As a journalist that covers smart home tech, my inbox is inundated with all permutations of smart home pitches. Apps, new hardware, or studies flow through my inbox each and every day. That creates the daunting task of weeding out the good from the bad, the exciting from the monotonous, and deciding what gets coverage and what ends up in the archive folder.


Though there is a lot of similarities between the various messages, there are a few methods that cause an email to jump out at me and capture my attention a bit better than the rest. Here are three ways to catch my attention with your smart home pitch.


Nail the Headline


The initial barrier to broach is the headline. A lousy headlines mean a quick tap on the delete button before even making it to the content of the message. There are endless blog posts dedicated to the art of crafting the perfect email marketing headline, but for me, there are a few things that work better than others.


Posing a question in the title, especially if it is a common issue among smart homeowners, will generally cause me to click in. Something along the lines of “Do you ever have your smart home devices go offline?” would certainly pique my interest.


Another tactic is going with the negative. Pointing out a common issue with smart homes and how yours alleviates that pain point. Terms like “stop” or “don’t” can stand out from the common positive superlatives. An Outbrain research study showed that negatives perform 30% better than no superlative and almost 60% better than positive superlatives.


Finally, just got straightforward and honest. Don’t try to spin it, don’t try to jazz it up with flashy linguistics, and don’t stretch the truth with dubious claims. Just ask what you came to ask. Journalists get so many emails that we appreciate the no-nonsense approach and cutting straight to the chase. “BRAND NAME launches unique new smart bulb for smart homes” is better than “This new smart bulb will change your life!”


Gifs for everyone!


Assuming you’ve nailed the headline and got me to read your email, how do you keep my attention?


One of the more burdensome but intriguing ways is using animated gifs. This can have its fair share of issues, but when done well, keeps my eyeballs on the email a bit longer.


If you have a new desk lamp that can respond to waving gestures, a clean, professional video gif of the lamp operating can convey your whole message without the need to read. If the gif is interesting and visually intrigues me, chances are good I’m going to read the rest of the pitch.


Just keep it simple


A gif can do the trick, but the inverse can also be quite effective.


Similar to the headline tactic above, shoot straight with the body of the email. It may be a mass email sent to journos at several publications, but write it like a casual email between friends. Use normal language, don’t try the hard sell, just keep it to a couple of short paragraphs like you were telling your friend about your product.


When those come across, it is a nice break from the sensory overload we often experience. It comes across as a sincere personal request to evaluate the product. Perhaps even asking for genuine feedback rather than just inciting on coverage on the site. Once you get that initial response from me, I’m likely to continue the conversation and more strongly entertain the notion of covering the product on our site.