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Demystifying the sarcasm of email marketing: No, the email did not find me well

So, imagine an email finding you well… yikes! 

Email marketing has become an invaluable tool for sales professionals, particularly in today’s fast-paced world where certain subtleties and nuances can make or break a connection with a prospect, lead, or client. 

Currently drawing a heated debate is one common phrase often used as an opening line, “I hope this email finds you well”, making bare the  need for marketing and sales professionals to navigate these intricacies and email conventions skillfully.

While e-mail marketing is pivotal in connecting businesses with prospects, leads, and clients, as discussions on LinkedIn and other platforms reveal that this seemingly innocuous greeting can be laden with multiple interpretations (including a fair share of sarcasm), the phrase’s true meaning is questioned

“If an email starts out with anything resembling the fact that they hope that I am well, I delete and move on. I already know that it is a canned sales email and my interest wanes. It is amazing how many I receive each day,” said Laurie Buckman, Physician Recruiter, Gastroenterologist and Urology, St. John Associates.

Sharing a similar sentiment, Mark Jaszczak, Director at MGM Consulting, believes using “I hope this email finds you well” is almost as bad as when someone signs off an email with “warm regards”. 

“Unless it’s piping hot regards, standard regards will do thanks,” he humorously suggested. 

So, should sales professionals steer clear of this phrase to avoid misinterpretation?

On the one hand, “I hope this email finds you well” may imply that the message you’ve been eagerly waiting for has finally arrived, and you’re overjoyed to see it. On the other, it could be taken as a biting piece of sarcasm, suggesting that such an occurrence is nearly unimaginable.

Taking the latter position, Shaneeka Abram, a Public Relations Strategist and CEO/Founder of Abundant Solutions Consulting LLC revealed that although there are certain emails that have “found her well”, they certainly “do not start off with that line,” she noted.

Perceiving the sarcasm as unwarranted frustration that only serves to create divisions among professionals, Alina H., a Senior Business Analyst at Conduent revealed that It is really sad to see so many people supporting the divide and reading extreme meanings to the simple phrase. 

“This sarcasm only instigates to being grumpy. They are all great professionals, speakers, sales people, etc., and yet they are deeply bothered by a phrase which I genuinely think is not just a cliché, it’s common sense. The fact that this bothers you is only your problem and it only speaks about your frustration and about your way of conducting business. I hope no-one gets to do business with such people. They think it is cool to stand by such behavior, whilst just being nice to each other it’s too old-fashioned. This is what we find behind the screens, unfortunately!,” she added.

On her part, Lori Wildman, director of marketing and communications DMA – DuCharme, McMillen & Associates, Inc. admitted that the phrase remains one of her most hated opening lines from salespeople, prompting her to hit the delete key without hesitation.

While “I hope this email finds you well” can be interpreted in different ways, it’s important to be mindful of the context and your relationship with the recipient. By understanding the potential interpretations and using alternative phrases, sales professionals can ensure their emails are well-received, without any hint of sarcasm. 

Some view it positively, while others perceive a hint of sarcasm in this common opening line. 

“I hope this email finds you well” is often used with a positive intent. It implies that the recipient is receiving the exact email they were hoping for. In this context, the phrase conveys genuine well wishes, signaling that the sender wants the recipient to be in a good state when reading the email. This interpretation promotes a friendly, considerate tone.

Towela Lucia Phiri, General Manager at Barbet Zambia, noted that while it’s common to say, “I hope you are doing well,” it’s essential not to sound too generic and stiff. In her submission, Phiri suggested that specific phrasing, such as “I hope you are having a productive week,” can emphasize the sincerity of your wishes.

Highlighting the challenges of cold emails while lending his thoughts to the debate, Patrick Gunn, Digital Marketing Consultant at Herd Digital shared “On a genuine note, BD emails and getting people to even send a simple “Hi I’m not interested” is rather tricky as people don’t tend to like being sold too, especially over a random email from someone they have never met! Speaking for most recruiters, a lot of the time this ends up leaving you thinking are they not interested? Or shall I send a follow up?”

In response to Gunn’s assertion, Joseph Lugo, Business Development Manager at Horizon Solutions explained that there are “more than one way to skin a cat.”

Similarly acknowledging that sending unsolicited emails can be tricky, especially if the recipient has never met you, Lugo pointed out that there are alternative ways to approach potential clients, such as following up with a LinkedIn request or finding common ground before reaching out.

“For example, referencing another contact in which you worked with at said location or any previous experience in general with said contacts industry,” he said.

Altering how others perceive it, Amarbir Sihota, a Client Success Manager at Stratigens, suggested that the phrase might simply imply, “I hope this email has been delivered to you successfully”.

“Not sure how true it is, but now every time I type ‘I hope these emails find you well’, it is all I can think about,” she said. 

Sarah Alami, Founder of The Imperfect English Club, finds the opening line both funny and strange but continues to use it despite its quirks.

However, In the end, it’s about striking the right tone and creating meaningful connections with your audience.


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