As the hard-working Savvy team builds a bigger audience, we find that we are also attracting more and more unsolicited offers for services ranging from SEO to marketing automation to domain name insurance. Typically, these offers arrive by way of Email – tumbling haphazardly into the Savvy mailbox where one of us retrieves the communication and promptly forwards it to the rest of the team with editorial comments that are not fit to print.

Some of these “offers” are clearly scams aimed at scaring us into revealing some personal or site-related information, but – at least as often – the emails are sent by real companies who are – honest-to-goodness – trying to make first contact with a prospective client. For real? For real.

I’m not mean-spirited enough to re-print any of the offending communications, but I can’t imagine what these people were thinking when they hit the “send” button. Not only do these emails fail to inspire my interest in the company’s services; they insult my intelligence, make a bad first impression, and – more often than not – move me to mark the sender as a spammer. Pow! You’ve been blocked. The door has been slammed in your spammy face. Game over.

The Sins:

Completely impersonal – You can tell the minute you start reading one of the emails that it’s part of a massive blast that is probably going out to email addresses “scraped” off sites that met certain keyword criteria. There’s no sense that the sender has any idea what we actually do here or any first-hand experience of the site.

Lack of context – There is no explanation about why I’m receiving this email, how the person found me, or who the heck they are. Typically, these emails just get right in my face, “shouting” at me about some fabulous promise the sender wants to make about services and/or results.

No useful content – Unlike professionally-written lead generation emails, these messages don’t contain any useful content. There is no information about the company, their services or products, where I can get additional information, who I can call with questions, third-party recommendations, or why I ought to give a rat’s hiney. If you’re cold calling via email, you better make sure that your email puts your best foot forward. And, if your best foot is a three-line, text-based email that says “Hey – we can optimize you site for not a lot of money and you will get much traffic.” Don’t bother.

Bad spelling and grammar – Why, oh why are these emails rife with misspellings, incomplete sentences, and a general absence of punctuation? Is it a language barrier, laziness, a broken spellchecker? Please make it stop.

Missing Contact Information – These emails rarely include a proper footer. Every email you send should include full contact information (name, title, phone number, email address, company Web site, etc) as well as a way to opt out of future emails (sort of like signing up for the Do-not-call list). It’s just common sense and common courtesy.
These are not big hurdles to overcome. Not that I want to continue having to sift through unsolicited emails, but – for the love of cheese and chocolate – if you’re going to send me something, at least make it less painful to read. Otherwise, I’m going to block your aspidistra and any future attempts to contact me will fall into the deep, dark pit that is the spam blocker. Have fun!