Last night I was helping my husband promote a one-day conference on Irish Literature & Music. (If you’re interested you can learn more here. It made me think that a lot of people are shy about sending emails to folks, when they shouldn’t be. Done right, sending email can be very effective. I successfully use email often to share info with strangers (often to promote conferences). Here are the steps I take.
I think of people who would generally have an interest in my message. For example it seems that local English teachers might have an interest in the Irish Lit conference.
Once I have a target group I think of two ways to reach them: through an association where they might be a member and through personal email. For example there is a MN Council of Teachers of English and I can get many of the teachers’ personal emails through their school web sites.
I send personal notes to associations asking them to forward the message on to their members, I ask them to add the event to their calendar if they have one, and I might offer to write an article on the topic if appropriate. This is a good way to reach a lot of people.
With personal emails I make them personal. I use the person’s name if I have it and I try to make a connection to the person using whatever info I have been able to glean from their web site. It might be as simple as saying “…since you teach English I thought you might be interested…” Sometimes I can glean more, “I see that you wrote your PhD on James Joyce, so I bet you’d be interested in…” Reaching people these two ways has worked very well for me.
It takes a long time to email this way – but the return on investment is usually pretty good. And rarely have I had anyone who was upset about receiving an unsolicited email message.