Best Tips on Writing Effective Emails to CEO's & Directors

This week I have the pleasure of producing an invitation email to send to some of the countries most powerful people. Chief execs, directors, heads of IT etc. This has to be, the toughest crowd to date.
Their time is precious, with many emails being viewed on their iphone or simply by their secretary without getting any further.
The content needs to be direct and to the point as they can sense waffle and sales from a mile away.
A personal approach is ideal to get passed both the external and internal spam blocker. Although they know it is an automated send out, it’s nice to see that we tried to make it personal, that we made an effort. Copywriting has always had this difficult challenge, however targets of this calibre make a decision on even the smallest mistake.
So, focusing on title, content and call to action (CTA), I need to make sure the whole thing is compelling, informative and actionable.
If you knew how to write the perfect subject line, you’d be the most successful writer in the world. Subject lines are often the first and largest hurdle to get over. You need a professional tone that is engaging and “clickable”, b2c tricks don’t work here, no “limited time only” or “save 25%” With b2b catchy titles just won’t do it, your message matters too, you just need them to read it.
Good content is paramount to a successful email strategy. High level communication has to be personal. CEOs and directors are people too, they are smart and can smell a sales pitch from a mile away. Being personal feels honest, a friendly approach, leaving jargon at the door to ensure you have their attention, not have them thinking a spam machine has been pumping out email after email.
A tidy CRM makes this job a lot easier, instead of “dear sir/madam” have “dear *first_name*”, sure they’ll know your CRM is getting used, but at least you tried to make your email personal, you’ll be surprised how far that goes.
Be honest. If you are inviting them to an event, be honest about the event, don’t lie about the panel or big up a speaker, directors and CEOs know each other, and often know each other well. The last thing you need is someone picking up on an extension of the truth.
Sent by
Let’s be honest, getting an email from a “sales officer” or “business development manager” or even “marketing manager” always has the sense that there is a hidden agenda (which there is). Try and get someone on a similar level to you targets to contact them, people respond well to equals and that is no different in the upper echelons of business. Send it from a director, a CEO or board member. Have a bit of guile.
Techy bits
– Have your email wired with analytics, find out bounce backs and click throughs to give you as much information to review your campaign.
– customise sent from addresses and names, don’t send it from or reply to We have a natural spam filter and as soon as you see the word “sales” in an email that doesn’t appear to sell, you can kiss that contact goodbye.
– spelling punctuation and grammar! – I know this should be standard procedure but you’d be amazed how many emails manage to get sent out with spelling mistakes and wrong email addresses or phone numbers. Your email represents your business, if they think you can’t string a sentence together they are going to be brimming with confidence about your ability to deliver.

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