Quick Tip: Increase Your Email Response Rates

Sending an e-mail to a prospective customer, partner, or investor?  Trying to get them to schedule a meeting or phone call with you?

Our advice: put your request, up top, in the form of a specific question.

Journalists have a related idea called the “Inverted Pyramid.” MBA’s know it as the “Minto Pyramid Principle” (you can skip the book, this is the central idea).

So, something like this:

Hi John,

Would you be available for a brief phone call on Thursday (5/16) at 11AM or 3PM PT?

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All the best,

Mike

You get the idea. Your goal is to elicit a response. How?

  • Making sure your request is actually seen by putting it up top, with all of the other info and details below
  • Challenging the recipient by proposing something very specific (encouraging them to think about it your request in a concrete way)
  • Framing your request in the form of a question (which naturally begs for a response).

Jakob Nielsen has written up many more useful and related tricks.

Modern, “Clean” and Simple Tools You May Want to Check Out

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We love Freshbooks.  We use it send client invoices, track expenses, and more. Years ago we tried QuickBooks Online, assuming that a cloud-version of the super-popular small-biz accounting software had to be the best. WOW, we were wrong. It was (and, we hear, still is) a UI abomination – really really confusing, overly-complicated, and just not much fun to use. Freshbooks is where it’s at. Plus, they’re one of us: a fast-growing startup with an enviable “sticky” recurring-revenue model (who really wants to switch accounting software!?).
Sending e-mail campaigns for marketing purposes? Tried MailChimp? You really ought to take a look at Campaign Monitor. We’ve used MailChimp several times over the years. Folks rave about it. We’ve tried to get into it, but we just don’t get it. Inconsistent user-interface, super-complicated template editing, dozens of ways to do the same thing. The chimp branding is fun and cute, but we find it difficult to work with. On the other hand, Campaign Monitor is clean, consistent, and very straightforward.

We haven’t tried it yet, but lots of people are raving about ZenPayroll. Our experience with payroll products is that they’re generally awful – resembling old-school online banking systems. We’re really rooting for these guys and hope that they can finally help modernize this space.

Venture Voice – Great Podcast on Startups and Entrepreneurship

 

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Have some time in the car, on a plane, on a train? Check out VentureVoice – a really great (but sadly, discontinued) free podcast on startups and entrepreneurship.

From 2005 to 2009, our friend Greg Galant interviewed 60 really smart and interesting startup founders and investors. It’s full of insightful anecdotes and war stories. We’ve listened to them all – our favorites are probably:

Great “101 Entrepeneur” Event Last Night in Agoura Hills!

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Last night we sponsored an event local to our Westlake Village office.

Thank you to all who attended. Turnout was great. Lots of smart interesting folks building companies (tech and otherwise) in LA, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties.

Special thanks to Gerhard Apfelthaler (soon to be Dean of School of Management at CLU) and Brandon Highland for your contributions and spreading the word.
We love to see the community come together. Like many of you, we plan on planting deep roots in this area, expect to start many companies here in the coming years, and we really believe that developing rich personal relationships with others will benefit us all.

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