Bad Spam

The other day, I received an email from a company who had obviously rented/purchased my name and email address from another list and decided to send me a sales pitch.

I get lots of spam every day both in my personal and professional email inboxes, and there’s a couple of reasons why I’m posting about this one:

  1. This is a company that I really like. I have a good friend that works there. I love their product and what they’re doing in the industry. it’s one of the reasons I found the email to be so icky.
  2. Recent posts, like this one by DJ Waldow of Blue Sky Factory, have had me thinking about this whole buying / renting email list question.

So, some things that I think they got really wrong:

  1. The “from” address, clearly says “no reply”. This is one of my biggest pet peeves in email blasts from companies. If you send me something, at least give me the ability to know that my reply will be going somewhere.
  2. The email is in “text” format. It looks ugly and doesn’t give off the right impression, especially if this is the first time someone is hearing about your company.
  3. My name is spelled wrong on the “Hi Sue Ann” line. I prefer no salutation to a bad one.

And, just to put a positive spin on things, so this whole thing doesn’t come off as completley negative. I think the email does a pretty good job at explaining the company and offers a good call to action.

But, at the end of the day, I was so annoyed by the negatives that I probably would have just dumped the email in trash and not taken the time to read it.

——Original Message—–
From: no-reply@[redacted] [mailto:no-reply@[redacted] On Behalf Of [redacted]
Sent: Friday, July 09, 2010 8:44 AM
To: Sue Anne Reed
Subject: [redacted]: How teams tune in to social media

Hi Sue Ann:

[Redacted] is how teams tune in to social media. It is the simplest, most intuitive way to measure and manage social media.

Listening is the job of many – not a few. It’s not “the Research guy’s job”. It’s not “PR’s job”. It’s not “the Community Manager’s job”. Social Media is the voice of the customer and everyone should have access to it.

Typically, our customers use [redacted] to:
* Know when to tune in and what’s most important to pay attention to
* Hear what customers love and hate, want and wish, think and feel, all in real-time
* Reach out to influential customers to build relationships
* Engage in proactive customer service
* Let the voice of the customer inspire new product and marketing ideas

I realize your time is valuable and am flexible regarding scheduling a time to speak. What is the best way to get a few minutes on your calendar?

I look forward to hearing back from you. In the meantime, please check us out:
[redacted link]

[redacted name and contact information]

  • Sue Anne (with an “e” on the end):

    Yikes! I agreed. That was pretty bad. As I mentioned in my comment back to you on the BSF blog about list rental … it's emails like the one you critique above that leave a bad taste in my mouth about list rental. Most companies just do it all wrong…

    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory

  • Looks like a case of good intentions gone horribly wrong. But spam is in the eye of the recipient, so it's your call not mine.

    Outside looking in: I see this as a personal note introducing a product or service related to your interests and on topic with your blog. But with a failed execution, in a Mass email (w/ an Impersonal template), as a quick and dirty way to reach many people. It takes the “Relationship building” right out of the very product he is trying to introduce you to in one easy step (Hi [FirstName] [LastName]). This is the biggest mistake… It's a fake personal note and you can see right through it.

    Regarding Negative #1 – Any reply you sent would have (more then likely) been sent to the address behind “On Behalf Of [redacted]” instead of the No-reply addresses. These types of setups are found with some Email Service Providers where they control the actual “Sender” portion of the email and the “From” is the person or organization deploying the message.

    This is a good lesson for people to understand – personal notes should be totally customized to each recipient and not done in a bulk email solution.

    Matt Vernhout

  • Thanks for the comment DJ. As I said in the post, this is a company that I really like and this email was just a bad idea. I sent a link to the friend that works there and she sent it up the flagpole.

    I've done a list rental before. We didn't get great results from it, and these discussions the past week or so have allowed me to think about the topic even more.

  • Thanks for your comment Matt. To test out your theory, I went back to the original email and tried to do a replay and it did go to the “on behalf of” and not some no-reply address. But, if that's the first thing you see on the from line when scanning through your inbox, it doesn't leave you with any confidence.

    Also, I know that some companies see benefit to the “personal salutation,” and I defintiely think it should be one of those things you test on a regular basis to see if your organization gets a better response rate compared to no salutation or a “dear friend of …” type of salutation. I personally find them a bit creepy — especially when they spell my name wrong.

    Thanks again 🙂