Magical Emails & Intrigue

By Gil Gerretsen

One of the questions I get more than any other is about crafting marketing emails that get results. Although most people believe they can write effective marketing emails, the truth is that few do. Following are what I call "The Intrigue Rules" to getting above average engagement and results.

INTRIGUE RULE #1 - You must make an all-out effort to intrigue your recipient right from the start. If you don't stimulate their interest or curiosity, then you never will. Why? It’s because people are busy and quickly shift to other matters that seem more interesting or demanding. This means that your email’s subject line must immediately engage their sense of curiosity. Failure here is total failure!

INTRIGUE RULE #2 - Your first sentence should build on that promise and quickly lay the foundation for what will follow. Focus only on them. Don't open with "I" or "Me" or even "We." Nobody cares about you … just how you can help them.

INTRIGUE RULE #3 - Let your personality shine through. Business is ultimately about relationships so show them who’s at the other end. The trick is to be as human as possible. People bond faster when they get a sense of who you are. Use a photo, a joke, your Linkedin URL, or even a favorite signoff phrase. Whatever - just be you.

INTRIGUE RULE #4 - Make your request clear. Don't confuse the recipient with too many CTAs (call to action). Focus on just one thing. What do you want? A meeting? A phone call? A question answered? Focus on getting them to take that next step. Frankly, this rule should apply to all of your business emails. If you need multiple things from someone, send separate emails for each one.

INTRIGUE RULE #5 - The shorter your message the better. Write your message and then rewrite it three times. Each rewrite should be shorter than the one before. You'll be amazed at how much filler originally existed. Aim for no more than 3-5 sentences (three is optimal) with fewer than 15-17 words per sentence. Here's a sample structure that can help you get started:

  1. Why you're interrupting their day? Make it clear that's it's a one-of-a-kind message to them.

  2. Who are you and why should they care?

  3. What you want and why should they agree? The best response is simply "Yes."

THE P.S. RULE - Always include a short and relevant postscript at the end of the message. Just like I did below!

P.S. These rules also apply to great prospecting letters sent by traditional mail.