Believe it or not, I love getting unsolicited emails from a vendor. These messages keep me informed about developments in the areas I cover. They’re part of how I learn.

A good email tells me a lot, and I’ll take what I’ve learned to Forrester’s clients. A not-so-good email will — at best — do nothing for you. Worse than that, a bad email can make you look out of touch with your market.

Here’s a primer on what to do before sending an unsolicited email.

Select Analysts (Not All Analysts)

Like a lot of organizations, we have spam filters at Forrester. So, a lot of randomly sent mail never makes it to me. If you blindly target all the inboxes of all the analysts, you’re likely going to disappear silently. It’s not a bad idea to guess if you’re not sure: If you’ve got a product that’s designed for embedded devices, sending it to a mobile or IoT analyst might get a look. On the other hand, if you want me to connect with consumer packaged goods professionals, you’re letting me know that you’re shooting randomly.

Know What An Analyst Does

As an analyst, I help two groups of people:

  • Vendors who want to know what’s happening in their industry and how they can improve their products and services to become more successful
  • End-user clients who want to know what’s happening in the industry and how they can best use what vendors have — or if it’s even worth engaging a vendor

If you want to sell your product to Forrester, I’m the wrong person. I don’t have purchasing authority for Forrester’s IT systems, for example.

Make It Easy To Contact You

Let’s say a Forrester client has requested an inquiry to learn about solutions in space X, and I cover space X. Your product might be in space X. Great! I’d love to reach out to you and ask you for more details. But your email is from no_reply@mailinator. Maybe someone else in my inbox has a product in that space.

Provide Text And Links, Not Just Images

When you include an image, here’s what I see:

A box with an "X" and the words, "Right click or tap and hold here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook pr...."

My email program truncated before it could display your alt text. Use images if you want, but include text as well.

Tell Me How To Attend Your Conference

Conferences and analysts have a symbiotic relationship — getting together helps both of us. Make it easy to figure out how I can attend. Many conferences use the same framework for analysts that they do for press attendees, so odds are good you already have something. If the rules for analysts are different, that’s not a problem — just show me what I need to do.

Put Yourself On My Calendar

My calendar is a mess. I’ve got guidance sessions, briefings, presentations, inquiries, webinars, conferences, and plane flights scattered across my day. As these drop off, new things show up all the time.

Forrester has a system that lets you see when I have free time. If you want to schedule a briefing or demonstration about something I’m covering, I’m glad to learn about your product or service. And you don’t need to be a Forrester client: Any company can register at Forrester for a free account. Here’s some information about what we look for in briefings:

Tell Me What You Actually Do!

I get a lot of emails that say something like:

How good is ExampleProductService? Take a look!

ExampleProductService is the best. ExampleProductService will enable the complete transformation of your company — using our advanced technology! ExampleProductService is going to rock your world with its HyperExpansive platform that improves your company’s efficiency. How can ExampleProductService help you? Click here to find out!

It’s clear they want my click. I know they’re using that as a metric for campaign success because Apple has started loading images automatically. I cover mobile development, after all: I’ve worked with Forrester’s marketing analysts to explain the iOS privacy changes that broke their ability to measure open rates.

Forrester’s clients want me to be as informed as I can about the industry I cover. That’s my job. Personally, I cover mobile and web front ends, some forms of testing, edge development, development with virtual and augmented reality platforms, and software development in general. I’ve got interests in IoT/embedded, bytecode virtual machines and emergency communications. With this email, though, I can’t tell if ExampleProductService is in any of those spaces.

Don’t be afraid to tell me what you do!

What Does A Great Email Look Like?

I recently received an excellent unsolicited email. Let me go through why I think it was so good, starting at the top:

  • The subject. The subject says what’s in the email — conference webinars and information about reliability.
  • The preheader. I see more detailed information about what’s in the email, not just a cut and paste of the subject. I know before I even open it what I’m going to get.
  • The sender. If I reply to the email, my reply is going to go to an inbox that’s regularly monitored. I’ll get an answer.
  • The date. The company sent me a newsletter with a date of May 2022. They’re aware that I get lots of messages in my inbox. They respect my time by collecting their information into a newsletter and sending it once a month.
  • A spotlight on a conference webinar. If I want to watch something, I know where to click, and I’ll know what I’m getting when I click on the link: both the topic and the presenters. There are also a couple other webinars below that. These aren’t sales pitches. They’re conference presentations. If I want visual learning, I’m set.
  • A list of other useful topics on their blog. They’ve given me a list of blog posts — not the content or even summaries, but 11 links with engaging and informative titles that make it clear what the posts are about. Some of them match my areas of coverage, and others are in adjacent areas. I was happy to give them the click. In fact, I gave them six clicks.
  • News about themselves. Only after giving me a bunch of good stuff did they start talking about themselves — separate sections for media hits they’d had, upcoming events, and social media posts.
  • A clear unsubscribe link at the bottom. It’s legally mandated, but some vendors make it hard to find. This email was top-notch. I’m not going to click unsubscribe, but I’m glad to have the option.

Now you know what a good unsolicited email to analysts looks like. Please send me something like that!

Despite what you’re reading in this post, one thing I don’t cover is marketing. If you need assistance there, Forrester has plenty of B2B marketing experts who will be happy to engage with you.

If your business is something that I cover and you’d like to schedule a briefing to demo your product or want to get insights in a guidance session, I’d love to hear from you!