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When you email, try doing it properly please

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

Since redesigning my website a few months back I’ve been getting more people email me through my contact form. The numbers aren’t huge but every now and again I get an email and I tend to respond to all emails that aren’t clearly spam or SEO sales pitches. There are however some emails that I would maybe usually respond to if they hadn’t already instantly pissed me off.

These emails tend to go a little like this:

i want a web designer. email me?

Er, no thanks.

There’s a few issues I have with this. Firstly it’s the master/servant complex. What this email makes we feel is that whoever sent this email thinks’ I’m the dog and they’re the owner simply calling for me to come, sit and beg. Not only will I not work for any client like that but I’m unlikely to want to even know a person with that sort of attitude.

Secondly there’s the effort put into that email. Sure we live in a busy world but if this person truly wants to work with me then it’s a case that they have to put in just as much effort in as I do, and that starts with a well composed email. If they can’t manage to write an email that explains a bit more about what they want, or even bother to use capital letters then they’re unlikely to put the effort in to provide feedback, content or even payment.

What should they be doing?

Some people don’t seem to consider web contact forms in the same way as traditional communication but I like to write contact forms in a similar way I would a letter. First I introduce myself, explain what I’m writing for and then finish with a thank you. Now this might be a little over the top and my personal preference but I’ve responded to short email’s like:

I have a blog running WordPress, and I want to update it. I wondered if you accept freelance work and how much you would charge, etc.

Thanks for your time

Ok so it doesn’t give me all the information I need to go back with a comprehensive reply but it’s friendly and passes as a good initial response. This is all I want from people who get in touch with me. I want them to be friendly, put in a bit of effort and actually sound as if they are thankful for my time, anyone else is just wasting their time.