What Really Bad Email Marketing Looks Like

  • by Gail Graham November 22, 2015
    November 22, 2015

    I have a pet peeve. As a human being, regardless of my job, I want to feel respected and I admire sincere, polite behavior. Is that too much to ask? Increasingly, I have been besieged by vendors who want to do business with my team, using email marketing tricks that guarantee they will never get a chance with us.

    Here’s a sample of the kind of email I’m describing:

    Hi Gail-

    It’s been too long since we talked. (Uh, I don’t know you and we’ve talked never…)

    I’ve been following United Capital, and I know we can help you build your global presence. (You’ve never looked us up, we don’t do global business.)

    How about a phone call tomorrow at 2:30? (Oh yeah, because your calendar is super tight, and I have all the free time in the world!)


    Super Aggressive Salesperson

    I get about 10 of these emails a day, and when I ignore them I sometimes get the rude follow up that says something like, “Gail, since you didn’t get back to me, I am trying again!” Wow. Have I missed something? Since when is it a good idea to chastise your prospect? Maybe hound them into submission is the latest thing? What kind of marketing department designed this campaign?

    The irony of it all is that there’s always a spike in these pushy emails following marketing conferences where the agenda is about using inbound marketing, the importance of targeting with good data, and why content is king to help you gain attention. Obviously, some people aren’t listening; maybe they are too busy loading up the attendee email list for their next campaign. Most of the vendors who want to sell to us offer some sort of marketing technology or consulting to help us understand our prospects better, but they demonstrate a complete lack of awareness about my firm or about me as a person. In the end, all marketing is human to human, so why do they think being false, presumptive and insensitive is going to land them a sale?

    Lately, I’ve been responding to these email offenders with a message of my own:

    I totally understand that you have a quota to meet, but consider this as a teaching moment. We don’t know each other, and I am completely turned off by your aggressive marketing so I’m blocking any future emails. We do business with companies and people who take the time to understand us, respect us and create a conversation by offering information that’s valuable so we want to meet with them. Unfortunately for you, pushy tactics certainly got my attention, in the worst possible way.

    Like all marketers, my team is charged with getting leads into the funnel and through the pipeline, and it’s hard in a crowded market. But we each know what it feels like to have a good marketing experience where you want to click or call to learn more, and we all know what a bad marketing experience feels like. If we just apply that knowledge and some simple rules like authenticity and respect we’ll be more likable, and that matters. Don’t you want to do business with smart companies that have likable people you will interact with? Of course you do.

    Stop the email marketing tricks (or at least take me off your list!).

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