If by any chance you are a small business or a freelancer working in the beautiful field of web design, you probably received at least on one occasion one of those outsourcing or SEO email offers from other companies which happen to be, 9 times out of 10, based in India. In our case, we receive those 2 to 3 times a week. Those emails, besides being extremely impersonal, are packed with silly mistakes, rendering them 100% of the time inefficient and, quite often in our case, marked as spam.
We have nothing against companies based in South Asia, or anywhere else in the world for that matter; in fact, we are quite indifferent towards them as they very rarely represent for us any competition, being based in Canada. However, we do realize the email marketing strategies some of those inexperienced companies use are detrimental to their business.
We will not outsource with any of them, and here’s why:
Except for maybe once or twice, the emails we received were very impersonal; so impersonal in fact that the authors did not even bother to write the name of our company anywhere, let alone our actual names. Why is that, I wondered at first? After all, the name of the company is very visible (it’s in the URL of our website, in the logo, in the footer…) and our full names are written in the about section of the site. The only conclusion that makes sense is that the authors simply don’t care who we are: they collect the contact emails of various web design studios in North America and Europe and send batch emails to all of them, offering their services. No personalized approach, not a single real argument as to why WE should work with THEM. And that, my friends, is a major email marketing fail.
Where is your portfolio?
Let’s assume for one second that we are interested. In most cases, the authors do not provide any link to their website. That’s right, you read well: they are asking us to hire them because they are web designers, developers and/or SEO experts (supposedly) and they do not have a website! That would be like hiring a hairdresser who doesn’t own scissors or a plumber without any tools.
For you, email marketers out there reading this: You are coming to us for work. We will not beg you for you to provide us with credentials and a portfolio. If we don’t see it anywhere in the email, we will not bother looking for it. Even if your sales pitch is amazing, if we cannot see your work there’s no way we’re ever going to hire you. We want to see those skills you are bragging about in your emails. Otherwise, don’t bother contacting us.
I understand occasional typos; it happens to all of us. I am not so uptight I would say no to a professional that has real talent only because they made one orthographic mistake in a text. What I do not understand are sentences packed with grammatical mistakes and/or sentences that simply make no sense.
Excerpts of an email we received yesterday:
“Our company providing innovative web solutions around the globe.If you want to outsource your web site design,we offers you the convenience of receiving quality and cost effective web designing results.”
“You a website that does not only encourages visitors, but most importantly can keep their interest long enough to convert site visits into sales…”
Those two examples show very poor redaction skills and very little care for details. How hard would it be to ask a friend or colleague to edit your text before sending it to hundreds of companies if your English skills are not perfect? This email is simply unacceptable and is yet another reason why we will not outsource with you.
Sending from @hotmail.com or @gmail.com…
Last but not least, when a company owns its own domain, they should never ever send emails from addresses like @hotmail.com, @gmail.com, @aol.com, etc. This too shows a lack of professionalism, a faux-pas in email marketing and professional online communication. How would you feel if, when communicating with Apple Support for example, you would receive emails from @hotmail instead of @apple? For me, it would raise several red flags; emails that are not sent from the company’s domain are often spam. In fact, there is no reason whatsoever why a real business should not be using their own domain, especially if they have a website, unless they are unknowingly (or knowingly!) inept or a fraud.
Most of the time, I prefer to give the authors of the (bad) outsourcing marketing campaigns the benefit of the doubt, and I just assume they are incompetent when it comes to web.
Learning from your mistakes
I am no email marketing guru, merely a web designer with experience and common sense. Those mistakes I just pointed out have been described and criticized on other web design blogs as well, so the faulty companies have had for a long time already the resources and information they need to create successful online marketing campaigns. Perhaps those business owners will learn from their mistakes and, when they will see no results, they will attempt researching for tips and advices on the internet. To all of them I wish the best… in spite of all those impersonal emails we keep receiving and marking as spam.