11 Reasons Important People Ignore Your Emails, and How to Fix This

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Freelancing / Improve Online Efficiency / Motivation / Productivity
11 Reasons Import People Ignore Your Emails and How to Fix This
As busy people looking to get ahead, there are inevitably moments when reaching out to someone for help can really help us get to where we want to go.
Unfortunately, we don't always get the response we want, if any, especially with important people tending to be very busy. Sometimes the way we contact them can even be to our detriment.

Although no result is guaranteed, it's important to know how to email people in the best way possible, to give us the best possible chance of response and success.
Here are some possible reasons for why you might be failing, and how to remedy this... 1. Not Personal you are either firing an email at many
people a once, or are using a generic message that's aimed at many. your email should be personally directed at one person or a specifc team.
2. No Research. You have not spent the time learning about who it is you are contacting, and therefore your message comes across as unfocused and careless...
Research allows you to taylor the message more, and drop in references that are really relevant to the receiver, which will surprise them and be appreciated.
3. Email is Long-Winded. Respect the amount of time your recipient has by getting to the point. I'm still amazed at how many
emails I receive that contain 95% stuff that I do not care to read. Include only the absolute core of the message your are putting across.
4. Win-Lose. your message is a 'win-lose' deal. This means that what you are requesting from your recipient will serve you, but
won't help them in any way. Think about how your approach can be win-win.
5. No Credibility. You have not included any reference that gives you any credibility. This is something to show that you are a person of some value and/or status.
Find ways (but don't overdo) to demonstrate credibility, whether this be showing a previous success, a testimonial, mentioning an award won, or at least linking to a well-designed personal site.
6. Unaware of Self-Interest
Whether you like to think it or not, everyone operates according to a level of self-interest. If you are not appealing to the self-interest of the recipien, you will unlikely see much response. This means proposing something that will obviously benefit them and make them look good, while achieving what it is you want too.
7. You Appear 'Needy'
A big 'turn-off' for someone you don't know who reads your email, is if you seem 'needy'. This also translates to showing lack, desperation, showing that you want something without giving anything back, and approval-seeking.
So, if you approach someone and talk only about yourself, this shows that you have something to prove, and shows neediness. If you approach someone with something of
value, like a sincere compliment, or a suggestion for collaborating in a win-win way, you can avoid appearing needy, because you have something to give.
8. No Previous Rapport. In all honesty, approaching someone you've never spoken to before for some request, is rarely going to see much response, unless you have something of special value for the recipient.
Build up a connection with the person before asking them to make the 'deal' and build up 'rapport' over time. This can be done via emai itself, by meeting people in realy life, social media interaction, and simply writing constructive comments on their blogs, for example.
Depending on the 'status' of the person you are approaching, it might take extra work, and time in developing a relationship with them beforehand, so that they are more likely to respond.
9. It Requires Effort. Far too often, people are sabotaging the likelihood for a correspondence to get the notice it deserves,
because they make it hard and tedious. You need to be making it as easy as possible for the recipient to know exactly what you are talking about, and what their next steps can be.
Sometimes an artist will approach me with a long-winded email about themselves and forget to include a link to their work. That email will often go straight into the bin. Make it easy, clear and tell people what you expect them to do.
10. No Value. This was mentioned previously, but this is an
important one. Before you hit send, make sure you're absolutely sure that what you are sending demonstrates and actually provides value, or the potential of valule. What you are offering needs to be of interest
(value) and/or useful (value) to person you are sending to. 11. Poor Product
It may be that the product, skill or project you are sharing is not up to a quality that is of interest to them. In which case, you need to hit the drawing board, and create something that stands for quality, uniqueness, pride and professionalism
This will get you noticed. GOOD LUCK!
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The Author

Alex is a project starter, sometimes finisher, writer and illustrator. He started Red Lemon Club in 2009 with the aim of helping talented creative people leave their mark.


  1. A great list of tips! I’m hoping to start sending emails to my client list in future. This list will help… Sounding too needy is a big one – I actually avoid any emails like this!

  2. Fuzzillustration says

    Thanks for the great tips as usual. I find the hardest thing is getting lazy about sending out mail. If you are sending out 200 messages it is real easy to start making it generic, pointless and self serving. I have been trying to combat this by only sending out 30 at a time. Sometimes it works sometimes I just need more coffee : ) Thanks again.

    • Alex Mathers says

      I always stress to avoid sending mass emails, and staying with building up your network gradually with single emails. You can’t bring personalised value to multiple people in the same message at the same time.

      So instead of sending 200 emails once a month, send a valuable email a day or every few days.

      Quality over quantity is best. You will stand out.

  3. Great tips as always Alex! I always look forward to your emails. They’re a win for me. Sometimes highlighting the things I’m already doing which really helps me know I’m stepping in the right direction. I’ve shot off one or two emails to my heroes. I think it’s a good thing to seek out advice from the folks that you admire. Keeping it as formal as possible but not devoid of your own personality is important I think. I do however struggle to think of reasons to harass my heroes, I never want to waste anyone’s time. For the time being, I’ll stick to improving my craft. You sir, have an awesome day! Looking forward to the next great post.

    • Alex Mathers says

      Thanks Nicolas, including some personality is definitely a good thing.

      If you struggle to think of ways to ‘harass’ your heroes, you won’t get too far I’m afraid! The right perspective is to approach people with real value on a level that is collaborative, rather than coming from the angle of something along the lines of ‘fan mail’. All the best with everything.

  4. Russell Volckmann says

    Alex, wonderfully written and crystallizes what I am sure many of us are thinking as well as reminds us to be good messaging citizens. The key takeaway for me was making sure the recipient has something to gain by what we might propose in a message.

    Minor point, but I might add that spell checkers don’t always catch words like “Taylor” a person’s name, vs. “tailor” a person whose occupation is the making, mending, or altering of clothes 🙂

    • Alex Mathers says

      oh no! I just noticed what you meant by the ‘Taylor’ – oops :(.

  5. Aishah Z. says

    Hi Alex! Great tips. Young punks in any field might find it difficult to offer real value at an early stage so perhaps as you mentioned engaging with the person by dropping comments on social media platforms could definitely be a good start to break the ice. Thanks again!

  6. Hi Alex, these are some really useful tips. As a blogger, I often receive review requests from software companies. And I must confess that often I don’t read these emails because they are poorly written by someone from China or India, promote a low-quality product, and look copy-pasted.

    On the other hand, I often need to contact large tech-related websites and publications. And I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to do your research and actually contact the right person. Shoot an email to the wrong editor/columnist and your email will end up in Trash, or worse – Spam.

    • Alex Mathers says

      Good thoughts, Liz, thank you! Email still holds a LOT of importance in moving ahead. So important to email with care :).

  7. this would be an excellent article for new artists starting out looking to reach galleries buyers and agents, its fun easy to understand really quite helpful across a variety of industries, totally recmnd

    • Alex Mathers says

      as it would for anyone looking to communicate with people via email… 🙂

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