Email prospecting

Hare and tortoise
If you run a business and your customers are other businesses, it might have occurred to you to try email prospecting. You know – find the companies you want to work with, get the email address of the relevant person and drop them a personalised email offering to help them in some way.

My 3 rules for email prospecting:

  1. Make it personal to the recipient – know who you’re emailing. This means sending individual emails to each prospect that you’ve thought about. Yes it’s time consuming but if you do it this way you don’t have to send out very many emails.
  2. Mention a connection or a recent event to explain why you’re contacting them – for example, you could congratulate someone on an industry win, or a personal promotion. When there’s a connection the recipient knows you’ve given some thought to the contact.
  3. Don’t promote yourself in this email – your aim should be to open communication not to sell. Business is done through relationships so build the relationship first.

I received this email a couple of days ago to a hobby site I run. It’s a classic example of how NOT to do email prospecting!


Hope you are doing good!
Do you want to know – what’s wrong with your website?
We are currently offering a free SEO analysis report prepared by trained SEO professionals within 24-48 hours. The best part is that our SEO experts would be happy to call and explain you the SEO Analysis report for you to understand in a layman terminology.
A website is only as good as the kind of traffic it has. Our access to Advanced tools help us in analyzing the website better and help you.
We are business & website promoters by profession & passion. There is a good chance you might already be optimizing your website. If not, would you like to promote it through our SEO help? Would you want a FREE SEO analysis report?
Let us review your website & formulate a plan of promotion. What we need is your website name to send you the report.
If you like the plan, great, we can go ahead with the partnership.
If you are doing SEO currently, you might want to compare prices? I could send our price list in no time. This e-mail only outlines the basic things we do, but I can send you further detailed info for your perusal. We could also discuss this over a call.

Looking forward to your reply.

Kind Regards

(And, yes, it was laid out like that with no line breaks between paragraphs.)

This will fail to persuade me to give him my business for any number of reasons.

“Hi” – he doesn’t address me by name so I know the approach has been spammed out to dozens, perhaps hundreds or even thousands of recipients.

“Hope you are doing good” sounds like an instruction for me to be altruistic. Whether or not I choose to “do good” is my business. Presumably it was meant as a friendly greeting but even as that, it just sounds incredibly insincere. Who is this person and why pretend he cares about me?

Then the question “Do you want to know – what’s wrong with your website?” is arrogant and off-putting and immediately puts me on the defensive. He is implying there’s something wrong with my website without finding out anything about my purpose for having the site or my intention for the site.

Then he makes his pitch – it’s all about him and his company and what they’re willing to do.

As you know if you’ve been following me for a while, good copywriting makes it about the reader, not about the writer.

And then he asks me to send him my website name. Firstly, it’s a website address or url he needs – I tend to refer to the site as TKS which wouldn’t help him at all. In addition, if he was really interested in me and my site he’d already know my website address. Yet again, he’s showing that he is just blasting out emails to anyone.

There is nothing to identify how he might know me or know of me – as far as I can tell he is merely a spammer who has harvested email addresses from the internet.

Then he signs off “Nick” – no surname, no phone number, no contact details other than the email address – and even that is just where doesn’t exist as a url. All that adds up to no credibility in my eyes.

His whole approach just screams “I’m a Spammer after your cash”.

My response – mark it as Spam and delete it. And I’m sure the vast majority of his recipients will do the same.

So, if you do decide to try email prospecting yourself, don’t come over as a Spammer! Take the time to find out about the recipient, make a connection and start to build a relationship first. It’s like the hare and the tortoise – slow and steady wins the race. Yes, it takes longer but you will need to contact far fewer companies to start getting responses and useful leads.

People do business with people – build the relationship first!

What do you think? How do you respond to cold emails from people you don’t know (yet)? Leave a comment and let me know.

Meanwhile, best of luck with your email prospecting.