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What's Wrong With Your Email: A Second Look at Proven Attention Grabbers

by Olga Taylor  |  
September 23, 2011
  |  11,513 views

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Pitfalls to avoid when soliciting new business via email
  • A real-life example of an ineffective email message

On any given day, between 20 and 50 pieces of unsolicited email sail past my spam blocker and into my inbox. When I worked in business development, I purged them indiscriminately. As I got involved with marketing, I skimmed through them occasionally for ideas and inspired copy.

Once I became a writer, I often edited the messages in my head—until the day a direct mailer arrived that set off all the "newbie" alarms and I had to intervene at once.

The following is my response to the emailer. Below that is the original email, with identifiable details withheld to ensure privacy.

* * *

Dear X.


I left Quartesian last year to become a full-time writer of digital marketing content, including direct email like the one I was lucky enough to receive from you.

Before that, I had spent four years in your shoes, trying to do both marketing and sales on a shoestring for a small ambitious B2B service provider. So, I hope you take this letter in the spirit in which it is written: one professional reaching out to another to share insight and offer support.

Getting Attention


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Olga Taylor is a freelance writer and a former vice-president of marketing and business development for Quartesian LLC. Reach her via ul23augusta@gmail.com.

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Comments

  • by SpencerBroome Fri Sep 23, 2011 via web

    This is good stuff.

  • by Social Sam Fri Sep 23, 2011 via web

    That poor BDM - the email is pretty bad but it follows all the conventional recommendations out there. It gets to the point of the message right away, establishes credibility, makes the writer seem like their products are in high demand and appeals to your sense of ego by being written by the VP with a dedicated personal assistant. Once upon a time I too worked in both sales and marketing and this was a daily struggle of mine.

    Hopefully company Mxx will learn from your advice!

  • by Jennifer Kelly Fri Sep 23, 2011 via web

    Great reply Olga.

  • by George P Fri Sep 23, 2011 via web

    Have to disagree, Jennifer; not a great reply at all! Olga promises:

    "I hope you take this letter in the spirit in which it is written: one professional reaching out to another to share insight and offer support."

    Her comments then drip with sarcasm and superiority. Sure that email was bad but if Olga was really interested in "reaching out to offer support" there are far less condescending ways of doing it. Maybe Olga needs a "professional to reach out to her and share insight".


  • by Olga Taylor Fri Jan 13, 2012 via web

    Good catch, George! A part of me definitely felt this guy's pain, while another part wanted to have fun at his expense. Hope the article is useful to the readers, even if it exposes my character flaws.

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