The biggest challenge of my career lately has to do with responding to email. I try to take some time each day and answer it all but when you get hundreds of inquiries, pitches, and solicitations each day, it doesn’t make you want to log in.
Know what I mean?
I like my email to be quick and actionable because if I don’t handle it right away, it risks falling through the cracks forever. If I don’t deal with email immediately, I forgot about it – even if I star it or put it in folders with eye catching headlines.
Now, I’m not trying to be a diva. I like helping people and enjoy interacting. However, if I have to jump through hoops or read through an obvious pitch I’m going to hit delete. Also? If I have to spend 10 minutes or more on a single piece of email, I’m going to put it off as long as possible.
If I don’t answer your email right away, it’s probably because I got busy but it’s still on my radar. If I didn’t answer your email at all, it can be for any number of reasons.
I have to fill out stuff
I don’t want to fill out forms or long-winded questionnaires. I realize sometimes these requests for information are for interviews, profiles, or to gather more information, and they’re for valid reasons. What no one else is willing to tell you about these forms is that they’re time consuming. Our options are to either drop everything and spend 15 to 30 minutes filling out questions about our favorite colors or how many times a week we post to our blogs, or to put it aside and risk losing it among all our other email or having it fall between the cracks. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m not trying to say I’m above filling out information, just that I can’t always do it when you send it to me.
I have to do a bunch of stuff for you
If you want me to take interest in your product, service, website or whatever it is you’re pitching, don’t make me do all your work for you. Don’t send me letters asking me to blog, tweet, Facebook or promote your stuff, especially if there’s nothing in it at all for me. If you have something I might be interested in, let’s set up a time to talk, but don’t send me a long list of things I need to do for you simply because you think I’ll be grateful for the opportunity to talk about you on my blog.
You want a lot of free advice
I don’t mind helping, I’ve been doing it for years. However, if you’re going to write to me every day for advice and need me to hold your hand for every step of your career, I’m going to have to start charging a consulting fee. Though you might not receive an answer immediately, asking for advice is one thing. When you send me twenty questions or contact me all day every day because you’re not sure how to respond to something or how to handle a certain aspect of a job, you’re probably not meant to do that job anyway.
You’re selling stuff
I subscribe to very few online newsletters because I simply don’t have time to read them. When newsletters turn into regular sales pitches for ebooks, courses, webinars and the product of the month, I’m going to unsubscribe.
You didn’t take the time to research me or what I do
My favorite recent email pitch was the one asking me if I ever considered freelance writing. Prior to what I’m doing now I was a freelance writer and I owned the number one freelance writing research in the niche. If you knew who I was, you’d know that was my thing up until a year ago. I don’t mean that in a “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM???” sort of way, but if you’re putting together a mailing list it should be made up of people who, at the very least, have a need for your product.
I have no clue who you are or what you do
Again, I’m not trying to be a diva and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. If you and I met at a crowded, loud, party at a conference and spent 30 seconds talking, please reintroduce yourself when sending an email. Sometimes I need a little reminder of where we met. I might meet hundreds of people at a single conference, so if you send me an email requesting a phone call or meeting, I might need a quick refresher of what it is you do. Again, it’s not you, it’s me. Also, if we never met, you can’t assume I know who you are. Please tell me a little about you so we can have a better conversation.
You forgot to remove the name of the other person you sent the form letter to
You called me another girl’s name. It’s over.
You’re trying to make me feel guilty about something
I’m all for saving the children and give to charity on a regular basis. I might consider giving to your charity too, but I don’t need the guilt. Don’t make me feel bad for what I have, especially if you don’t know my circumstances or giving habits. Send me your information and leave it at that. If you’re pushy I’ll just block you.
It has “FW: FW: FW: FW: FW:” in the subject line
I’m begging you, please don’t send me The Forwards. I’ll see the amusing pictures and videos online and most of the jokes you’re sharing have been around forever.
You only contact me when you want a favor
Hey, remember me? Your friend? How about saying hello and seeing what I’ve been up to? Don’t ask me to retweet your stuff or share with my networks if the only time you contact me is when you want me to push your stuff. I’m all for supporting my friends, but people who use me aren’t my friends.
What are your email pet peeves? What makes you not want to respond to someone?