I get quite a bit of unsolicited mail. I mean, sure, we all get a lot of spam, but that’s not the unsolicited mail I’m talking about. I’m talking about from people and companies in the email space. They want to make sure I’ve seen their new whitepaper or article about delivery. Or they have a question about something I’ve written here. Or they are looking to hire me.
All of these things are great. I love hearing from readers, either in comments or in email. We have a valid (unfiltered) contact address here on the blog. My email address(es) aren’t difficult to find. I want to talk to people.
Sometimes some of the people who contact me do actually send spam. It’s bulk, it’s impersonal, it’s not about me or my perspective it’s about them trying to sell something (themselves, their newest product, their company) to anyone who is buying.
If it’s clear it’s a one off I’ll generally just move the mail out of my inbox and forget about it. Sometimes, though, there are hints that this is more than just a one time mail. The email will have an unsubscribe link, or it’s the third or fourth time I’ve gotten mail from that sender or it will be from a PR company. I deal with them in different ways. Sometimes I’ll offer a different email address that I route better, or I’ll just filter the mail based on some unique bit of the header.
The ones that really get me, though, are when the senders argue with me that I should feel special to get their bulk mail. “It was individually sent to you!” “I sent it because you’re such a great resource and wanted to say thank you!” But it was bulk mail, mail dozens of other people got (hint: the email / delivery industry is very small. we talk to each other all the time, if you send mail to more than one of us, we’re going to talk about it).
I have no problem with you inviting me to your event. Or telling me about the latest or greatest thing you wrote. I don’t even mind the occasional one-off bulk mail. But if you are sending mail to a specific person, put in the 20 seconds to personalize it and make it feel like it’s special for me.
A few moments to think and personalize before you send that email will make your recipient much more open to your pitch. This is as applicable to one off mail as it is to bulk.