CEI Specialist Training Information

What is a CEI?


A CEI (custom email insert) is a statement that email marketing specialists utilize to make outreach emails more relatable to the target.  CEIs are typically one to two sentences that discusses a recent, positive event that relates to the target lead.  CEIs can comment on a variety of events including fund receipt, company acquisition, and positive press attention.


Writing a CEI Using Crunchbase


  1. Go to www.crunchbase.com.

  2. Utilize the search feature on the main page to find the lead’s crunchbase profile.  As you type the name of the company, a drop down will become populated with company names that are similar to what you are typing.  Select the company for which you are looking from the dropdown menu.  We will use eBay as an example.

  3. The company profile will contain a variety of information about the lead.  Some profiles may or may not contain the following information:

  • Brief summary of what the company does (their products, services, company motto, etc.)
  • List of executives at the company (CEO, CFO, CTO, board members, etc.)
  • Recent Milestones (funding received, company acquisitions, newly hired executive members, etc.).

  1. Utilize the information from Crunchbase to begin crafting the CEI.  This is typically done by congratulating the lead on the most recent milestone listed on the the profile.  For example, eBay acquired Shutl on October 22, 2013.  A CEI must mention the name of the company as well as the recent success on which you are commenting.

  • Example CEI based on eBay Crunchbase profile:  Congratulations on recently acquiring Shutl!  I’m sure this opportunity for growth has been exciting for everyone at eBay.

  1. All CEIs will be written on the column of the lead spreadsheet called CEI.  The premier who writes the CEI will then type his or her name into the Worker column, followed by today’s date in the Date column.

  2. After writing ten CEIs, ping the email specialist that is charge of the project and have them check your work.  Follow his or her instructions from there.


Writing a CEI Without Crunchbase


Sometimes Crunchbase will not have the information needed to write a usable CEI.  In many cases the company may not have any milestones from within the last six months.  If this is the case, you may have to resort to checking the company’s website, blog, Facebook, or Twitter page for recent updates.  In any case, the CEI will focus on something recent and interesting about the lead.  


Example:  I saw that Ebay was recently mentioned in the New York Times magazine story “Buy It Now” about the future of shopping both on and offline.  Congratulations on this fantastic exposure!


Can’t Find Any Relevant Information?


There will be times that it is nearly impossible to find the information you need to write a quality CEI for a lead.  It is possible that the company has closed.  Alternatively, it is also likely that they may not have released any new products or been in the news within the past year or so.  In cases like this, you can only write a more generic CEI.  You should only write a CEI like this when there is no recent information available.


Example: Congratulations on Ebay’s continued growth and success over the past few years.


Someone Acquired the Lead?


Sometimes you find that the lead you’re researching was recently acquired by another company.  Make a note of this in the CEI column on the lead spreadsheet and do not write a CEI for this lead.


