Business Insights

Business Insights

Lead Generation Emails - Do's And Don'ts

I recently received an email from the Head of Sales of a lead generation business. This email was a follow up to an email received 5 days earlier. The first email was bad, that’s why I ignored it. The second was even worse.

Normally I just delete bad marketing emails, but this one stood out, as the sender was apparently a provider of lead generation services. I then posted the text of the email on LinkedIn along with this throwaway comment :

This is why you shouldn't let the Head of Sales do your lead generation - and this is apparently a lead generation company!

Within a matter of hours the post has gained over 6500 views and a number of comments, some agreeing, and some calling me out and asking me to suggest something different.

The easy option would be for me to say “NO – if you want some consultancy then call me and we can arrange a mutually convenient time to chat”

But I started it, so here’s what I don’t like about this email sequence and this style of approach. And for good measure, here’s what I would do differently.

Both emails were titled: call request

The use of lower caps reflects the original text.

The follow up email

Hi David,

I’m sure you are busy, however I just wanted to know if you had a chance to see my previous email.

If you are looking to generate new business opportunities soon then it would be great to have a conversation. Do you have time to speak this week?


I’m seeing more and more of this style of email, the use of informal subject lines and apparent lack of attention to detail – not using caps etc. I don’t think it does the company or the individual any favours and leaves the impression that someone is just playing a numbers game.

Throw enough out there and something will happen.

That’s so inefficient for all concerned. It’s far better to build a process and a sequence that informs and nurtures cold contacts into warm leads.

What I don’t like about this specific email sequence.

1) The sender is from a company purporting to be experts in lead generation, if they were, they should know whether I saw the email or not. This type of message is becoming more and more prevalent, it's akin to the early 00's when telemarketing agencies would simply keep calling you until you submitted out of frustration to taking their call about telemarketing services. The mere act of succumbing on what seemed like the 30th call would be the basic premise as to why they thought they were different.

2) I have already ignored the first email because I thought it demonstrated that the senders company was not capable of offering something different.

3) If a lead generation agency can't use imagination, technology and technique to garner my interest, what chance have they of doing so for my marketing campaigns.

4) The email points to a website that is in French

5) The French language website points to a LinkedIn profile totally unconnected with the company

What would I do?

1) For starters I would make sure that my UK business was supported with a UK website.

Wordpress is a wonderful thing and it’s doesn’t take much energy or cash to create a fully branded website in a local language. I would have thought this was a particularly easy task for a lead generation company, unless of course they don’t believe in multi-channel marketing, landing pages, lead magnets, lead scoring etc etc etc.

2) The opening gambit of the email sequence was:

“ I want to get in touch as I think our service could be of interest to you.”

Consider me strange if you will, but marketing messages that focus on “What We Do” (WWD) just doesn’t cut it with buyers.

Your target audience – the buyers - are asking one simple question which is “What’s In It For ME” (WIIFM) .

If you cannot articulate the benefits that your product or service offers, then why am I going to consider your business? As a buyer I don’t really care what you do, I care about what results you can deliver, by doing what you do.

If the writer of the email had simply changed the word ‘service’ to ‘qualified leads service’ then it would have been a lot better.

3) The opening sentence is also to passive – “I think” and “could be” needs to be changed to more confident, more attention seeking text. We don’t need to resort to the silicon snake oil sales pitch beloved of so many internet marketers. Just be more confident in your approach.

I think the opening sentence should be changed to something like this:

“Our lead generation services could deliver additional sales leads in 2018 for your company.”

It’s still not perfect, but…you have my attention. You are a lead generation company and you can grow my business – I probably want to read beyond this first sentence.

4) Finally, I would expect any lead generation business in today’s market to be capable of tracking email opens etc – I know that it’s a pain when an email is read in the preview pane rather than opened. That’s why a call to action would have been great. The writer could have suggested that I check out a case study, on their website, for example, before I responded to the email. That would have self-qualified me as a lead in an instant.

So, that’s why I believe you shouldn’t let your sales team write their own marketing emails.

Would you have done something different?

David Long

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