Marketing expert Drew McLellan recently received what he called “the worst sales email ever.”
It’s a stinker, one hundred words of the daftest communication ever to travel through an email server. Here it is:
Name Name here from Company Name.com. Our network of sites reaches a business savvy audience of over 5 million people every month. We also have a million opt-in subscribers and 125,000 financial advisors ready to receive dedicated email blasts.
We’ve been in this business for over 10 years so we know what works. I’m trying to find out who handles media buys for your clients, and I’d really appreciate it if we could get an updated copy of your client roster. I think we can really make something work here.
Ms. Name Name
I expect you’re not rushing to find out where you can send your client roster, are you?
B2B copywriter Rachel Foster has done a pretty good job of pointing out the email’s biggest mistakes. She notes that the address is impersonal. (It’s also plural.) There’s no faster way than that of telling the reader that the sender doesn’t care about them. The sender doesn’t even know who the reader is.
The email also spends almost the entire text talking about the sender. We read about the size of the company’s network, its opt-in subscribers, its experience, etc. etc. — as if the reader really cares.
And it ends with an enormous ask, something even bigger than a call to action to buy a product. Someone who doesn’t even know your name wants you to send them your company’s most valuable asset.
As Rachel Foster points out, you don’t ask an email subscriber for anything at all until you’ve given them something first: good content, a white paper, a free download… something valuable. You certainly don’t ask them for something this big and for nothing.
Get Your Emails Checked By a Pro
To any experienced business writer, an email like this is a head-scratcher. We look at it and wonder how anyone could have written something that breaks so many fundamental rules.
But it’s actually not so daft. When someone addresses an audience at a conference, they do begin with a greeting that takes in everyone. When they begin talking, they do start with an introduction that sets out their credentials.
It’s an approach that works when you market in person. It doesn’t work at all when you’re marketing through writing.
Whoever wrote this email might have been a great marketer. Maybe. But they certainly weren’t a great marketing writer — and there’s a big difference.
Before you send anything to your email subscriber list, make sure it was written by a professional copywriter, someone who knows the rules, understand what works and can deliver results.
If you don’t have the budget for a full-time copywriter, you can hire a freelancer or just get someone who knows copywriting to read it through, give it some tweaks and turn your message into a sales piece.
The alternative isn’t just to send out another stinker of an email. It can destroy the relationship you have with your subscribers and damage future earnings too.