How Not to Get Your Target Market to Take Your Email Seriously

Ah, spam. Would we be as entertained without it?

As a social media specialist, I am often the unwilling (and often unwitting) recipient of many spamworthy emails.

The below is the latest example to grace my inbox this morning. I’ve exchanged links for mere underlines, and scrubbed identifying characteristics. The numbers are my own, and you’ll see why after.


(1) Email header: Accept Social Media Influence Challenge and Start working for brands online

(2) Dear User,

(3) We know that you are one of hundreds of millions of Facebook or Twitter users. (4) But we think you are a bit different from others in one way and that is, you have social media influence.

(5) We have put together a simple challenge for you to prove your social media influence. (6) If you clear this challenge, you will become a part of this exclusive group of influencers who get paid by big brands to share cool stuff on Facebook or Twitter.

You can also calculate your social media worth by using our calculator.

I accept the challenge | I am interested to know more


[Random Company]
[Link to Random Company]


What’s wrong with the above? Here’s my take on:

How Not to Get Your Target Market to Take Your Email Seriously

  1. Forget that proper grammar is essential even if you want people to focus on the call-to-action link. Also, that header in general is annoying.
  2. Address the recipient as “Dear User.” Such impersonality triggers my “form letter!” red flag.
  3. Profess to “know” what this “User” does with an equally impersonal first sentence that contains an “or” statement. If you really knew me, you’d be more specific.
  4. Flatter the “User” by declaring you somehow recognize just how different and influential he or she really is from these countless, nameless “others.”
  5. Despite such flattery, insinuate the need for the “User” to “prove” his or her worth.
  6. Tack on the real point—the glory of shilling for “big brands”—as an afterthought.
  7. Include far, far, far too many links (self-evident).

And lastly… fail to mention that the “User” will need to pay for the privilege of being so worthy!

Thank goodness there was an unsubscribe link, although I don’t remember subscribing to this company’s emails in the first place.

What do you do when inundated with spam? Is there ever GOOD spam?

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