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Many years ago when I still had hair and dinosaurs walked the earth (that’ll be the mid 1980s) I started work in the film and TV business as a ‘runner’. A runner is a gofer/tea maker/general lowly assistant - who literally has to ‘run’ around delivering stuff.

This job was brilliant as you got to meet with everyone in the production team as you would be delivering to all the departments; neg cutters, writers, camera department, dressing rooms, many, many bars and pubs to find the senior production people like directors and producers and senior creatives (quite unlike the clean living world of digital, all those fruit infusions and yoga).

My favourite type of work was TV commercials. It was glamorous, challenging work - you have 30 seconds (actually 28 with a 1 second mute freeze at the start and end) to speak to a disinterested viewer about a product or service.

Commercials like any film is can come in any of the following story forms: there are comedies, thrillers, horror, romance, adventure, fantasy, (I have left out factual as it doesn’t exist).

But can you guess the unique element that all of them have?

It is this; people watch films about people. Yes, nature programmes are about people because nature films are about ‘people’ watching nature, which is why cuddly cute polar bears get more airtime than bacteria.

All storytelling is by people for people, and anyone who is involved in any people business needs to keep that front and centre in everything they do. Guess what? All businesses are ‘people’ businesses.

All businesses will be run by people. People who have families and friends, hobbies and interests, pastimes and lifestyles with broad spectrums of motivations and interests.

People matter. Especially when we are trying to ‘sell’ things. We need to tell the right story at the right time to the right person.

According to this study the average person receives 121 emails per day and the number of emails sent globally is north of 190 billion, with business emails making up more than 100 billion of those.

So, in this maelstrom of communication your email is unlikely to be read, and that’s before we talk about spam filters.

If you are sending out automated email campaigns try to do the following:

  1. Identify the sector or vertical you think you want to sell to, research what challenges they are facing and how your service can help solve that pain.

  2. Identify who you need to talk to in the sector. Is it the CEO, the marketing manager or the procurement director?

  3. Make it short but be bold. Ask the question outright - ‘Do you have the challenge of X?’, ‘Are you the right person to speak to?’

  4. Make it light. Don’t go into reams of explanation, it won’t get read - just like the TV commercial, you don't have much time and you are trying to open a conversation.

  5. Make it personal. Get the name right, find a job title, do some research!

  6. Create at least four emails that relate to the first one, then like a TV commercial repeat the message: “Hi Jake, I sent you an email about challenge X. Can we book a 5-minute call to discuss?”

Using an auto email system (there are many on the market) you can drip these emails to the prospect over about 14-20 days, if you use something like Sidekick you will be able to track the emails and see if or when they are opened.

You can now start scoring your emails.

  • Have they been opened?
  • Have they clicked on a link in the email?
  • Have they replied?

Any of these actions will represent some kind of engagement - if people are engaged by your message then you have a point at which you can start the conversation, you have put yourself in their mind.

Now is the time to remember these are people, it’s time to pick up the phone!

The next post will be about how to make a call.

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