With more people working from home, email is the default "workplace." Now is thus the best time ever to master email marketing.

First read this post about emailing during a pandemic. To net it out, this is NOT the time to launch an email marketing campaign; it will NOT be welcome, unless you're offering something that would be useful during the crisis.

Eventually, however, things will go back close enough to normal for email marketing to be appropriate again, so this is a really good time to learn more about email marketing and build a campaign in anticipation of some return to normality.

So, the, with email marketing, here's what you need to know, in a nutshell:


Email marketing has 3 parts:

  1. Cold email: start an online conversation.
  2. Campaign: get the cold email answered.
  3. Closer email: if you get a response, use this to set up a phone meeting.

General rule: If you get a "no" at any stage, respond with: "OK. Just out of curiosity, why did you say no?"


1. Never SPAM.

  • Using a purchased list of emails to send generic content is SPAM.
  • Using an "opt-out" mechanism to send generic content is SPAM.
  • Mass emails to people who've actively signed up are not SPAM.
  • Individualized cold emails to specific prospects are never SPAM.

2. Get More Opens (The Subject)

  • Shorter is better, 2-3 words is ideal, but...
  • Hit the prospect's pressure point. Bad: "SUBJECT: New Product Announcement" Good: "SUBJECT: Avoiding Manufacturing Overruns"
  • If appropriate include recipient's geography: "SUBJECT: Efficient Manufacturing in Sheboygan"
  • If appropriate reference recipient's competitor: "SUBJECT: [competitor]'s Strategic Plan"
  • Avoid the fake "RE:"; it's irritating and old hat.
  • Avoid sales words like "free," "guarantee," "customer service," etc.
  • Don't include the recipient's name (SPAM flag).
  • Don't ask for help (SPAM flag).

3. Get More Opens (The Salutation)

  • Be as informal as the culture allows; in USA use first name only.
  • Don't use "Dear..."

4. Get More Opens (The Teaser)

  1. Most inboxes display the first words of the first sentence (teaser).
  2. Teaser is equally important as Subject for getting opens.
  3. Don't waste it with platitudes ("Jim, At a time when companies are trying to..."), fake concern. ("Jane, I hope you are well. My company is...", nor housekeeping ("Click here to open this email in browser...).
  4. If possible, focus on a unique, quantifiable benefit. GOOD: "Our customers see an average 15% reduction..."
  5. If not, reinforce the subject line. GOOD: "If you're curious about [competitor]'s plans for the Sheboygan area..."

5. Get It Read (The Contents)

  1. Three short, simple sentences at most.
  2. Absolutely no corporate speak.
  3. One benefit but NO FEATURES. (Too soon.)
  4. Answer the recipient's three questions: "What's in it for me?", "Why buy it from you?", "What's the next step?"
  5. Always write from the customer's viewpoint.
  6. Never assign homework. ("For more information...")
  7. Don't overthink this; write like you talk.

6. Get a Response (The Call-To-Action)

  1. Include only one call-to-action: a yes/no question; more than one gets fewer responses.
  2. Go for the lowest barrier to starting a conversation: three finger taps <reply><y><send>
  3. Examples: "Does this interest you?" "Are you the right person there to be thinking about this issue?"
  4. No formal closing ("Sincerely", "Best Regards")
  5. No live links in your signature; that's an alternative call-to-action.


If you get a response at any stage, jump to Closing Email

  1. Send Cold Email
  2. Wait 3 Days
  3. If no response, resend Cold Email (Forward) with yes/no call-to-action at top. ("Is the below of interest to you?")
  4. Wait 3 Days
  5. If no response send Cold Email (Forward) with yes/no call-to-action at top. ("Are you the right person to contact?")
  6. Wait 3 Days
  7. If no response, send Cold Email (Forward) with "Hail Mary" call-to-action. ("Am I correct to assume this doesn't interest you?")


  • Only 3 to 5 short simple sentences.
  • Thank the prospect for replying.
  • Provide two more benefits.
  • Don't ask for a meeting time and date; ask (yes/no) whether a meeting is possible: "Would you be willing to meet with me more [xx] minutes to discuss this."
  • If response is yes, work out the time/date details.