There is an email problem out there that’s actually worse than spam. It’s “email sequencing.” And it’s terrible.

The idea itself isn’t bad. You reach out to someone about something, and if you don’t hear from them, you send a polite follow-up. Fair enough. Happens all the time in business.

Problem is, marketing app developers have turned this into the new spam.

Now, they pre-program a series of follow-up messages to be sent out on a schedule. They’re horrible, and they go on forever. I’ve received eight from one guy in the course of two weeks until I finally told him to knock it off. It didn’t help. They kept coming.

Frequently, they get your email by scraping your web site for a link that’s marginally related to their business. Their goal: To get you to put a link to their site as well. This helps their SEO ranking.

So, you first get the ask:

They found this blog post of mine (which I wrote eight years ago!) on my web site.

For some reason, these aren’t caught in many email providers’ spam platforms, though they are clearly spam.

There’s no “unsubscribe” link. All you can do is ignore and delete it.

But they’re not done with you yet. Because the sequencing software sees that you didn’t reply, and automatically barfs out the next one in the sequence a few days later.

<sigh> As soon as I see one of these. I know more are coming. And sure enough, four days later:

Ignore it, and you’ll get the next one:

Stop it. Just stop it.

These are not helping your case. If anything, you’ve identified yourself as someone I most definitely do NOT want to do business with. I certainly don’t want to give you a link on my site.

How To Do It Right

I’m not saying that asking for a link on a web site isn’t a good idea. It is. This is just the wrong execution.

Instead, look at the web site, read the post in question, and send an actual meaningful message to the site administrator and mention some things you like about their site (specific, that shows a human being has actually read it).

And if they don’t reply, move on.

You’re not doing yourself any favours using email sequencing.

Knock it off.