You want to make your emails ‘you’ focused, not ‘I’ focused. You want your emails to focus on the recipient, not your business — no matter if you’re promoting your services as a consultant, pitching a guest article or interview on a podcast, or promoting a new piece of content.
Let’s take a look at a real email and deconstruct how it is — and isn’t — you focused and what it could improve to become more you focused.
Let’s take a look at this email (names and some specific details have been changed):
When we look at this email, we can see some good things… and some not so good things.
- The email is personalized, featuring the organization’s name (and, if available, the name of the person you’re emailing)
- The email is specific, talking about an expensive problem (getting more traffic)
- The email cites social proof, a case-study on the sender’s website, letting people have multiple ways to engage (aside from just hitting ‘reply’)
All-in-all, a good email. It follows a number of the rules I promote in The Outreach Blueprint.
But! (and this is a big but that I just can’t lie about), the email is very “I” focused. Let’s take a look again, highlighting all “I” focused sentences in a dark red:
And again with all the ‘You’ focused sentences or fragments in green:
There’s one sentence that’s not quite a ‘You’ focus and not quite an “I” focus: “You can learn more about that here: [case study link]”).
That line is addressed to the reader (“You can…”), but it’s about work that the sender has done (an “I” focus). I’m splitting the difference and marking it yellow.
When you look at the email this way, you start to see that while the person who wrote the email is talking to the recipient in a number of places, they’re really just talking about themselves to the recipient.
When you just talk about yourself in an email, you stand a great chance of boring the recipient. And when you bore someone, they click ‘archive’ or ‘unsubscribe.’
If you want your recipient to be excited to receive your emails, you need to make your emails focused on the person you’re emailing, not focused on you.
What could our above example email look like with this rewrite in mind?
When we do a quick rewrite of this email, we can see how by focusing it on the recipient and their goals — more customers, more traffic — and tuning the wording, we make it much more relevant to the recipient.
Instead of talking about yourself, you’re talking about the recipient, the recipient’s pains, and how you can solve those pains for the recipient. And you still accomplish the same goals of alerting the person you’re emailing to how you can help.
So, how do you write a cold email that someone is excited to receive? I say it comes down to three things:
- ‘You’ Focused Language — I’ve harped on this a bunch, but you want to use ‘you’ focused language and ‘you’ focused statements, not ‘me’ focused statements.
- Pains — You need to understand the pain that is motivating someone to act. Is it “Do you want more traffic?” or “Are you worried that your customers can’t find your website?”
- Research — How do you understand the pains people are experiencing? How do you write emails that address those pains in a ‘you’ focused way? By understanding your target market. And you do that through research, through surveys, through talking with them, and countless other strategies…
And a number of other elements that I talk about in my Free Outreach Course (sign up today for a free 5-day course on writing emails people respond to).
Friend, I hoped you enjoyed this little exploration of ‘you’ vs ‘me’ focused language in emails.
Next time you write an email, take a moment, pause, and ask yourself “Am I talking about me” to the recipient? Or am I talking about the person I’m emailing?”
Ideally, you’re talking about the person you’re emailing, the pains they’re experiencing, and how you can help them fix those problems.
And when you do that? People are excited to get emails from you.