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5 Characteristics of a Lousy Outreach Email

Insights September 27, 2013

In this world of seemingly unlimited connectivity, spam emails constantly find their way into the inboxes of even the most secure accounts.  As such, if your work requires you to reach out to others, it is important to distinguish yourself as a credible human being – no one likes to get those robotic phone calls, dinner-time telemarketing calls, or emails with offers that seem too good to be true (and they usually are!).  Jerry Seinfeld wrapped up these sentiments in one very quick interaction with a telemarketer:


Phone calls are one thing, but spam emails are an entirely different ball game (you can at least hang up on a telemarketer).  One wrong click on a link in spam email and, the next thing you know, you’re purchasing a retired racehorse. As an SEO professional and part-time Webmaster, I’ve had plenty first-hand experiences with spammers. Among communication methods, email remains to be a simple and effective way to reach out to an individual or targeted audience, which on the down-side, also makes it an easy tool for spammers to reach a large number of people quickly.

In these modern times, most individuals are quite web savvy and are able to easily detect spam.  So, rather than waste time and put their computer and identity at risk by opening a suspicious email, most people protect themselves from spammers by hitting the “delete” button. With most playing on the side of caution, it’s extremely important that brand ambassadors, marketers, and SEO professionals alike think strategically and take the proper steps to be successful in the outreach to their targeted audience. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the trash can rather than on the path to a new relationship.


Ambassadors for a brand that are sincerely trying to make a connection with a person may fall into the trap of using spam-like tactics.  Below are some of the key reasons an email is treated like spam and immediately tossed. To make an analogy, let’s make a comparison to a job applicant looking to land a job with a new employer.


1.     The email subject is too vague or promotional

This often gets overlooked, when in essence, is extremely important since it’s the first impression the reader has of you and your email. Think of it as the first face-to-face meeting you have with a manager at the firm you are applying for; a firm handshake, smile, and eye contact are key to making that good first impression that will start a relationship.


2.     Bad appearance/Poor organization

When the recipient opens the email they are usually able to discern whether or not the email is spam based on these characteristics alone.  Crazy fonts, bold colors, and unorganized paragraphs are typically quick clue-ins to a spam email.  When you go into a job interview, you want to look sharp and show that you are able to organize your thoughts coherently.


3.     Improper tone/Poor grammar

When sending out any email, it’s important to maintain a level of professionalism at all times. Spelling errors, poor grammar, or an unprofessional tone may turn off any potential employer, client, or targeted individual.  You are not going to hand over a resume using the same formatting, abbreviations, etc. as the instant messages you share with your friends on G-chat.


4.     Absence of purpose

After reading your email the recipient should have an idea of what your overall objectives are and how “they” fit into the picture. When you interview for a position, you need to show that you have an interest in the organization and assure them that they will receive mutual benefits in return for the collaboration.



5.     Lack of a personal touch

I cannot stress how important it is to make that personal connection. Job interview or email, connecting to your target on a personal level will leave them with a memorable and positive impression of you. A simple name mention or discussion of a shared hobby can bring it home that you’re an authentic human being that would like to connect.


As we move forward, it’s important that we take each of these reasons into consideration before we hit the send button.  Hastiness can lead to mistakes and missed opportunities.  No professional wants to be the outcome of being another can of SPAM on aisle 12 in the eyes of a potential collaborator.


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