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Stop lying in your marketing material

We have all seen the emails - or InMails - they start off with:

I found your information while looking for people/companies that might need our help with [INSERT SOME SERVICE OFFERING HERE].

This would not be so terrible if what they were offering was even remotely close to something I actually needed - most of the time, it is not. The bots have a little more work to do.

Most of the time I just hid delete. Some times, I take the time to unsubscribe or if I am particularly irritated by repeats, I might really hunt down the source and make sure they stop bothering me; and "un" LinkedIn all of the contacts of the company I can find.

But I asked myself - why does this really bother me anyway. Bulk email marketing works - wide net - catch a fish or two. What is the big deal?

It is not the actual email or InMail that bothers me - it is the message. "I found".

It is a lie.

There is no I, and the name at the bottom of the email did not find anything - they used a template email and matched against a list.

This grates on my "integrity nerve".

I get it, someone somewhere decided that if the email sounded more personal, that you would make a connection. Then, the next leap of "logic" - if you make a connection, you are more likely to make a sale.

On the one hand, this might be true, For all of the people/companies that your bulk mail list correctly targets, it might catch some people off guard and they might think that "I found..." is a true statement rather than - a bot scraped some emails somewhere and decide that [your company might need our help with - INSERT SOME SERVICE OFFERING HERE].

But what about the other hand --- all of the mis-matched ones (which far out-number good matches). For those, you have just sent out a very easy to spot lie. "I found" could not be a truth.

The latest example in my inbox comes from one of the many "SW Devs in a box" companies. If any human had actually looked at my company website or LinkedIn site, or even my personal LinkedIn account (all likely targets from which to scrape email addresses), it would be very obvious that as a consultant, I will in fact not be "needing any help with my technology strategy".

What I might be doing is making a recommendation for a client who needs some piece of software created - and you can bet I will not be choosing a company who lies to me in their marketing.

So - to wrap this rant, here is a suggestion if you have decided that bulk email is your path for finding new business:

Just tell the truth.

"Hello, we are using a matching algorithm to find new potential clients. We have some bad-ass devs who build top notch software. If you or anyone you know needs our help, let us know. If our bot is bothering you too much - here is how to make sure it stops [INSERT REAL UNSUBSCRIBE HERE]."

Ok - I am not a copywriter - but I think you get the picture I am painting.

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