BlogOpinionThe Bad Outreach Email Hall of Shame

The Bad Outreach Email Hall of Shame

Are you a regular consumer of digital marketing content?

You probably wouldn’t be here if you weren’t…

So, no doubt you’ve seen countless articles and blogs on the subject of email outreach.

There’s no shortage of advice on the right way to do email outreach, but there’s precious little on how not to do it.

That’s where The Bad Outreach Email Hall of Shame comes in.

We’ve got an unlucky 13 worthy contenders lining up to be inducted…


And we’ll show you how to avoid making the same mistakes.


Getting email outreach right is a fine art…

One that takes practice.

You only have a few measly lines to grab — and keep — your recipient’s attention.

Otherwise, your message is destined for the Recycle Bin.

A typical outreach strategy is to offer something of value in order to get something (usually a backlink) — in return.

Unfortunately, many people fail to do their research and — more disastrously — fail to use the best approach when sending cold emails.

What follows are some of the worst offenders we’ve come across — and how it should’ve been done.

Disclaimer: We’re not into naming and shaming. Our outreach outlaws have had their personal information redacted to protect the clueless.

The short, not so sweet outreach email

Bad Email Outreach 1If you were to look up “bad outreach” in the dictionary, you really should find this one…

No greeting, no introduction, and, quite frankly, no manners.

This email screams inexperience and spammy intentions.

Definitely destined for the cyber dustbin.

Keeping an email short is absolutely fine…

But, at the very least, it should include a personal greeting, an intro explaining who you are and what you do, and precisely what it is that you want.

The above example is nothing more than a waste of time and energy for all concerned.

The aggressive outreach email

Bad Email Outreach 2
I don’t know what this guy’s problem is — but it’s probably difficult to pronounce!

Again, no personal greeting or introduction here, which will immediately put most people off.

The tone is demanding, and “we expect an answer” is particularly aggressive.

At least the sender has stated his or her intentions, which is a start.

But it’s all “me me me” with no mention of any benefit to the recipient.

Rather than these peculiar bullet points, the sender should have formatted it as a conversational email with actual paragraphs, and a much more polite tone.

The blunt outreach email

Bad Email Outreach 3

The answer from me is a big, fat “no.”

No introduction, no information — and no sense.

This is a reaaaaalllly great example of how not to do outreach — ever!

The lazy outreach email

Bad Email Outreach 3

Let’s start with the fact that Helen sent this outreach email to a woman whose name is most definitely not Joel.

Right off the bat, it shows the recipient that the sender is copy/pasting the same message to a bunch of people, hoping someone will bite.

Helen emphasizes this by mentioning the recipient’s LinkedIn profile without referring to any specific details.

At least Helen introduced herself (we’re assuming she got her own name right), but the preamble needs to be more detailed.

Rather than suggesting a mutually beneficial partnership, this is a straight-up ad for Helen’s business in a bid to gain sales.

But I imagine the only thing she gained was people blocking her.

Don’t be a Helen.

The “even lazier” outreach email
Bad Email Outreach 4

Don’t get me wrong, templates are great…

But to make them work, you have to actually remove the template text and replace it with your own!

The baffling outreach email

Bad Email Outreach 4

This contender wouldn’t be impressive at the best of times…

The fact that the sender was pitching their talents as a copywriter makes it downright scary.

Our world is getting smaller — we’re able to do business globally in ways never before possible.

Usually, that’s something to celebrate.

But if you’re writing an email in a language you’re not fluent in, at have someone check to ensure that it’s professional (or at least decipherable!)

The short and not so sweet outreach email

Link Insertion

Hey, maybe he’s just, like, really really busy…

Regardless, this outreach email is — apart from the frightening lack of grammar — just downright rude.

Even if the sender does say please…

If you have neither the time nor the inclination to write a coherent email, then maybe outreach just isn’t for you.

The confused outreach email

Is it a blog post? Is it an article? What’s it about? What’s the point?

I’m not suggesting that this guy has been smoking something funny, but his optimism in anticipating a positive response is a tad overly ambitious.

Also, I already know what my website address is.

