I just got another email from someone I’ve never heard of, asking for a meeting to tell me about their solution to a problem I don’t even have. The email gives me zero value; it’s all about the sender and how awesome they are, and not about me. To be honest, I don’t understand why they think I have a need of their services, or how I happened to fall into their list. Oh, and in this email, the sender says, “Finally, watch for our bi-monthly newsletter with exciting new loan products, strategies, and ideas to fund your business affordably.”

No thanks.

I get this type of email a lot. Sometimes I unsubscribe (I did from this one), but a lot of times I do nothing, just to see what will happen next.

You know what happens next, right? Yep – they send more emails. They’ll send emails until their cadence comes to an end, or until they run out of content. They’ll never conclude that I’m not interested unless I unsubscribe; they’ll keep sending because they think it’s perfectly okay to bombard me with their sales messages whenever they like.

How do you feel when you get bombarded with messages like this? Do you feel like the sender is trying to build a relationship with you? No? Me either.

This type of email strategy is a strategy of “push and hope” – pushing content at people in the hope that you’ll strike someone at the exact moment they have a problem you can fix – and in the hope that they’ll actually consider you credible enough to respond to the email.

Here’s the issue with a push-and-hope email strategy, by the numbers.

  1. 6% or less of your list is interested in having a conversation with you today. That is 6 out of 100, in the best possible scenario.
  2. That leaves 94% – 94 of 100 leads – who won’t engage with a push-and-hope email whatsoever – so your email deliverability score drops with every email you send. That means that a larger percentage of push-and-hope emails land in the spam box or the promotions tab, every time – dropping you out of touch with an increasing percentage of your list.
  3. You could see unsubscribe rates up to 8-10%. That’s sobering. You’ll turn off more of your list than you’ll turn on.

This isn’t even email marketing, by the way. It’s email PROMOTING (a pet peeve of mine).

Then you have the people emailing you out of the blue who express that they feel they can help you, in many cases with a problem you don’t even have.

Like this guy, in his third unsolicited email to me, repeating his initial request: “Just wanted to quickly follow up as I’d like to learn more about the current team structure at Genoo and better understand how you’re increasing talk-time and leveraging your phone calls.” He sent a total of seven emails, by the way. Yikes. Do you think most busy executives would respond favorably to that message? He’s not even clear in any of his emails about the problem he thinks I have that he wants to help me solve. Apparently, I’m supposed to educate him first.

Again, it’s “push and hope” – telling me all about themselves and hoping that I’ll a) understand what the heck they mean and b) respond if it sounds good to me.


It’s not even the tiniest bit cool.

I’ve seen some variations on the theme that might have a better shot at getting a response – “we’d like to talk with you about your experiences with X for inclusion in our next eBook” seems to resonate with some people, but it’s infrequent that a person with budget authority, need, and a workable timeframe will respond to a “flattery” email, in our experience. More frequently, you get a response from people who want to build their own credibility and authority – which isn’t bad, but it can cause you to spend a lot of time with people who won’t – and can’t – actually buy from you.

There are ways to write emails that will either cause a lead to engage with you or cause them to unsubscribe quickly (which is a good thing, especially when emailing a cold list). While we go into that in detail in our Email Expert Academy, here are a few tidbits that you can follow right now to make a difference:

  1. Start your email correspondence with new leads with a question about their interests, not a presumption that they care about what you have to say.
  2. Do not burn the list with five to seven emails to people who have never responded, clicked, or even opened your emails. Give it three shots and call it complete. Focus on the people who HAVE engaged.
  3. You can circle back to the non-responsive later – at least 30 days down the road, with a different question.
  4. Communicate clear value in every email. Give the email recipient something to click on that will appeal to them if they have the problem you think they have – something that will give them value, address a need, solve a problem, or provide more insight.

Moreover, there are ways to use marketing automation to really make those emails work for you, so you can build relationships with your leads, weed out those who aren’t your perfect potential customers, and have a shot at engaging with people who are most likely to actually buy from you.

Now THAT’S an email strategy of “plan-and-engage.” Doesn’t that sound better?