Have you ever sent this email?

Hey Team,

Can someone take care of XYZ? Should only take a minute or two. Thanks in advance for the help!


If so, what happened?

Did you see a mad dash between your team to help you out? Any go-getters take care of that quick task? Anyone even respond at all?

Didn’t think so…

Write Your Emails to ONE Person at a Time

I recently read Mark Suster’s article about How to Get Busy People to Take Action When You Send an Email. It’s a must-read if you send any volume of email for your job, whether they’re to sales leads, to your project team, to upper management…to anyone!

As Mark points out,

The minute you send out an email to a group and say, “I was wondering if anybody could help with …” each person thinks that somebody else is going to help. It’s true that some people will come forward but much less so than if you sent to each member individually.

Looking back I’ve made this mistake often. For example, when launching our Less Meeting mobile apps last fall I sent emails to my network asking for help promoting our new app.

I began by targeting a few different segments in my network – Family, Close Friends, Acquaintances, etc – and sending targeted, tailored emails to each group. Ok, that’s good.

And I used other techniques like a clear call to action and breaking up multiple parts into sections. Also good.

When sending, however, I BCC’d everyone within each segment into a single email. After all, I had about 20-30 people within each group, so across a handful of different groups that would have meant 100+ individual emails. No thanks!

Unsurprisingly I didn’t see the response rate I’d hoped. At first I was surprised – our app was free, I was only asking for a couple minutes of time, I only sent my email to close contacts, and I made an effort to personalize all my emails.

Why hadn’t my friends helped out as much as I’d hoped?

Simple – things like Bystander Effect and Diffusion of Responsibility took over. Now I wish I’d spent the extra hour to send each email individually as the increased response rate would have made it worth it.

Tools To Make Sending Individual Emails Easier

Thing is, it isn’t even that hard to write out all these emails individually. If you are willing to just put in the extra time up front you’ll reap the benefit. Or, you could try one of these tools.

1. MailChimp

While often thought of as a newsletter tool, it’s much more than that. Use MailChimp to send individual emails, add styling very easily, and use form fields to personalize the emails.

2. ToutApp

I haven’t used ToutApp but it caught my eye in Mark’s article and I’m looking forward to trying it out.

3. Call Out Names – @

If you must send to a group, call people out. Emails from me look like this:

Hey Team,

I need some help with XYZ. Should only take a minute or two. 

@Blake - Can you do X tomorrow?
@Stephen - Can you do Y by the end of the week?

Thanks in advance for the help!


Next time you need my help I’ll be happy to do so, just remember to email me directly!