Is it Time to Introduce Analytics to E-mail Pitching?

Businessman with graphI don’t usually write about the more tactical, day-to-day issues of PR and marketing, choosing instead to focus on the delicate work-life balance, thinking like an entrepreneur and why I think it’s OK to not have a traditional PR background. But today, bear with me for a bit, as I’m going to get pretty tactical on something every PR and marketing professional uses probably every single day of their jobs: the e-mail pitch.

Ahh, yes, the infamous “pitch.” Loathed by many, MANY, but in today’s smart phone-obsessed world, about as important as ever in terms of driving successful media outreach for brands and organizations. I won’t get into the whole debate about whether e-mail pitches should or should not be used, but there were a couple of interesting points I wanted to hit from Cone’s main points in the article on about how we can all make our e-mail pitches a bit more refined and increase the rate that our e-mails to bloggers and reporters will A) get opened; and B) actually get us some type of response.

How often do you think of actually branding yourself in your e-mail pitch? I know, I have bemoaned the whole “personal branding” mantra before on this site, but this time, I’m actually all for it. The reason being comes from a recent AdAge article from Steve Cone about the current state of e-mail marketing. In the article, Cone noted the best way to keep your marketing/PR e-mails from immediately getting deleted was to “brand yourself immediately in the ‘from’ and ‘subject’ lines. According to Cone, 70% of consumers (and by extension, we can reasonably assume reporters/bloggers, as they would be the “consumers” in the case of an e-mail pitch) say the “from” line is how they base their decision to open or ignore an e-mail from you, and 30% say it’s the “subject” line.

So, that begs the question: How much thought and attention are you giving to your personal brand equity with every reporter and blogger you reach out to? Are you actually announcing real news in the “subject” line, or just fishing for someone, anyone, to open your e-mail? Just like a direct marketing e-mail campaign, where most consumers wouldn’t give a second of their time to open your e-mail unless you have a pre-established relationship and some pending offer or promotion for them (Subject: Five Days Left to Buy!), the same applies to our e-mail pitches. If we’re not giving someone real news, or a real impetus to actually open our e-mail, and we haven’t already established some type of relationship with them, how we can expect a reporter and blogger to engage with us and get the ball rolling?

I’m not saying that we need to break our e-mail pitch strategies down to the granular, segmented level of e-mail marketing campaigns, but, perhaps we should give some more thought to the analytics behind our e-mail pitches. For an industry so obsessed about analytics and metrics of certain strategies, tactics and campaigns, should we begin analyzing some of the trends behind how well our e-mail pitches are received?

Do we really want to go that granular with our pitches? Is it wise to essentially target your pitches as you would a direct marketing e-mail campaign?

I don’t know. It’s certainly intriguing to think about. What do you think?

Another great article about the effectiveness of e-mail pitching (and why we need to make some pretty simple—but drastic—change in our pitches) comes from this recent PRWeek (UK) study.

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