unsolicited emailUnsolicited Email Etiquette

Today, I received an unsolicited email from a company offering me a website re-design service.  Like you, I receive countless spam or unsolicited email messages each day, many of which don’t even originate from bone-fide business email addresses.  This makes me laugh my socks off! Honestly, who is going to do any sort of business with anyone operating from a Hotmail or Gmail email account?  (Unprofessional email addresses are a whole new blog post waiting to be written).  Not me, that’s for sure!

In the main, I just tend to ignore unsolicited emails, adding them immediately to my junk mail folder.  As you can imagine, it’s crammed full of spammers peddling wares I will never have any interest in.  What a motley bunch they are too, anything from empty promises to get me on page 1 of Google, so-called link building organisations, weight loss miracles (which I could probably do with but don’t tell them that!), pharmaceutical goods and some marketers even requesting I attend an exhibition in some random overseas location. Whilst I could use a holiday, an expo not related to my industry is not my idea of fun or relaxation – I’m more the sightseeing, Sangria and sunshine type.

What was the unsolicited email about?

Today’s unsolicited email came from a company with a fairly genuine sounding email address saying my details had been ‘recommended by my friend’.  Out of courtesy I replied, half wondering if I knew this friend and I did, I should perhaps say, thanks but no thanks to this person.  Given I am really busy at the moment; I thought this was a nice thing to do!  How wrong was I?

My reply simply explained that if I wanted my website re-designed I’d research an organisation fully and take up personal recommendations.  I would not use a company contacting me out of the blue; a company who is, let’s face it, effectively spamming me.  I then proceeded to ask to be removed from their marketing list.

Quite honestly, I am in no need of a website re-design and if I did, I’d conduct my own thorough research and take up personal recommendations from my trusted Twitter followers and professional colleagues.  Even then, I’d probably um and err about the final chosen three for six months like I’ve been doing with a new logo designer.

Shock – you’re kidding me! was my initial reaction when I was accused by the original email sender as being rude in my reply.  But then on reflection, I thought to myself: is it really rude to take 5 minutes out of my schedule to reply, declining their services and asking to be removed from a mailing list?

Ok, so the reply was short and it was to the point but it was personally addressed to the sender and laid down my procurement methods with clarity, declined their services and politely asked to be removed from a mailing list. Whilst my friends, family and business colleagues might say I’m a lot of things, I’m 100% certain that ‘rude’ or ‘nasty’ are not amongst them.

Whilst there is never going to be the perfect way to decline a service, surely to accuse me of being rude just because I have no interest in their service is somewhat inappropriate?  I could have ignored them completely or replied with the word SPAM written in big, fat red letters!

I was left somewhat puzzled by their response but one thing is for certain, I won’t be losing any sleep over it. Not now I’ve had my little rant here and got it off my chest.

So, perhaps I am wrong in thinking any unsolicited email is effectively spam when sent to ‘undisclosed recipients’ who haven’t asked to be contacted?

One thing is for sure, I won’t take the time to reply and exercise courtesy in the future. Lesson learnt… don’t bother to entertain unsolicited sales-orientated emails, just add them straight to the junk mail folder.


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