Email marketing: how to p*ss off your readers or spamees

When a classic email marketing no-no gets through your spam filter into your inbox, much as it’s annoying it’s worth taking a look to see what we can learn from it.Email marketing: how to piss off your readers or spameesIn this case (see below) its arrogance is diluted mainly by its authors’ ignorance of how to write properly in English.

Why native English matters when you’re writing for marketing, or even for spam

Many, many people in countries where English is a key business (but not first) language write in what they perceive is “perfectly OK” English that their fellow countryfolks will understand. And that’s fine, provided that it terminates at the borders of the nation concerned.

But what really p*sses me off – along with many others – is when these businesses write to us expecting us to take seriously what they write – even though to a native English speaker it reeks of “Pidgin” English.

How we know they are E2L speakers and writers

Don’t start on me with the hate mail, but in my view there is only one way you are going to get absolutely perfect English from an E2L (English as a 2nd Language) speaker, and that’s if they hire a native English speaker to proof read, edit and if necessary re-write their original text.

Of course there are many E2L speakers whose English is almost perfect. There are many whose English is technically or grammatically perfect.

Where the difference shows through is not so much in the grammar or even syntax, but in the everyday nuances and yes, even slang or other informal terms. Ironically, an excellent E2L speaker’s English can be too perfect, and that’s what gives it away.

They also tend to use wrong prepositions, verb conjugations, etc., but let’s not get into a grammar lesson here.

So what’s wrong with imperfectly written English from an E2L speaker?

Well, if the email marketing/spam is reasonably friendly and amiable, probably not a lot.

But when these idiots try to be clever and imitate the vaguely insulting shock tactics used by experienced expert native English speaking copywriters – i.e. marcomms writing professionals – invariably the E2L speakers manage to achieve two things:

  1. They insult their readers with about as much subtlety as a WWII air raid, usually then trying to soften it up with a good few !!! marks and attempts at humour
  2. They make fools of themselves because the insulting parts aren’t phrased as a native speaker would phrase them, so making us burst out laughing

Take this squirmingly awful marketing spam I received recently…

Re:Fix Errors

Hope you are doing good.
How is it possible that your website is having so many errors? Yes, most of the people share their anger and frustration once they get my email.
You can’t expect your website to increase your revenue with so many errors. Many business owners get puzzled as their website isn’t performing well, while others are flourishing. That’s unfortunate, but not your fortune!
Now, I will show you the number of broken links, pages that returned 4XX status code upon request, images with no ALT text, pages with no meta description tag, not having a unique meta description, having a too long title, etc., found in your  website ( , Too many issues to worry about!
I have a large professional team who can fix all the above issues immediately at an affordable price. I guarantee you will see a drastic change in your Google search ranking once these are fixed.
If this is something you are interested in, and then allow me to send you a no obligation audit report.

Best Regards,
The SEO Company USA
Note: If this email is not relevant to you or not interested on the same then please reply back with not interested. I will happy to update my database.
PSI: I am not spamming. I have studied your website and believe I can help with your business promotion. If you still want us not contact you, you can ignore this email or ask to remove and I will not contact again.
PS II: I found your site in 7th or 8th pages using keywords in Google searches. I recommend you to go with our SEO service to found your website in 1st page ranking.

But this is spam. Surely we’d delete it however badly it was written?

Not necessarily. If such spam didn’t work here and there, they wouldn’t be sending it out. And so they perpetuate circular business that’s unprofessional, shady, and stinks of snake-oil.

The real irony is that many genuine, honest businesses from “abroad” fail to get their English language marketing right, too. What a wasted opportunity.

Considering that it would only cost them a few dozen dollars or pounds to hire a professional copywriter or editor to sort out the goofs, you wonder why they don’t get the need to do it.

Do they only want business from other E2L speakers who don’t know the difference between English and Pidgin? (Then why spam people like me with US/UK URLs?)

Do they believe that we native English speakers are so ignorant that we won’t notice that their English is a little, er, quirky? (How insulting!)

Do they honestly think we would trust a company that can’t be bothered to get its English right? (They must think we are as stupid as they are.)

Answers, please, in a spammed email to….

(Seriously though. What do you think? Please share.)