Want Better E-mail Marketing Results? Keep it Simple

Last week, Fire Enterprises (FEI) marketing maven Marka told savvy salesperson Zoot and FEI tribe leader Org how building a competitive positioning grid can help FEI’s staff stay on message and counter buying objections. This week, Marka discusses how plain, text-only e-mails can achieve better results for FEI than traditional promotional e-mails. Remember, fire=print.

The 74th Annual Firebuyers Conference was just two weeks away. To maximize his lead-generation opportunities at this conference, Zoot purchased a pre-show attendees list and sent everyone a broadcast e-mail, asking to meet during the show.

The e-mail was beautifully designed, impeccably written, and featured a clear, compelling call-to-action. Understandably, Zoot was disappointed when the e-mail got just one measly response: Wally from Wally’s Watchmakers replied with a polite “not interested.”

The next day, Zoot entered Marka’s office and told her what had happened.

“I have an idea,” Marka said. “Why don’t you send a simple follow-up—I mean really simple.” She scribbled this on a piece of paper:

I sent you an e-mail last week.

Would you like to schedule a no-obligation sales growth appointment next Monday or Tuesday at the Firebuyers’ Conference? Please contact me at this e-mail address or the number below. See you there!


“Ditch the main image, the header, the sidebar, and any other frou-frou,” Marka said. “This e-mail should look exactly like a personal e-mail coming from you.”

“That’s it?” Zoot asked skeptically.

“Give it a shot,” Marka said.

A few days later, Zoot sent the follow-up e-mail as Marka described. Within three hours, more than 25 attendees had responded! A few were just polite “no thank you’s, but Zoot did manage to set 11 appointments with prospects.

The next day Zoot returned to Marka’s office. “Your idea was genius,” he told Marka. “I just don’t understand why it worked.”

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
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  • Melissa Sienicki

    I definitely want to try this and, like Marka, test the different variables. Thank you for the great idea – keep them coming!