7 Tips for Emailing Busy Prospects for Ad Agency New Business

email marketing for ad agency new business

There’s a lot you can learn from the large number of emails you receive daily. 

With the popularity of my blog, I receive a significant amount of email. I have to be able to quickly filter through all of the emailed invitations to advise, consult, review and speak as well as those that pitch products, services or partnering opportunities. It isn’t unusual to receive well over a hundred of these types of emails daily.

Out of such a large number of emails, very few will enlist my response. But learning from the ones that I do respond to helps me to be more effective using email for my own business development.

Below is a good example of an email pitch that I responded to almost immediately after receiving it. 

Dear Michael,

I run a small events company in Johannesburg South Africa, Classic Exhibitions & Conferences. We’ve had it on our radar to run an Advertising Innovation Day for some time and was interested to have you keynote this event. We’ve had good success with events dealing with Social Media and we’ve had a surprisingly large number of advertising agencies attend.  Please see our website www.classicevents.co.za to get an idea of the kind of events we’ve done in the past.

I believe there would be a market for a special event  for advertising agencies in Johannesburg and Cape Town and possibly Durban as well.  These are the three main centres where there are a number of agencies. The bulk of the agencies are in Johannesburg and Cape Town but Durban has a number of smaller agencies.

Would you please advise me of your typical speaker fee ?  I would also be interested to know if you would entertain a profit share or delegate rate share? Also, please give me an idea of when you could come to South Africa for a week or so. I’m guessing you’d surely want a couple of days to relax and see some of the country whilst here.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best regards

Nigel Brown

Here are the reasons why I found this to be a good email pitch and hopefully you’ll find some helpful tips for reaching your prospects:

  1. Use a person’s first name. Personal is always better than formal when you are reaching out through email. Formal seems cold and indifferent, often appears spammy. Nigel starts off his email pitch to me simply with “Dear Michael.”
  2. Create a pitch letter that is concise and brief. I can’t tell you how I distain opening a long email from someone. It is actually  easier to bang out a lengthy email but, it is also discourteous to the receipient. Being short and concise takes more effort on the part of the sender but it is always appreciated and leaves a favorable  impression.  Nigel condensed his email down to 3 short paragraphs – perfect!
  3. The request is very clear as well as the invitation on how he would like me to respond.
  4. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have received requests like this and had to search for the contact info. But it occurs more often than not. Nigel made it easy for me to follow-up by including all of the various channels that I can make contact with him. Though I didn’t list them here for obvious reasons, Nigel provided me with his email address, cell phone and direct dial office numbers, a Skype number and how to connect with him via social media.
  5. Don’t over pitch in the subject line. Nigel’s subject line was very effective in getting my attention: Query to explore you coming to South Africa for a series of talks. Who wouldn’t want an opportunity to visit South Africa. But also, Nigel’s invitation wasn’t salesy. It was a simple invitation to explore the possibility and gauge of my interest. He left the response totally in my court. He didn’t use it as a precursor for a “warm call” that he would initiate.
  6. Nigel was also proactive in providing information about his company. In the email he provided me with the link to his company’s website knowing that I would want to investigate credentials.
  7. Don’t overuse flattery. The owner of the first ad agency that I ever worked for, used a lot of flattery in conversation’s with prospects.  It always came off as insincere, almost sleazy. Most of the time flattery can be implied without even stating anything and is more effectual.

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photo credit: Sean MacEntee via photo pincc

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Great subject matter, however I disagree with this as an example of a strong approach. It focuses on their experiences rather than the call to action, is quite lengthy in my opinion and has at least one spelling mistake…. pkus, Michael, they are at the end of the day offering to pay you for something rather than asking you for some of your precious budget….. a whole different scenario! I wish email marketing was as easy as this!

  2. Kaeli,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your point of view. The example I shared was something that I personally responded to. I get pitched daily and this was one of the few that got my response. It also generated my interest for writing a post.

    You have to also remember my audience is and that I’m writing for them – small to midsize advertising agencies. An email invitation or pitch coming from an agency is far different than would be used for B2C. We are a service industry and the post is about individual pitch emails to an agency prospect.

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