“What?! I did something wrong?!?” – How To Guarantee People Open Your Email

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I’m happily working away on my computer one afternoon when an email alert pops up on my screen.


“Something’s missing from your article on clearboxseo.com”

Immediately it grabs my attention from what i’m working on and my heart starts to beat a little faster. 

“What? I did something wrong? I missed something on one of my blog posts?? Oh man…”

A little bit of panic creeps into my thoughts, I start to think about the consequences of making a mistake publicly that could affect my job. 

I think to myself, “Was it a stupid mistake?? Did I make myself look foolish?” 

Other fearful thoughts run through my mind within a flash of a moment. The moment seems to last; the time frame of seeing the notification, comprehending what it means and finally going to email box to face up to whatever mistakes I’ve made publicly. 

Not an inspiring moment. 

I finally opened the email, quickly scanning the most important parts of the message, looking for the offending mistake I had made. 

“I read your article on clearboxseo.com/value-of-seo-numbers/, where you mentioned analytics.google.com. As I’m in the beginning stages of getting my recipe blog up and running (stay tuned!), I found it rather insightful.”

Okaaaaayyyy…so far a little confused…

“Recently, I also came across this tutorial on Google Analytics 

https://www.blahblahwebsite.com/blog/ultimate-beginners-guide-google-analytics/ “

…now I’m even more confused…Where was the mistake I made? Why wouldn’t this super helpful person who took the time to email me about my mistakes help me out by pointing out the exact mistakes and why they were mistakes?

“This guide has actually been super useful in helping me get my head around all of the complexities of Google Analytics when setting up my own blog, which is why I believe your users will enjoy it, too, if you share it on your page.”

Ah ha! 

Now I see your ploy!!

It takes me a few seconds to realize what exactly was going on here and that I was a victim of fear based email marketing. 

And I was kind of impressed!


Because this person made me doubt and question myself about something I had created and made public. This person then used that to compel me to open their email message about it. It is a duplicitous tactic, but it worked on me…for a moment.

After I had realized that I was simply being marketed to, I put on my critical thinking hat and began to unpack this email. There were a few things that I started to question after the third or fourth reading of the short email. 

“Am I being sold to right now?”

Well, not really, no. 

The email was implying that I had made a mistake, but made no real effort to point out that mistake or why it mattered to them. But they weren’t really selling me anything.

In fact, the person who wrote the email made it sound like they were starting their own blog and were quite excited about sharing that news soon. 

That almost made me drop my guard, but no meaningful details beyond “it’s a recipe blog” were given by the sender. This was my first red flag. 

“Who sent me this link and how did they get my email?”

This is where it all started to look incredibly dubious for me. When I inspected who was sending me the email, I discovered it was somebody that I didn’t recognize and who was using a free gmail account. 

Moreover, the sender was sending the email to an alias email address setup specifically for the public to use for contacted the firm. But the worst part? They didn’t address me by my name. 

That’s when I knew this was an attempt at eliciting an action from me that would benefit the sender, whoever the sender was. 

What was the sender hoping to achieve by all of this?

I see two outcomes for an email like this:

1: Drive traffic from link in email (curiosity driven action)

2: Get recipient to create backlink for you on their own site, giving a massive boost to their SEO rankings!! (share the link on your site b/c you care, altruistic action)

Sneaky and effective…to a point. 

I mean, I did open the damn email, right? 

I imagine this email tactic works on some people who may not know any better about link equity and driving SEO results through backlinks. 

Fortunately, my experience in the SEO field of study allowed me to recognize the scheme and helped me make a decision not to engage with any of the links or the Call To Action to add a link to my company website.

However, I still can’t deny that it got me to open up that spam email. Which leads me to believe that were the email improved upon, it would yield some very positive SEO results for the senders. 

How would you make this email better, dear reader?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts 🙂     

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