Jun 07, 2018 at 12:00 AM
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The Five Factors Affecting Your Email Response Rate

In a world where the average office worker receives well over 100 emails each day (The Radicati Group), it’s no wonder that some messages slip through the cracks.

Still, it’s hard not to take it personally when a carefully drafted email goes unanswered. Before you assume that the non response is a rejection of you and your property, be sure that your request stood clear among the inbound clutter in the first place. Additionally, it is important to understand that the initial outreach is not the same email as the sponsorship proposal itself. No one will be sold on something they never agreed to shop for. Aside from using sponsor insights to determine who is in the market, it's always a good idea to establish rapport with decision makers.

When making the initial outreach, here are five common mistakes that may prevent you from receiving a response:

1. Length - your email is too long

  • Use short paragraphs to quickly and concisely convey your point – maintain simple language and stick to about three lines per paragraph as a general rule
  • According to Entrepreneur.com, messages containing just 50-125 words yield the highest response rate Consider what your email will look like if opened on a mobile phone (which is how 68% of all emails are read these days) – can the recipient quickly scan the email and still pick out what is important?
  • The higher the word count, the higher the risk for typos and errors in grammar – which will immediately cost you the recipient’s respect

    2. Subject - your subject line is not enticing enough

  • Given the volume of incoming emails, the smartest subject lines are searchable within the inbox to make a delayed response easier
  • Try writing the subject line as the first step - this reminds you to nail down what the recipient wants and needs from you and serves as a guide for making your point throughout
  • Lead with numbers - a statistic that establishes credibility or an apparent deadline for request if applicable
  • If you were referred, immediately namedrop to increase your chances of an open
  • According to Business Insider, subjects made up of 3 or 4 words receive the most responses

    3. Ask - you aren’t asking for something specific...or appropriate

  • Again, this is not a sponsorship proposal. Your goal should be to achieve a referral, introduction, expertise, phone call, or meeting. Even if your ask is simply for their time, intentionally mention the amount of time you’ll require to discuss a specific topic
  • Make sure your email boils down to one clear ask with smart, succinct sentences to support the reasons why their answer should be yes
  • Answer all of the basic questions so that their response does not have to be a request for more information – avoid being vague about what you initially want from them and next steps
  • Ensure the ask is in line with the relationship that you have with that contact. (For example – if it’s a cold email, then act appreciative just to open the line of communication with a five minute phone call)

    4. Value - you aren’t offering anything

  • Determining the right person at the company to reach out to has a direct impact on the perceived importance that you or your opportunity will be to them – using the contacts tab in SponsorPitch will point you to those that close the deals
  • Build rapport and respect by offering a favor or expertise – especially if there’s a way to eliminate the correlation to what you expect to receive in return
  • Don’t assume they know your value...but definitely don’t assume they’ll need a long explanation – try wowing with quick stats and ROI. In the words of Chris Baylis, “If [the recipient] can’t describe your project in one sentence and the benefit of being involved, you don’t get money.”
  • Briefly mention accolades of yourself AND the recipient that deem you both as experts in the field(s) relative to what you wish to collaborate on
  • Spell out why engaging with you/the organization will make that person more successful at their job

    5. Timing - you aren’t sending your emails in a timely or relative fashion

  • According to Forbes, the early hours of the morning (6:00 a.m. - 7:00 a.m.) OR after work hours (8:00 p.m.) are the most responsive times to send your note. Emails sent just outside normal working hours will have less competition and offer the recipient more time to respond.
  • Mention relevant milestones or articles recently released on the company that make for a natural progression or indication that a partnership (or conversation) with you makes sense
  • If you have recently connected with a mutual contact, be sure to namedrop them immediately and reference the common ground
  • No matter how great your email was, perhaps it wasn’t the best time – don’t be afraid to follow up 2-3 times before closing the door.
  • Only contact them on work email or phone and make sure the follow up does not unintentionally sound spiteful