Cutting through the noise part 2 – the best marketing email I’ve received in the past 12 months

If you haven’t had the chance to read my previous post about the best direct mail piece I’ve seen this year, I invite you do so, as it ties in closely with why I loved this email.

The subject line was as follows: Michigan State vs. the Buckeyes.. Friendly wager?

This email came from a gentleman I had never heard of, nor did I know of his company. He sent it on the Wednesday before a big football game between my alma mater (Michigan State) and Ohio State. Here was the first paragraph of his email to me:

Hey Mark,

As a lifelong Buckeyes fan, I wanted to reach out with a friendly wager. I’ll give you the Spartans to cover the spread as of game time Saturday and I’ll take the Ohio State to beat it. If you win, I’ll send you some Michigan State swag or make a donation to a charity of your choice. If I win, I’d like the chance to have a short call to introduce Tenfold.

He then shared a quick sentence about his company, and then above his signature, he signed off by saying:

Let me know if we have a bet!

Here’s what I know…  he probably sent that same email to a list of other MSU grads in a similar business/job capacity. As you can see from his email, he didn’t even go to school there… so it could have even been totally made up that he was a fan. BUT… he got my attention. I replied to him and explored what his company did. Here’s what I loved about this strategy:

  • Highly personalized. I’m an MSU alum and football fan. He did his homework (that homework isn’t that hard to do, especially with LinkedIn and all the other data sources out there).
  • It was different. It was completely outside the box and not the same old company pitch I get ALL THE TIME.
  • The subject line FORCED me to open it. Enough said. That’s the name of the game.
  • It was a win-win for him. Even if he had to send me “swag” as he put it, it was a drop in the bucket for his company to continue engagement with a potential client.
  • His signature line had a direct link where I could schedule a call with him. Highly effective use of his time and I’d betcha he got a bunch of calls scheduled as a result of it.
  • It was time sensitive and highly opportunistic – I responded to him before the game (within a day or two of his email being sent). He capitalized on a big event.
  • It gave him an immediate icebreaker conversation that wasn’t about business. Let’s face it, people prefer to do business with people they enjoy talking with (especially things that aren’t business related).
  • It’s highly repeatable. His favorite school has a dozen football games a year and even more basketball games.

So… can you get creative with something like this in your practice?

Here’s my action steps/thoughts for you:

  1. Find your team/sport/passion. It helps to be genuine with this one.
  2. Have fun with the offer/challenge/bet (and make sure your compliance folks are OK with it).
  3. Use Linkedin as a starting point for finding the people you may want to do this with. (Translation: don’t buy an email list).

If I can be of any assistance to you with your efforts, feel free to contact me.

In the meantime… GO GREEN!

All the best!


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