Most sites have a contact page, and that’s an invitation for questions and collaboration, right? But there’s a way to approach bloggers and other business site owners for a higher degree of response rate, and a variety of ways to blow it.

That saying about first impressions is true for digital contact, too. Probably even truer because it’s not face to face, and it’s a lot easier to just hit ‘delete’ on an email and not think about it again.

I’m an avid reader and consume a lot of business-type articles each day. It’s tough to remember everything, but sometimes life throws out a reminder of specific points and I remember where I heard that advice first (or best).

What Bad Emails Look Like In Action

One mark that your website is growing is when you start getting solicitations through your contact form on a regular basis, and many of them are asking for something for nothing. They often open with a compliment, as if that makes everything that follows reasonable. It might look something like this:

I found your site via SOME METHOD, and am impressed at the type of content you write here. I was wondering if you’d be willing to include a featured article about my product, or if I could send you something I wrote for you to post?

If you’re like me, you see some of these emails and think a few things:

  1. You didn’t even explain your pitch. What is it you’re even looking to promote, and how is that relevant to my site?
  2. What do I get out of this?
  3. If it’s a featured article you’ve already written, how many other blogs have you propositioned? I don’t want duplicate content on my site that you’ve already sent to 50 other blogs.
  4. Yikes, this sort of reminds me of stuff I sent out years ago. Now that I’m on the receiving end it does sound lame.

Derek Halpern has a great 6 minute video on this. In the video he shows you exactly what NOT to do, as well as examples of emails that get responses. Derek is a super sharp guy, and I recommend following the Social Triggers blog for anyone in business, marketing, or copywriting.

If you’re emailing a business owner or blogger to ask for something, I think it’s important to remember that you’re the one asking. No one owes you anything, so the onus is on you to sell your idea and explain why it’s mutually beneficial.

Ideally, your email should be short and should touch on these key points:

  • What is it you’d like to see happen?
  • Why would the recipient be interested in this and how does he or she benefit?
  • What is it about this site in particular that makes this proposition a good idea?

If you want to compliment someone’s blog as an opener, make it clear that you’ve actually read something on the blog and reference it if it relates to your pitch. “When you wrote XYZ in the post about ABC, it I think your readers will benefit from this because REASON.”

This works because…

You’re creating a correlation between content of theirs you’ve actually read (proving you’re not a spammer) and their idea, and showing why their readers can benefit. This makes it more about the benefit of the person you’re emailing and less, as Derek says, as though you’re panhandling.

We’re all busy people, and no one has time for that.

Guest blogging is great — writing it or hosting it. But it has to be relevant and mutually beneficial. Any business owner and blogger worth the praise you’re heaping on them would say the same.

If you found this useful, you’ll also want to check these out: