Your Emails Make People Hate You.

How believable is this email?

Not the one I am writing.... the one pictured above.  The one offering me 15.5 million dollars.  That one.

Here's what is funny.  My fingers shot this down so fast that I had to go actively search for it in my srchived folder after I realized that I could use it for poignant anti-edgy use case.

The time between when my brain saw the writing on the screen and my finger zoomed for the "archive" hot key had to be less than a second.  Zip. Bam. Boom.

I scanned.  I ran.

With a mix of disgust and disbelief I dug this out of the dark confines of my Gmail "All Mail" folder to take a closer look.  Maybe I could learn something about the psychology of the sender...  After all, this email is only standard fare for most of the sales messages that I run into.

Here are 10 quick problems I see:

  1. The sender is selfish...
  2. The content is confusing...
  3. The message isn't personal...
  4. The tone is demanding...
  5. The delivery is impractical...
  6. The signature is missing...
  7. The address is suspect...
  8. The grammar is sloppy...
  9. The subject is deceiving...
  10. The incentive to act is missing...

This is one of those subjects that winds me up -- like the idea that "NO" really means "YES".

Why do we persist in sending  ridiculous emails to potential prospects?

Don't take it personally when prospects take advantage of you when you have done nothing to earn their trust along the way.

Right?  Don't shout and scream at me that you "were lied to".  Don't tell me sad tales of being exploited as a price comparison.  You're the one who taught the customer these tricks...  It was from the first email -- starting to drive your customer's crazy with tricky, half-baked promises of savings, technology and zen-like peacefulness.

So what do you do?

Several months ago at a weekend at my parent's house, my dad and I came up with the following guidelines for understanding email.  (My dad was a very high government official in the Bush Administration and used to filter through hundreds of emails a day.  He got really good at throwing away the bad stuff and not giving people a second chance to waste his time)

  • E = efficiently wording
  • M = "what matters most" is the only thing that is said
  • A = audience determines your language
  • I = importance of message dictates action
  • L = looking for action clearly stated up-front

Follow these guidelines and you are most of the way there....

What type of conversations are you having?  Or are you just shouting at people?

Don't make people hate you...