reach-out email campaigns
May 21, 2021

Three Out Of The Box Tips
to Write Kick-Ass Email Campaigns

Matt Sabbatini
Matt Sabbatini

What do most candidate reach-out email campaigns have in common? They are often too functional and fail to spark curiosity and emotion.

At LevelUp, we don’t believe in cold calls. When I started here, I quickly realised that our weapons of choice are email campaigns. This got me thinking:

How can we write emails in a way that doesn’t look like we just send a bulk text to all of our sourced candidates, without spending endless hours personalising every single email?

Well, don’t get me wrong, you should always personalise the emails you send, that’s the most important rule; no doubt. But in this article, I’m going to share my secret sauce (made of 3 main ingredients) which I use to write my best reach-out email campaigns.

My manager inviting me on a discovery adventure to write the best email campaigns

Good subject lines = high open rates

To even get any kind of reply from candidates you need a good subject line.

Recently, I had a chat with Mike ‘Batman’ Cohen, one of the most influential recruiters in the landscape, who shared his three secret ingredients with me.

1. Use their company name in the subject line

Sounds weird, right? Think about it though. If someone emailed you on your personal address with a subject line containing your current company name, how likely are you to be intrigued by the content?

Ok great but how does that relate to the email? Easy, check out the image below.

Example of using the company name as the subject line

This way you are able to personalise the email to the candidate’s profile, without going out of your way to find out something unique about them.

2. Don’t use numbers and questions in the subject line

Numbers and questions in subject lines are proven NOT to work. As soon as a number is included in the subject, the open rate drops. Why? This is because questions and numbers often appear too salesy and people already know what that means → Archive that!

For example, in a study by Yesware, emails including a question in the subject line got 41,6% open rate as opposed to those without a question which got 51,9%. Almost a smashing 20% difference.

Source: Yesware

3. Think mobile first when formatting your subject line

Nowadays, 38% of emails are opened on an Apple iPhone and 30% in Gmail. This means you should craft your emails to mobile experiences. A good thing to keep in mind is that subject lines are reduced when they go over 36 characters. So keep it clean, use their company name and don’t go over 36 characters.

The 36 characters rule

Don’t believe me? Check out these sweet stats about my most recent email campaign below.

A screenshot of my most recent email campaign in numbers

Four Steps, Four Personalities

At LevelUp, we love the DISC personality framework because, based on the person’s personality type, it helps to assess which is the best communication type to use. Plus, it’s easy to figure out which personality someone has within the first minute or so while speaking to them.

Of course, you can’t assess that just by looking at someone’s LinkedIn profile, but there’s a workaround.

The Disc Framework

Talent Strategist Stacy Zapar shares in her SocialTalent course ‘Stacy’s Secret Sauce’ that she follows the ‘3 Step Rule’. Basically, if she hasn’t heard back from her candidates she will email back 3 more times.

With that in mind, the reach-out email campaign you’re going to send will be made of 4 steps – because according to that’s definitely not too much. It’s perfect because you can write each email using a different communication style adhering to the DISC framework.

Email #1: I write my first email in ‘Green style’ targeting people with the Steadiness trait. Usually, this is the most generic way of writing emails, also because ‘Green people’ are the most common personality types. Focus on how the role is going to help people, a business, a problem.

➤ Email #2: Your second email should be written in ‘Blue AND Red style’ targeting people with the Dominance and/or the Conscientiousness trait. I actually like to mix these two as they are similar in the sense that they are interested in facts, benefits, details, desired results. Stay short and sweet, use A LOT of bullet points and leave out the BS.

Email #3: Third email still no response? No problem, let’s try something different. With this one I target ‘Yellow style’ people with the Influence trait and I use lots of memes (more on that below). Add info about the company culture, use images, and leave out all the functional info you added to your second email.

Email #4: Fourth email, I call this one ‘The Hail Mary’. This is usually the wrap-up email where I invite the person to connect on LinkedIn and have accepted the fact that I won’t get a response. I also try a final nudge by adding a link to my Calendly and the vacancy, just in case.

The use of humour

My final tip is to use humour – shocker! In 2021, the fourth leading crypto is a meme. If that’s not a sign that meme culture is more and more applicable to the professional world, I don’t know what is – looking at you DogeCoin.

On top of that, at LevelUp we work with a lot of start-ups which often have a more informal company culture as well as a younger employee base. Thus using humour in email is acceptable and sometimes a good representation of the company culture.

Generally, humour helps evoke emotions, it lightens people’s days and it will make you stand out from the other emails I talked about at the beginning which are too functional and don’t spark enough curiosity.

Next steps? EXPERIMENT! We use Lemlist to send out our campaigns and track the data and it also allows you to A/B test a few variations. Feel free to read more about how we use Lemlist to approach candidates.

So, go crazy, try a new approach and remember:

“The worst thing that can happen is that no one replies”
Reggie Ebbe, 2021

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