How NOT to Write a Solicitation Email

A few months ago, I received the worst solicitation email ever. Of course, it did not, therefore, accomplish its purpose (the real one, not the one the sender tried to convince me of). I had even forgotten about it until recently when cleaning up my email inbox, a procedure I do once or twice a year.

Muse Monthly Solicitation EmailA2 7-12-2015 2-24-54 PM

What’s Wrong with This Email

A Date received (since then, her site has launched, so possibly this email worked for enough people, which is sad indeed).
B Starting out with a lie is never a good idea. As I read the email, it was clear that this was NOT an opportunity for me but for the sender.
C Sincere or not? My blog is not named, and the email salutation was a simple “Hello!” I have gotten a number of such emails and so was instantly alerted here.
D Typo. Should be “deliver a brand new,” not “deliver and brand new.” If you are really serious in your solicitation, get a friend or some trusted individual to read it over to catch such things. Just be sure that person knows proper grammar (and spelling).
E The REAL purpose for the email – she wanted a donation to her Kickstarter project, one she would have had a much better chance of getting if this email had been properly written.
F Claims to have ESP or just a hollow statement. She probably thought she was displaying confidence here. And having seen some of the things on her site, I am convinced that she was just blowing hot air here.
G Negativity and overly emotional. Fear is a serious thing and not to be used as it was here (that is, fear of receiving something bad as part of her program).
H Attempt to make reader feel left out of something important (not part of the “in” crowd or not a member of the club, etc.) Childish and offensive.
I Improper grammar (should be “whom,” not “who”) and not tea company names listed.
J A meager carrot to get me to post something about her project on my site – an old trick that many social media “experts” (that is, someone who wrote a book and is trying to sell it to the unsuspecting masses) recommend in their stock list of tricks.
K Attempt to play up to reader’s ego – the reader is made to feel he/she will be part of an influential group.
L Attempt to play up to reader’s ego – the word “exclusive” is great bait for those who need to be part of groups and have no confidence to stand on their own.
M No last name given. Hardly a way to get someone to donate money. I like to know who’s involved.

Important Elements You Need in Your Solicitation Email

Honesty Hiding the fact that you are seeking something for yourself with statements claiming that the reader will benefit (in trivial ways, at that) is akin to those slimy, oily used car salesmen. Better to say up front that you have a Kickstarter campaign or are otherwise seeking something from the reader.
Clarity Avoid vagueness and instead use specific language, such as “in exchange for your time in posting something on your blog you will receive X, Y, and Z.”
Positivity Avoid words like “fear” that are cheap attempts to motivate people and that instead come across as negative and childish.
Sincerity Avoid low-brow emotional appeals and hollow flattery. If you really read someone’s blog and like it, use the name of the blog and be sure to include the blog owner’s name in the salutation.
Identity Be sure to use your full name. You are asking for people’s trust and money. Earn it. And tell them some of your background so they can access your ability to carry through with your project.
Respect Asking a blogger to post something on their site is making a demand on their time. That time has value. Offering useless items in exchange such as being able to be part of some needless poll doesn’t show respect for the value of that time. It should be something of real value, such as their first item free.

Hope This Has Helped

As a long-time marketing professional who has dealt with just about every situation possible, I hope that my time writing this has helped you avoid the pitfalls this person fell into.

© 2015 A.C. Cargill photos and text

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