Looking for Sponsorship or Clients? How Not to use Email

At SymbolI don’t think it comes as any surprise that I’m not a fan of spam. I refer to the hundreds of unsolicited email pitches I get, and how counterproductive they are, all of the time.

If we get some kind of obvious spam – Eastern European brides, fake watches, etc – either my offsider or I will report it to an anti-spam clearinghouse.

If we get an unsolicited email from someone in this industry, however, we don’t. I don’t want to cause them issues with their internet providers, so we just ask them to remove my details and not send any more uncustomised emails in future. I think that’s probably what most of us in the industry would do. The response to that, however, will tell you a lot about the professionalism of the organisation and, in some cases, the size of the bullet you’ve dodged.

There are only two acceptable responses:

  • None. Just remove the email and leave it at that.
  • Send a short email stating that you’re sorry for the inconvenience and that the email has been removed.

There you go. No hard feelings. Feel free to email me again in future, just not as part of a bulk mailing.

What you don’t want to do is what this idiot from some tent company has been doing for the few days. He’s been sending me a series of increasingly belligerent emails, calling me some very rude names and using many words not suitable for even my somewhat colourful blog. He’s even threatened to report my company for spam, which considering we’ve only ever responded to him, is pretty funny.

We have responded by sending the initial spam and all of his abuse to his ISP, who were pretty nonplussed at his ridiculous behaviour. I also know exactly how unprofessional this guy is and would never recommend working with him to anyone who might ask. I’m guessing that’s not the result he was after.

With that in mind, I’m offering a couple of rules that will hopefully assist in keeping you on the right side of your prospects:

Rule #1

Don’t send uncustomised emails to anyone unless they’ve specifically asked you to. Not for sponsorship, not for tents, not for anything. Don’t sign people up for your newsletter who haven’t… you know… signed up for your newsletter.

That’s hard and I get it. You may have spent days trawling industry websites and harvesting emails – or paying someone else to do it – and now you’re getting no love for your pitch. It was a very hard lesson for me, as my large opt-off mailing list dropped to a quarter the size when I did the right thing and shifted to a best practice, double-opt-on mailing list. It’s now closing in on the original size, however, and everyone is happy to hear from me.

I understand that you believe in what you’re doing or what you’re selling and you don’t see it for what it is when it hits the inboxes of busy people: Spam. If someone points that out, take it as a sign that the world has changed and it’s probably time you do, as well. Which brings me to…

Rule #2

If you somehow lose your mind and do send out a bunch of bulk emails, don’t compound the problem by being ungraceful about it.

© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. For republishing information see Blog and White Paper Reprints.

Comments are closed.