Start with the why
The great majority of emails, teasers, demos, and pitches I see start by explaining what they’re doing and how. I’m building a mobile app to help college students find the best deals at local businesses! All you’ve done by communicating that way is shut down the people who aren’t interested, don’t understand it, or are in something similar. With an email, in particular, you have 2 sentences, at most, to capture their attention and keep them reading.
A well crafted WHY statement captures everyone’s attention and conveyed properly, no one will disagree with your premise as no one really can disagree with that premise. They way you need to communicate is with the data, opportunity, and passion with which everyone, to this point in your email, at least says, “yep, that makes sense.”
All that said, this is incredibly difficult to do. The very idea of effective communication is at the heart of why so many VCs and angels are increasingly saying that you have to do Marketing before starting your venture. Many say that by way of the Lean Startup approach, you are looking for a “Product – Market fit;” I think that’s dangerously misleading as you need to be seeking your “Market – Product fit.”
The Why. Why should I care to listen further? Why should any one care to buy your product or service? Why would the market care that what you are doing is better than what we already have? Why should we invest in YOU, personally, to do this? Why do YOU care?
I can’t convey a proper why for my example of a typical WHAT/HOW based intro email, frankly simply because I don’t know that industry nor care to consider it (there are WAY too many entrepreneurs trying to do that). But let’s give it a shot:
75 million college students (I’m making that number up), shy away from Groupon, Living Social, and Yelp simply because they don’t have the budgets to afford even the daily deals that those services make available. And yet, with parents still funding 70% of US college students’ education, it’s the parents who care about the value and an opportunity to feel confident knowing their kids have what they need, at a great price. No student is without a mobile phone so rather than the email services that have come before, we’re focused on local deals, in your pocket, paid for by parents who, through a monthly subscription, provide for their kids up to 50% off the things they need.