a few days, say you look forward to hearing more. If a deadline is involved, be upfront about it.
Your Homework is to Network
Network, network, network! Networking is essential for careers, and can help you grow your business opportunities and establish long-lasting connections. So, how can you grow your network?
Of course, while a perfect pitch email can help, it’s not the only avenue. Connecting with others on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can also build your virtual resume. But no matter how you connect, your pitch should still be part of the plan. For example, this could mean drafting a personalized note when you connect on LinkedIn, or sending a shoutout to a new follower on Twitter. And, remember that when you are on those platforms, you are interacting with people. It might not be as direct as sending an email, but there remains the opportunity to stand out and make a thoughtful connection.
Additionally, once you have done some networking homework, it makes connecting over email easier. In fact, it can help you avoid the cold pitch email entirely—or, at the very least, warm things up. Approaching a pitch email with as much personalization as possible, from sending to the correct address to including the right salutation, will help your email stand out.
One More Step
Pitch emails take time. A deceptive amount of time. Perhaps this is one reason they feel so hard. That said, there is one more step to take if you want to send a perfect pitch email: It’s to send another email.
Your perfect pitch email may appear as one inbox item, but it’s actually part of a bigger plan. Chances are that your perfect pitch email could still yield a “no” or even nothing. As scary as that can be, it remains important to put yourself out there and to follow up. Once your first pitch email is sent, decide on the right length of time and set a date to follow up. Check back in and keep the connection going—appropriately. While a bit of resourcefulness is admirable, you also don’t want to annoy the person with constant follow-up emails. If a door is truly shut, learn to walk away. The right approach could mean it opens at another time.
So, send your thoughtful pitches! And start conversations that people will want to keep going.