Connecting, Via Email, With Powerful People

In a recent blog post by Peter Sims in the Harvard Business Review titled “Tips for Cold Emailing Intimidatingly Powerful People,” Sims discusses tips and strategies for “cold-emailing” the big shots and captains of industry we all want to know. When it comes to marketing efforts, defining a list of individuals you want to get your message to and shooting them a personal email is about as targeted as it gets, so knowing how to effectively reach out to leaders, influencers and big spenders in your industry is a great arrow to have in your quiver. 

Sims notes that it is relatively easy to find the email addresses you are looking for. He often simply guesses at them by using Nevertheless, cold-emailing people with clout can be an intimidating endeavor. Not to mention the fact that these highly successful people are typically extremely busy.

How do we make sure they read and respond to our unsolicited emails?

Well, there is no guarantee they will; however, Sims does offer a few tips. For starters, put aside the awkward feeling you get emailing someone out of the blue. You’re not a stalker, just someone looking to make new connections. Secondly, don’t be discouraged by non-responses. Sims estimates a 50 – 90 percent no-response rate, based on his own experiences.

In terms of the actual email content, Sims’s advice is very simple: be brief and be relevant. Remember, the people you are trying to reach are typically extremely busy. They likely get hundreds of emails every day. Don’t count on having them thoroughly read through a 500-word pitch or proposal. Think about your email as if you were writing a newspaper article. Have a relevant, attention-grabbing subject as your headline and structure the body of your email with the pyramid principal – with the most important information at the top.

Sims suggests that it isn’t overly intrusive to email once every couple of days up to about three times before giving up if no response is received. Even if you get a poor response rate, there is little to lose by cold-emailing. It costs nothing, and you just might make some useful connections.

One caution, though: make sure you are aware of, and following, the requirements of the CAN-SPAM act.

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement


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