By Steve Moran

My email is pretty easy to find, which means I end up getting lots and lots of promotional emails. Between a bunch of filters I use and Google’s spam filters, they are pretty manageable, but once in a while something gets through that is helpful because they are offering something I am interested in … or because they are done so badly they are worth talking about.

It is one of the best parts of being a writer: Every single thing, good or bad, that happens becomes fodder for a story. This is one of those moments.

Setting the Stage

The first email came in 14 days ago, and it got deleted. The second came a week later. Pretty standard for a drip campaign. The third came today, after another week.

I’m Getting Annoyed

Here is the first email I got from him today, and I am getting annoyed. Here is the entire screenshot:

I was completely annoyed because he did two unforgivable things:

  1. He tried to use guilt, suggesting that somehow I owe him a response.
  2. He asked what I would do with additional revenue, which, of course, is also completely manipulative.

There is actually a third thing that is mildly annoying but that I also recognize happens: He has misclassified what we do, not understanding that we don’t have patients.

Wait — there is actually a fourth thing, I just realized. The CAN-SPAM Act requires an unsubscribe on every email, which he is not doing.

My Response

I admit that my response is a tad bit snarky, but it is frustrating to get emails offering something where I am simply not a fit. Take a look:

The Most Annoying of All

I kind of figured that would be the end of it. He would unsubscribe me, and my inbox would be a tiny bit better off for it — and maybe I even taught a lesson.


He has an autoresponder set to send this:

You would think that if he is running an active marketing campaign, he would be ready and available to respond. If I were a potential customer, I would be completely put off by this autoresponder.

Email Like This Instead

Email in a way that respects everyone who is on your list. Don’t use guilt or make promises that are untrue. If you are selling something — senior living units, or solutions for operators — please, please, please be willing to respond if someone is interested.

It would be great if you shared the worst emails you received.