OK, so you have this large, “targeted” email list. So you say to yourself: “Self, I’ve got this list of email addresses of unsuspecting victims prospective buyers, how do I best email them while minimizing the chances that I’m hated with the heat of a thousand suns?”
Here’s my answer:
1. Don’t do it.
2. No really, just don’t do it.
3. If your boss is making you do it, find a better job. It’s a great time to be an inbound marketer. There’s a red hot market for marketing jobs.
4. OK fine, if you have to do it, at least don’t buy a list of email addresses.
5. You’ve already bought a list, haven’t you? [sigh]
6. OK, fine. Let’s start with the subject line: Don’t play tricks on people. Don’t lure them with a clever, open-bait subject line. Sure, you might get them to open your email, but chances are, they’re not going to be impressed by your cleverness once they figure out that you duped them. Your goal is not opened emails, your goal is closed sales.
7. While we’re on the topic of subject-lines. Don’t start your subject-line with a “RE: [something]” to trick the reader into thinking you’re following up on a thread. Lame.
8. Never start the email with “This is not spam”. Two reasons: i) It is. ii) Nobody’s going to believe you. Especially spam filters.
9. “Dear BLANK” is bad. “Dear Sirs” is way worse.
10. The “Dear Friend” salutation doesn’t really feel right either. We know who our dear friends are, and most of them don’t try to sell us stuff over email — they send us funny GIFs.
11. Don’t write a 600 word essay on how awesome your company is and how you have CMM Level 17 certification or whatever. 99.999% of us don’t care. The 0.001% that do care only care because they’re only CMM Level 11 certified, and they’re jealous. They’re not going to buy from you just out of spite.
12. I know it’s an amazingly cool coincidence that your CEO is “in town next week”, and I know we should be honored and grateful they’re willing to meet. But, um, we’re really not. Unless of course, your CEO is Sarah Bird from Moz — who is totally AWESOME. But, we’re pretty sure Moz isn’t sending out spammy emails, so your CEO is probably not Sarah Bird.
13. I know someone, somewhere told you to be aggressive and go for the “presumptive close” (example: “What time works better for you for a call? 11am on Tuesday or 2pm on Tuesday?”. But don’t do it, because we’re thinking: “How does NEVER sound, does that time work for you, you presumptuous jerk?”
14. Don’t send another email to make sure we hadn’t inadvertently failed to read your first email. Trust us, we had done so very advertently.
15. Don’t say: “I’ve tried repeatedly to get a hold of you.” We know. We’ve tried repeatedly to ignore you.
16. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT say that you’ll follow-up with a phone call if you don’t hear back “just to make sure you’re getting the emails”.
17. Just follow the Golden Rule: Email unto others as you would have them email unto you.
How about you? Do you have a funny tip (or pet peeve) you’d like to share? You’ll feel better if you get it off your chest.