Craptastic Sales Emails
How to bore, confuse, and insult your reader in a few short paragraphs.
“Hey Dave — hope you’re having a wonderful day! Shithole Corp does a bunch of amazing things and you should work with us. CrapCrunch even wrote about us last week!! Crap shit crap crap crappity crap crap shittext altcrap at www.crapola.net.”
Cold emails suck — writing them, receiving them, just thinking about them. But those of us who don’t have the benefit of an Andreesen Horowitz type network, ya sometimes need to hit up potential customers and partners without a warm intro.
There are roughly 7 trillion sales emails sent every month (#science). There are endless copywriting and “sales hacking” courses and blogs and newsletters and confabs and whateverthehellelse. Yet, I still receive cold emails every week that make me want to drip Sriracha directly into my eyeballs.
We know the classic best practices by now, yeah? Make your email about the reader, not you. Address problems and solutions. Craft each line to entice the reader to commit to reading the next one. Consider that the reader cares about his/her personal situation — making more money, looking like a hero to the boss, doing less work so he/she can get home and watch the new Family Guy.
Then what the hell happened?
Let’s break this bag of eyeball repellent down real quick:
Subject: “Target Specific Leads” is a confusing combination of words. Also, how the eff does this make you any different from the 20 other emails I get from lead generation spammer “agencies”? Did you think I was sitting at my desk, head in hands, tearfully crying out loud, “BUT WHERE DO I FIND SALES LEADS?! DEAR LORD ABOVE, HELP ME FIGURE THIS GIGANTIC CONUNDRUM OUT!!! WHY ME?!!! WHYYYYY MEEEE?!!!!” Email deleted.
From: “firstname.lastname@example.org” is a like an email open cockblock. Even friggin AI virtual assistants have actual names and headshots! C’mon, man. Email deleted.
First Line: It’s kinda difficult to attribute “niceness” to a nameless sender of an unwanted email from a company I’ve never heard of before. Go ahead and skip the bullshit “hope you’re having a great day!!” upfront…
Second Line: …especially when you immediately follow it up with the sales pitch. Now I just feel dirty and used because you obviously threw out an empty nicety just so you didn’t have to shove your sales crap down my throat right off the bat. And that’s your sales pitch?? You simply said “we do this.” Oh, but wait, you added “like never before”!! Is that supposed to excite me? This reminds me of the “world’s best cup of coffee” scene from Elf. Maybe tell me how your company is “disrupting XYZ industry” and get it all over with in one fell swoop of shit-stacked jargon.
More Crap: “Each program is completely effective.” OH SHIT! Why didn’t you say that in the beginning? That’s a game changer, man!! “Hey, Saul, you gotta come in here, dude..this company has EFFECTIVE programs!!!! Grab the company credit card!!!!!”
Even More Crap: Has anyone, anywhere, anytime, been interested in a demo from a cold email like this? NO. Your call-to-action might as well be “I’m the prince of Zambia and I need you to send me $5,000 today.”
The Best Part: You’re pitching me on your ability to curate targeted sales leads…and you just sent this email to a company who has no sales element whatsoever. You didn’t even target me properly!!
How To Make It Better: I was going to rewrite this entire email, but I kept having to choke down mouthvomit to get through it. There’s nothing good here. But the glaring issues: boring, boring, boring. You lost me at the subject line. You’ve piqued zero interest; I literally spent more time thinking about if I should go to the bathroom now or in 20 minutes than I did about your poop-stained email. Absolutely no mention of my company or what we do or that you understand our needs. How can you help me specifically, as Dave Marcello?
[went to the bathroom to purge the previous email from my memory] Ok, let’s try this again:
Subject: WHAT. THE. FUCK. I run an email list for indie music fans, and you’re sending me something about “automobile industry professionals”??? And you don’t even bother telling me what you’re going to say about this ridiculously uninteresting and irrelevant topic? EMAIL DELETED, THEN IMMEDIATELY GO TO MY TRASH BIN AND PERMANENTLY DELETE IT SO I NEVER HAVE TO BE EXPOSED TO THIS HORROR AGAIN.
Importance: High importance, huh? Well that’s not presumptuous in the least bit. Lemme guess, you learned that one from a LinkedIn blog post by “Marc, Sales Hacker Guru”? THROW MY COMPUTER OUT THE 7TH FLOOR WINDOW.
First Line: Obviously I’m not interested, as you’re sending me a cold email with no reasoning behind it. Thanks for reminding me that I’m not interested in you.
Those Bullets: Such Windows 95. I’m half waiting for Clippy to make a surprise appearance.
That List Paragraph Thingy: Dear Lord, what is happening here? Just…stop. This company’s email rights should be revoked.
The Best Part: “Looking forward to continued success with you!” Ok, somebody read The Secret! This is like your first message to someone on Tinder being, “it’s been wonderful conversing with you, Tamra!”
How To Make It Better: DON’T. SEND. ANY. MORE. EMAILS.
This is me right now, amidst the lazy copywriting: