I got the following unsolicited E-mail this morning; I think the marketing term for this is “blogger outreach.” I have redacted the name of the sender (“YYY”) and the name of the firm/product (“XXX”) but “[press kit]” and “[review/checkout]” were included verbatim in the original. There was no footer with an unsubscribe option although phone number and address were included after the person’s title.
My name is YYY from XXX. We have developed an online innovation platform that allows businesses to create insight-driven ideation networks.
Each company has their own ideation network allowing them to set ‘challenges’ to their employees, and employees are able to suggest ideas to solve these challenges.
XXX is exciting and completely different to anything else on the market in that anybody can sign up at XXX and start their innovation network for free within minutes (much like Yammer). All you need to get started is an organisational email address.
I thought you and your readers might be interested in our service. We’re currently in beta at XXX, with currently over 120 companies signed up and using the product since a very soft launch last month. I have a [press kit] I’d like to send your way to [review/checkout] if you’d be interested, and if there’s anything else I can help with let me know!
Head of Product
<phone number and address>
One Good Thing and Five Mistakes
Good Thing: It’s from a real person with a phone number, physical address and personal email address.
- No Pricing
- No Target Customer
- Premature Send
- No Unsubscribe
“Good Morning” as an opening is mean to be a catch all. While politer than “To Whom It May Concern” it would be better to format this as an announcement. If you cannot take the time to personalize an email it has substantially less impact, or more accurately less positive impact.
I wondered how much this would cost. I checked the FAQ where there is a question:
How much does XXX cost?
Full details of our simple pricing structure is available on our pricing page.
But there is no pricing page, which indicates to me they have not worked out their business model. If this were intended to be a freemium app that might be OK, but idea management systems normally capture company proprietary data so it’s unlikely most companies want their internal process improvement ideas or their new product ideas posted on the Internet.
No Target Customer
The FAQ also has this question
Who uses XXX
Organisations of all shapes and sizes from across the globe use XXX. Due to the ease of getting started, organisations with as few as 10 employees are benefiting from using XXX, and thanks to its customisation capabilities, XXX is suitable for large enterprises too.
Based on this FAQ answer it does not appear anyone is actually using your product, or they have not figured out who their target customer is.
This sentence: “I have a [press kit] I’d like to send your way to [review/checkout] if you’d be interested, and if there’s anything else I can help with let me know!” leads me to believe they were not done editing the mass e-mail template before they hit send.
No Unsubscribe Option
This is clearly a mass e-mail without an unsubscribe option, technically it’s “unsolicited commercial e-mail” or “spam.”
I am not entirely clear on the thought process that leads a startup team to craft this e-mail as an outreach strategy. Their about page says “After lots of long nights and coffee runs, the first release of XXX was unleashed on our first customers in April 2014.” Unleashed would be a good verb for what happened with this “blogger outreach” campaign.