Research suggests that over 80% of emails sent are spam. Spam doesn’t really bother us, the filter catches most of it, and it doesn’t take long to click the ‘delete’ button on the few that get through. But a couple of new clients have asked us about SEO this week, and because that was on my mind I actually opened the email you see here.

To be honest, Emma’s email is exactly what we’d expect from an SEO companybad. But on a positive note, it’s a great reminder about the importance of getting email marketing rightkeep within the law, build a good list and segment your messages, include a clear and compelling call to action, and don’t overlook little (but crucial) things like vocabulary.

We won’t be taking Emma up on her offer of a free website audit, but we thought we’d return the gesture by auditing her email marketing. Here’s what we found.

Dear Emma,

We’re delighted that you like our website, although we’re surprised you were audacious enough to contact a company that published an article about why we think most SEO is a con. But, since you were so kind as to offer us a free audit, let us return the favour and let you know what we think of your emailabsolutely obligation-free.

It’s spam! You haven’t even bought my name from a listwhich is a dodgy enough practiceyou just sent your mail to info@ and hoped that it would get to somebody. Your signature says that you’re a ‘Senior Marketing Consultant’, don’t you know that sending spam is illegal ? At the very least you should include an opt-out. ‑100 points
Where’s the compelling proposition? Your subject line isn’t bad, but the text of your email doesn’t directly connect what you’re offering with a benefit for our business… such as lower costs, more leads or improved responsiveness. Oh, and that really long sentence at the end of the second paragraph where you actually make your offershould end with a question mark. ‑100 points
Your attempt at personalisation was feeble. For example, you say you’re familiar with ‘our market sector’, a generic statement masquerading as something tailored. Call me cynical, but I’m starting to think that you haven’t actually looked at our site at all. ‑50 points
You haven’t included the address of your website! For somebody that’s so keen to tell us how to drive traffic to our website, don’t you think you should have included a link to yours? ‑25 points
Your email came from a address. We searched for ‘SEO services’ on Google, but strangely your site didn’t appear anywhere near the top. When we did find your site, we saw that you have a nice address. Why not use it? A domain looks amateurish. ‑5 points
You rely on jargon. You didn’t know who was going to open the email, so you have no reason to assume that they will know what SEO is. ‑5 points
You included a fax number. In 2011, how quaint. And it’s a premium rate number! Where’s your Twitter account or LinkedIn profile? ‑2 points
There were no typos. Pretty feeble I know, but we were struggling to find good things to say. +2 points
You sent it as ‘text only’. Lots of people prefer this to graphic-heavy HTML emailespecially if they are using a mobile device. +5 points
Total ‑280 points

We could go on, but you get the drift.



Posted by John on 17 September 2011