How not to email spam

Like the rest of you, I get my fair share of spam email on a daily basis. A lot of it is unsolicited product and service sales pitches for my business. Lately, I’ve found myself scanning these emails, not because I’m interested in buying, but I’m curious how people are pitching their wares. Based on a survey of these emails, I’ve discovered some things people should stop doing, especially if you’re planning to spam me.

  1. Don’t explain, in detail, how bad I am at what I’m doing
    A lot of pitches are SEO services for my website. Their opening paragraph is a list of reasons why my current website sucks. Why say this before ever talking to me? I may have put a lot of time and effort into my site and be very proud of it. Maybe my site is in a state of transition. Maybe my wife built my site for me. In any case, insulting someone does not seem like a good way to get a person to return an email.
  2. Don’t insult my intelligence
    Another favorite of SEO emails is to explain to me that people who show up on the first page of search pages get more inquiries. Really? I would have never guessed that.
  3. Don’t name drop
    I really don’t care if your CEO is in town next week and wants to meet with me. If I don’t know you, your company, or your CEO, it really doesn’t matter who is in town from your company. It’s not worth meeting with you or anyone else from your company unless I have an interest in your product or service.
  4. Don’t write me a book
    If you need more than a few sentences to introduce you and your company, then you’re heading straight to the trash.
  5. Don’t ask me to contact you to set a time
    You spam me and want me to contact you to schedule a time? Assume my time is more valuable than yours and suggest a couple of times to talk. Otherwise, don’t expect a response.

If you want to get my attention through email, or anyone else’s for that matter, try the following:

  1. Be brief and direct.
    Have your elevator pitch down. You should be able to introduce yourself and your company in 2-3 sentences. Tell me who you are, what you do, and the value you deliver, That’s what I need to know so I can decide if what you’re offering is important to me.
  2. Ask a question related to your service
    For example, instead of dissing the search engine ranking of my website, ask about the status of my site and what I’m currently doing for SEO.
  3. Suggest a couple of times to talk
    If I’m interested and these fit my schedule, I’ll pick one and let you know. Otherwise, I can recommend an alternative.
  4. Be respectful
    Don’t take it personally if I don’t respond right away, or if I tell you ‘no’. Respond in kind and ask me to keep you in mind should the circumstances change. Life is too short to be unhappy and burn bridges. A positive attitude is infectious and leads to good karma.

I’m not against unsolicited sales emails. In fact, I’d rather get these than phone calls. They’re a lot less disruptive and can be way more informative. What I’m against is sales emails that are done poorly.

By taking a little time and putting a little thought into your sales emails, you may find that you get a lot better response, at least from me.

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