1. Make it about your audience, not you
We’ve all had those emails drop into our inbox.
The sender might start with a typical opening line, such as ‘I hope this finds you well’, or some other statement that purports to express interest in you.
But then they quickly dive into selling their product, promoting their service, or just asking for your time.
For us, the recipient, these emails are often the ones that go straight into the ‘trash’ folder. The reason is simple: the sender of the email hasn’t really taken the time to understand your job, its day to day challenges, and how they can help you.
Your annoyance at receiving these emails is often compounded if you work in a busy and high-pressure job. Why are the senders of these emails wasting your time and clogging your inbox?
This is especially true for the international school counsellors that we at BridgeU work with every day. With clogged email inboxes and precious time to sort through them, getting the attention of a counsellor in an international school can be difficult.
Our counsellors often tell us that their inboxes are filled with representatives from universities all around the world, inquiring about their school, or asking for a visit.
Of course, we’re not suggesting for a moment that counsellors perceive all university recruiters to be pushy salespeople. But we’d argue that there’s still too many instances of university reps reaching out to counsellors and simply asking for a visit, or making an overt request straight off the bat.
In short, these university reps make their email about their needs, and not the needs of the counsellor they’re trying to contact. Specifically, unsuccessful outreach often looks like some, or all of the below.
- A rep giving very basic information about their university - e.g. just giving their name and their institution’s name and leaving it at that.
- Not specifying why they feel their university would be a good fit for students at the school.
- Failing to communicate the specific benefits & value of the proposed visit or session.
By contrast, we’ve noticed that the more successful visit requests or outreach emails will usually include the following elements.
- A warm, personalised introduction.
- Centring the outreach or visit request around the students’ and counsellor’s needs and not the university’s
- Introducing their university and creating a clear narrative around its brand (note: if even you’re working at a well-known university, it’s still important to set context and tell a story)