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. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
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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!