Common Problems with CEIs


  1. Passive vs. Active Voice
    1. All CEIs should be written in the active voice.  Example: Andy threw the ball.  
    2. Avoid passive voice at all costs.  Example: The ball was thrown by Andy.
  2. Run-ons
    1. Definition: Two or more independent clauses that are not joined by proper punctuation.
    2. Example: The light bulb burned out we cannot see.
      1. Correction: The bulb burned out and we cannot see.
  3. Comma Splice
    1. Definition: A run-on that has a comma separating each independent clause.
    2. Example: The bulb burned out, I cannot see.
      1. Correction: The bulb burned out so I cannot see.
  4. Comma Placement
    1. Examples of Proper Usage:
      1. I went to the store to buy milk, eggs, and flour
        1. The Oxford Comma is the proper title for the comma placed before the conjunction in a list.  You can choose to use it or leave it out.  Both versions are correct.
      2. I went to the store to buy milk, eggs and flour.
        1. This sentence says the same thing as the example above it.  Note that this example does not have the Oxford Comma.  It is grammatically correct.
      3. I love eating, guys.
    2. Examples of Improper Usage
      1. I went, to the grocery store, and then went, to the bank.
        1. This is incorrect because it adds unnecessary pauses.  
      2. See comma splice.
      3. I love eating, hamburgers.
        1. This is incorrect because the comma indicates that you are speaking to the hamburgers, not eating them.
  5. Possessives
    1. Apostrophes are used to indicate possession.  They are not used to pluralize a word.
      1. Cat’s means belonging to the cat.  Cats means multiple cats.
    2. Its vs It’s
      1. The rule for these words is the exact opposite of the normal possessive rule.
        1. Its means belonging to it.
        2. It’s is short for it is.
  6. Constantly vs. Consistently
    1. Constantly refers to an event that is occurring nonstop.
      1. Alice is constantly asking her mom to go to Target.
    2. Consistently refers to an event that is occurring at the same rate over a given period of time.
      1. Alice has consistently grown every year since she’s started school.
  7. Overstating/Being Over Complimentary
    1. Be aware of how you describe products and services.  Overstating gives too much credit to what something can do.  Understating does not give enough credit for the quality of a product or service.
    2. Calling something a grand achievement is going way overboard.  It’s one thing to congratulate someone, but overstating the success ends up coming off too strongly.
  8. Be Concise
    1. The goal of outreach emails is to attract potential customers for our clients with as few words as possible.
      1. Example of wordiness: It is expensive to upgrade computer technology.
      2. Example of conciseness: Upgrading computer technology is expensive.
    2. Eliminate unnecessary words by combining sentences.
      1. I need to go to the gas station.  It is located near my house.
      2. Change to: I need to go to the gas station near my house.
    3. Eliminate “which” or “that” when possible.
      1. We put the apple, which was red, in the salad.
      2. Change to: We put the red apple in the salad.
  9. Irrelevant Information
    1. Example: Great blog post about pandas.  I’d like to introduce you to our public cloud solutions.
      1. The two sentences have nothing in common.  The blog post may very well have nothing to do with what the company does.
    2. Fixed:
      1. Congratulations on your recent seed funding.  As your company continues to grow, our company would like to support you by managing your data with our public cloud solutions.
  10. Stating the Obvious
    1. CEIs typically discuss a recent company success such as new funding or product launch.  You should not just restate what the company does - typically people know what their own companies do.
      1. Example: Saying “I’m impressed with the work Kodak is doing to sell cameras to people.”
        1. What’s better? - I’d like to congratulate you on (company name)’s recent (product) launch!
  11. Verb Conjugation
    1. Note: “It” is always a singular pronoun.
    2. Verb tense must agree with the subject.
      1. Incorrect: The apples is red.
      2. Correct: The apples are red.
      3. Incorrect:  You/They is.
      4. Correct: You/they are.
      5. Incorrect: They offers.
      6. Correct: They offer.
      7. Incorrect: They wants.
      8. Correct: They want.
  12. Operation
    1. Operations is only singular when talking about a medical procedure.
      1. Incorrect: We’d like to simplify your operation.
      2. Correct: We’d like to simplify your operations.
  13. Numbers
    1. Spell out single-digit whole numbers.
    2. Use numerals for numbers greater than 9.
    3. Write out a number if it begins a sentence.
    4. Be consistent throughout.
      1. If you use numerals for one number, you must use them for the remaining numbers in that sentence.
      2. If you write out one number, write out the remaining numbers in that sentence.
    5. Express large numbers in the simplest way possible.
      1. One million instead of $1,000,000.
    6. Hyphenate all compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine.
    7. Always spell out simple fractions and use hyphens within them.
      1. Write one-half instead of ½.


You are required to write at minimum an average of 10 CEIs per hour.  Any changes to the number of CEIs required per hour will be determined by the marketing specialist overseeing the project.  You may be retrained or removed from the project if you cannot meet this requirement.