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by David Garland in David's Blog

The fastest way to ruin a business relationship? Check that, the fastest way to never create a business relationship is to send a really, really, really horrible email. I sift through 400-600 emails a day, but this could be my favorite example which came today.

Below is copy and pasted with my commentary in bold/underlined. Name has been changed to protect the crappy.

Hi Website Administrator (Hi, random person. Wait you don’t even know my name?!), We are purely organic search SEO Firm; we can get your website on the 1st page of Google, Yahoo and MSN ( (Do you have a company name? How do you know if I even care?).

We can increase your sales at least 4 times (Awesome, oh wait I’m not actually selling anything through my website….and do you know my current sales?). We do not use “link farms” or “black hat” methods that Google and the other search engines frown upon and can use to de-list or ban your site (The only farm I’ve been on was a few years ago and to me a Black Hat is an Orthodox Jewish person…actually I know what he is talking about but had to get that funny moment in there. Ba-bing!).

The techniques are proprietary, involving some valuable closely held trade secrets (Closely held secrets? I’m SO intrigued. Wait 99% of SEO firms secrets can be found simply by googling SEO). Our prices are less than half of what other companies charge (What are your prices? Who are the other companies? Wait, you just assumed that price is my deciding factor…which it rarely is for me). We can fairly quickly promote your website to the top of the search rankings with no long term contracts! (Instead they probably will want my first born child and what is fairly quickly? 2 years? 2 months? 2 seconds?)

We are working on Guarantee basis (Ohhhh a shiny guarantee if only Tommy Boy was around to make fun of this. What is the guarantee?) We would be happy to send you a proposal using the top search phrases for your area of expertise (A bit generic here, eh? Do you know my area expertise? Why would I even want to see a proposal?) Please contact me at your convenience (Nope) so we can start saving you some money (Now it is just getting silly. How are they saving me money?).

A few more fun notes:
1. It came from a Gmail address with no company name.
2. No website was given.

My suggestions:

1. Make it personal: At least pretend you give a crap about me and my company. Tell me what we do and what you like about it. Even if you are lying through your teeth, I will like you.

2. Social Proof: If you are offering a service, why not tell me what you have done for similar businesses in my niche? For example: We did this for Entrepreneur Magazine and they experienced this.

3. Don’t Go For The Sale: Going for the sale on the first email is like calling a girl you like and asking her to marry you. An email should be an introduction.

4. Captain Obvious: Obviously a credible website, referenced work, Twitter account and other ways I can find out more about you would be fantastic to be included.

5. Don’t Treat Me Like An Idiot: I know the ploys of SEO firms. I know how you can fake a guarantee. At least humor me and say something funny.

….Deep breath as this quite the rant. 🙂

Perhaps a better email would be like this:

Hi David,
I’ve really enjoyed watching The Rise To The Top, it is the greatest show in the history of mankind (shhhh this is my email fantasy). My favorite episode is when you wore short shorts and danced on a tennis court. Anyway, I’m the founder of SEOWHATEVER and I noticed you are probably trying to get help with some key words such as “entrepreneur and “young entrepreneur”. I’m not sure if we would be a good fit to work together or not, but I recently finished a project for Entrepreneur Magazine and they experienced a 200% increase in traffic. Here is a link to an article about it. If you want to chat about SEO anytime, let me know as I have a few easy suggestions you can use now and you can find more on my blog.
All the best,
Better Email Writer
Twitter, Facebook, etc.

What do you think? What is the worst email you have received?

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