Because I critique the sales and marketing emails for readers of my free weekly newsletter and have helped dozens of clients with their sales and marketing messages, I've become hyper-aware of what works and what doesn't with email marketing.

I recently received a marketing email that makes almost every error that it's possible to make. Since these errors are depressingly common, I thought it worth sharing with you..  The numbers in the text below refer to my comments. 

In my next column, I'll provide a rewrite to use as a role model for your own emails.

The Original Email

Subject: Are you happy with your current digital strategy?[1]

Dear Geoffrey,[2]

Let me ask you a question: [3] how satisfied are you with [4] your current digital marketing strategy? [5]

With the ever-changing world of digital online marketing, it's possible that your current strategy could soon be outdated (or already is). As new technologies come to fruition, it's important that you're keeping up with the competition.[6]

At Amalgamated Marketing Group we do things a little differently.[7] We can make sure your business is up to scratch [8] with the latest digital marketing trends, while helping you excel in your sector.[9]

So what do we do exactly?

We do SEO
We do Web Design
We do Content
We do Social
We do Digital [10]

It only takes a free consultation [11] to understand that you've been missing out on the perks [12] of an AMG digital marketing strategy. 

So what are you waiting for?[13] If you're looking for results that make a difference [14], then get in touch today.[15]

Yours sincerely,[16]

My Comments 

  1. The Subject line is way too long. The last few words may get cut off making it less meaningful. Emails with shorter subject lines are more likely to be opened.  Delete!
  2. The "Dear" flags the email as being from somebody I don't know. I'm a busy guy, so I seldom read emails from people I don't know.  Delete!
  3. The "let me ask you a question" is a command, which is rude.  What if I don't want to be asked a question. It is is also sales-talk, which is an immediately turn off.  Delete!
  4. Everything from "Subject"  to "satisfied are you?" is what appears in my Inbox. There's little or nothing that's intriguing, original or even relevant. Why would I be interested?. Delete!
  5. "Digital marketing strategy" is one of those industry buzzwords that sounds important, but which is so vague that it's  almost meaningless. It's repeated usage flags the sender as an unrepentant biz-blabber.  Delete!
  6. The obvious intent here is create a "pain point" in the form of a fear that one of my competitors is doing something important that I'm not. However, the platitude is abstract, bloodless and stated in a redundant manner. Delete!
  7. Differently from what? From some other marketing group? And why "a little" differently? Is that "little" is an attempt to be ironically modest? Whatever is being said, it's awkward. Delete!
  8. The phrase "up to scratch..." sounds like it came out of the script for  a 1930s movie. Does anyone ever say that any more?  Delete!
  9. More biz-blab. Delete!
  10. Just in case you missed the "digital" part. Delete!
  11. "Free consultation" equals "sales call" and based upon the email, it will be a sales call full of BS.  Delete!
  12. I usually think of a "perk" as something like an assigned parking space or free coffee.  What do perks have to do with a marketing strategy?  Delete!
  13. More sales talk. Delete!
  14.  As opposed to results that don't make a difference? If everything remained the same how would you know there had been results at all? Delete!
  15. After all of that, he leaves the ball in my court to contact him. Apparently he thinks I'm going to call and ask him to sell to me based upon this totally lame email. Delete!
  16. The only thing sincere about this email is that it's sincerely terrible. Delete!

Stay tuned for my rewrite!