Be genuine or don’t bother

If you are on LinkedIn, you have probably received an email that starts with something like “Hi Scott, I was browsing Linked-in and wanted to reach out to you.”emailfail

Sure, the mistyped “Linked-in” is a signal this is probably not worth reading but it looks good compared to what follows. The email goes on to introduce the seller, their company and what they do. Not bad, but if you’re writing me because of something you saw while browsing LinkedIn, why not open with what about my profile caught your eye while browsing? At least then I might wonder what you offer that has something to do with something about me or my business.

It gets worse. The description of the company and its products or services is fine. Except that it clearly isn’t anything I have any need for at all. I was selected for this message because the sender was browsing on LinkedIn? Really? While browsing, did you read or just look at the pictures?

Now the call to action. “I’d love to schedule a time to connect and outline how we’re able to do this while discussing any projects or plans you might have. Just let me know a time that works with your schedule for a free consultation & quote.” Wait, are we connecting so I can hear how you do what you do and to discuss my projects or are we connecting for a free consultation & quote for a need you haven’t even discovered yet? Forgetting the grammar failures (which drive me crazy but some won’t even notice), the call to action confirms that this is good old fashioned spaghetti throwing and has nothing to do with the opening claim of browsing a social network that offers ample detail from which to qualify and target the recipient. If you can’t be genuine in your opening four words, you can’t possibly offer anything of value to me or my business. These messages would actually be better without the “I was browsing LinkedIn” or numerous “I noticed ____” variations.

Don’t be that company. If you are that company, and you’re reading this, hire me now. I can help you adopt far better marketing strategies that will resonate with your target audience and convey value in the upfront content, so that they actually want to connect with you, and call them to action for an offer that they also see as having value.