Skip to main content

No, I Do Not Have to Email You Back

July 2017

Have you been recently reprimanded by an unknown vendor for not responding to their email? So have I. And frankly, I find this trend in email etiquette (or lack of) disturbing.

Just because you’ve reached out to me does not mean I am obligated to answer back. Nor, if I choose to respond, be placed under an arbitrary and imaginary time constraint. So when vendors email back within 24 hours demanding to know why I haven’t responded, I have one solution. Mark them as spam and block their domain.

Here’s the thing. My time is valuable. I receive 100+ emails a day. Every day. The emails I choose to respond to are the ones that are respectful and don’t assume I owe them.

If this is their tactic, respect is the one thing they have already lost.

I find this to be a despicable and spammy technique. No, I did not miss your email. Yes, I check my spam folder frequently. Yes, I saw your offer/service/tool the first time. I simply have not made a decision as to whether or not I want to follow up with you. If you (the vendor, not you, dear reader) decide that I owe you something, you’re wrong. I did not ask you to.

Here’s an example of what I hate receiving (company name removed):

{email_recipient}, ⟵Already off to a bad start

I have not heard from anyone yet following my previous emails highlighting that [xxxx] will soon be open for submissions (Cost of doing business).

My time is valuable and you owe me a response. (No, I don’t)

I guess you think you have enough business but I bet your CEO disagrees!!!! (My CEO will think you are unethical. Threatening to get a response. How’s that working out for you?)

Here’s an example of how to do the followup right:

Hi Dave,

I’ve tried reaching out a few times about [XXX]. I was hoping that we could make the research process easier for you, but I don’t want to be one of those annoying salespeople.

I’ll stop reaching out, and I’ll assume that you’re not interested unless I hear back from you. Please feel free to reach out anytime.

That is respectful. And guess what? He got a nice response from me.

I hope you haven’t been treated like this from vendors, but if you have, you’re not alone. Mark them spam. It’s the only way they will learn that this is unacceptable.


Written by

More from Me

Hello Sign

Make It Easy: Connect with Customers

By Lyle King Red

Reframing Your Actual Problem

By Element5 Digital

How Much Should I Set Aside For My Marketing Spend?

By Element5 Digital

Need our help on a new project?

Shoot us a message. We'd love to hear from you.

get a quote