Last week, I received an email from a digital marketing tool that I regularly use and enjoy. I have been a customer for more than a year and it is a product that I have even promoted on my blog and podcast.
That’s why I was shocked to receive an email from someone at the company who was pitching me on their product. On top of that, they asked me to link to one of their blog posts. #TotalFail
It was shocking to me that this sales person didn’t even check to see if I was already a customer. And, if the person had spent 30 seconds researching my blog, he would have seen that I have mentioned and linked to their product multiple times.
I really like this company, so this was disappointing to say the least.
But this kind of thing is not an isolated incident.
Actually, I get pitched to a LOT. I get dozens of emails every week with people trying to pitch me something.
Pitches to link to other people’s content – as in the example above.
Pitches for product demos.
Pitches for other service providers who want my referral or partnership.
The list goes on and on.
And sadly, most of the pitches absolutely suck. That’s why 90% of these emails go straight in the trash without a response.
Because the pitches were poorly researched, not a good fit for my company or they made some major fails in the email.
How to Pitch Your Business Idea the Right Way
But, I don’t want that to happen to you. I want to give you some simple tips to help you improve your pitching process so you can avoid the trashcan.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Do Your Research
1. Pitch the right people.
Sending a pitch to the wrong person is a big, fat waste of time. Do your research to make sure that you’re contacting someone who is actually a fit for your idea.
For instance, if you work for a healthcare company, you probably don’t want to pitch my blog. It’s not a good fit for what I cover here. Instead, you need to focus on finding the thought leaders and people in your industry who matter most.
Remember, quality over quantity, folks.
2. Know whom you are pitching.
Once you know that you’re targeting the right company, make sure you know more about the person you are emailing. Connect with that person on social media, read their blog or website and conduct a Google search to see what you find.
Had the person at the beginning of the post taken the time to recognize I’m already a customer and fan, the pitch could have been tailored differently and I would have been much happier to help out. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to know as much as you can about the person before you reach out.
Craft Your Pitch
3. Determine your story idea or angle.
Before your craft your pitch, you need to determine what’s your story or angle? What are you trying to accomplish?
Make sure you’re story idea, product pitch or cover letter is crystal clear.
4. Make it concise.
Whether you’re pitching a journalist on a story or a CEO on a product, you’re contacting someone who is short on time.
Don’t write a lengthy diatribe. Instead, get to the point right away.
5. Customize your pitch.
Sending the same email to 100 different people is not likely to work very well. That’s why you should customize your message to the person you’re pitching.
What does she like? What does she read? Who does she talk to? What problems is she trying to solve?
If you do your research, you should be able to figure these things out and craft a pitch that’s perfectly tailored to her. If you do that, it will be sure to stand out.
6. Be careful with automation.
If you’re in sales and you’re sending a pitch to a mail-merged list, be very careful.
Automated emails aren’t nearly as effective and there’s a lot of room for error. For instance, here’s an email I received the other day.
Notice the XXX? The person didn’t set up the mail merge properly.
If you’re going to send mass emails, triple check your mail merge settings so that it’s addressed to the right person and any customized fields will show up properly for every person.
7. Think about what’s in it for them.
So often when pitching, people are focused on themselves. They want a story, link or a sale. Instead, think about the person you are pitching. What’s in it for them? Focus on delivering value and how your pitch will be worth their time and effort.
For instance, in the case of the product at the top of the article, the person could have offered me a slight discount on their service to thank me for the time and trouble or offered a small gift in appreciation.
How can you make your request worth a person’s time?
Go the extra mile.
If you really want to stand out and get someone’s attention, go the extra mile to show what your company can do.
Here’s a fantastic example from Bryan Harris at VideoFruit. He didn’t just send Hubspot an email
pitching his video service, he actually created a sample video to show them what he can do.
A standalone pitch wouldn’t have had nearly as much power. Because he gave Hubspot a taste of his work, he was able to snag their attention.
Another example is a pitch Danielle received from Wordsmith, a tool that helps you create marketing reports. Danielle said she probably wouldn’t have given them a look if they hadn’t given her access to the tool to generate some free reports. Because they did that, she was able to see for herself if the product made sense.
When pitching someone, think about how you can give that person a taste of what it’s like to work with you.
What can you give away for free to demonstrate your value?
9. Make it easy.
If you want someone to take action — whether it be write a story, link to your content or buy your stuff — be sure you make the process simple.
For instance, if you’re pitching a reporter, send the information in a format that’s easy for them to copy and paste the information directly into a story.
If there are too many steps or the process is too complicated, people won’t take the time. Be sure to remove the friction throughout the entire process.
10. Triple check for errors.
I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received with poor grammar and misspelled words. On top of that, I’ve received even more emails where it was addressed to my marketing assistant, Jenn, or someone else at my company.
Before you hit send, make sure that it’s addressed to the right person, you use proper spelling and grammar and all of the information is correct. There’s no quicker path to the delete button than to send a pitch that is fraught with errors.
Does this approach take a lot more work than sending a template email to 500 people?
But, I promise that if you follow these steps, your pitch will be far more effective and help you get the attention you deserve.
Have you tried any of these tips? What has worked for you when pitching your ideas? Let me know in the comments section!