The over-enthusiastic Outreach email

Coffee is for Closers

The super-enthusiastic tone of this email suggests that the sender has already had too much caffeine…

Regardless, a request for a Sitecore meeting over a coffee is no way to introduce yourself to a prospect.


Beyond pushy, this approach is unlikely to result in anyone reaching for their coffee mug — but it will have them reaching for the delete button.

The sender should have concentrated more on an appropriate introduction and made his email much less “salesy.”

The cocky outreach email

Cocky OutreachNow, I admire confidence – I really do…

But this guy is so confident that he thinks I’m going to send him an offer without any kind of information about him, his brand, or his content.

It’s confidence bordering on the delusional.

The “nearly got it right” outreach email
Nearly Email

So near and yet so far…

The sender has grasped the overall principles of sending an outreach email, but there are a couple of (quite big) problems here.

Firstly, she’s offering a guest post to somebody who doesn’t — and never has — accepted guest posts.

Secondly, despite the short length of this email, it’s riddled with typos and grammar errors…

Not a great look for somebody claiming to be a feature writer.

Spellcheck and grammar tools are widely available…

There’s simply no excuse for this kind of sloppiness.

The bad follow-up email
A Better Place

Where to start with this one?

With the fact that the sender appears to think a mild threat of cyberstalking will do the trick?

Intimidation aside, the bad grammar, the “wink wink,” and the unpersonalized greeting are unlikely to send the recipient’s fingers racing to respond.

It’s absolutely fine to follow up on your email outreach — in fact, it’s a best practice that can dramatically boost your open and conversion rates…

But it should take the form of a short, concise, and polite note asking if the recipient has had a chance to look at your initial email.

In this instance, it’s also a good idea to include some fresh content not included in your first email to further show off your skills.

The “even worse” follow-up

Even Worse Email
Needy much?

This sender seems to have plenty of free time on their hands, judging by all those follow-up calls and emails.

By all means, send a follow-up email or two, but this is bordering on harassment.

After two (polite) follow-up emails, you can safely assume the recipient isn’t interested — move on!


Plenty of other fish in the sea.


When it comes to email outreach, you’re not always going to get it right.

It takes practice, research, and a sprinkling of A/B testing to get results.

When starting out with email outreach, here are a few points you need to keep in mind to save your email from Spam folder or the Recycle Bin:

  • A grabby title that isn’t silly, salesy or snarky
  • A personalized greeting
  • A proper introduction highlighting who you are and what you do
  • How your work will benefit the recipient
  • Examples of your work
  • A clear indication of what you’re looking for
  • A decisive call to action

Keep your email concise and on-point and, I can’t stress this enough — always, always check for typos and double-check you’ve got the recipient’s name right!

Any email outreach horror stories you’d care to share?

Contenders for our Bad Outreach Email Hall of Shame?

Let us know in the comments.

Happy emailing!

Recommended further resources

Email Outreach: The Ultimate Guide

7 Most Effective Ways to Promote Your Website and Get Customers

B2B customer acquisition best practices

How To Write a Personalised Outreach Email Even When You’re Sending It To 100 People

The Real Cost of Building Links in 2020

VerveSearch outREACH Conference 
[author_bio image=”” name=”Milosz Krasiński”]Milosz is an international SEO consultant, speaker, and blogger. He is helping international brands with their link building activities. He’s currently specializing in running processes that have helped him do outreach to almost 1 million websites.

2 thoughts on “The Bad Outreach Email Hall of Shame

  1. Milosz,
    I receive these types of emails daily.
    Grammarly is a free and good spelling control.

    The ones I think are plain stupid are the ones that claim to be a big internet marketing business, with many experts and developers, and then use a free Gmail account.

    At this moment I am just a small fish in the internet marketing pond, but the first thing I did was have my business and personal website set up.

    Thank you for sharing. I had a good laugh out of it.


    1. In case their emails get flagged as spam a lot, a gmail account can be the best thing possible.

      When you do outreach, getting your domain flagged as spam would be really bad.

      Not as bad as these email messages, but close. 🙂

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