When an email went horribly wrong

I received this email recently, and it made me laugh out loud:

“Thank you for your ‘positive’ critism however we do not require any advice on our marketing material.”

It was in response to a helpful message I’d sent in reply to a cold ‘spam’ email I received. Their original email read:

“Please find attached the details of the services we provide here at [Name of business].”

Why were they sending me this? I’d never heard of them, and didn’t ask for any information about their services!

Anyway, there were two Word documents attached, one called ‘Service letter’ which was trying to offer me funding (poorly written and with at least one typo), and the other called ‘Service list’, which was merely a list of their services (with a missing logo and blank page 2).

So they sent me an unsolicited message, and I sent them unsolicited feedback!

The ironic thing is that they were trying to sell something to me, and I wasn’t trying to sell anything to them. Instead of just deleting it, I bothered to send them some hopefully constructive comments with a link to download my free sales letter template. And they sent me the terse response above.

So they don’t need my help? Look at how they spell ‘criticism’ for a start!

Apart from fixing the odd typo, there are a few lessons that can be drawn from this experience.

Lesson 1

Target your mailing list carefully. Their email was trying to sell me a financial solution without even knowing whether or not I had a problem.

Lesson 2

Don’t send unsolicited attachments. People these days are too busy to read them. Instead, put your message in the body of the email, where it stands a better chance of being seen.

Lesson 3

Email is not the right channel for ‘hard’ sales messages. It’s better to send hints and tips that demonstrate your expertise, with a link to your website (where you do your actual selling).

I would be most interested to find out what results they get (if any) from their campaign. However, with a touchy attitude like theirs, I doubt they’d tell me, even if I asked nicely.

I originally wrote this article for Fresh Business Thinking

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