Like me, you’re in business – and if you’re smart (like me), you know that you need to know your audience.

Why would you waste time barking up the wrong tree?

Every Business Needs to Know its Customers

I got an email from someone who was way off the mark. I don’t know why he was way off the mark; chances are that he bought an email list or hired an idiot as his content marketer.

Naturally, I took out the links to his website – but here’s the text in blue (and my take on what’s wrong with it in red):

Hi, (Hi, who? Me? You don’t even have the time or tools to automatically personalize your marketing materials?)

Successful entrepreneurs are infinitely fascinating to me. (Why is this all about you? That’s not how you market.) I find that they’re all courageous risk-takers balanced by good business sense, and I love learning what makes them tick. For my website, [his website], I’m starting to explore areas of entrepreneurship that are often overlooked. (You, you, YOU! You lost me – when you intrude on my inbox with a sales pitch, and this isn’t my throwaway email that I use to sign up for junk, you should make it all about me right off the bat. That’s how you connect with your customers.)

Because many real estate agents work for real estate companies, we don’t often think of them as entrepreneurs. But they certainly are. Needing the same mix of business sense, sales skills, and penchant for risk-taking to be successful as every other entrepreneur. (Yes, real estate agents are great. They’re hard-working, smart, and connected – but why are you telling me this?)

I was hoping you might be open to being interviewed for a guest article. (I’ve been interviewed for articles before, which was great, but what do you want me to talk about?) My hope (Why are you using the word hope again? Sounds weird and forced.) is that you would answer the questions below for me, then I’ll do a write up on you and your career achievements for you to post on your website. (On my site?!) I would just ask that I be able to include a link to [his website] in the bio I include with my article. (AHA! You want a free backlink from a strong website. Not a chance, home skillet! What he’s proposing is actually a badly orchestrated dance with Google, who says it’s one form of a link scheme.)

Here are the questions. If you have the time, please send me your responses, and I’ll get started on the piece:

-Why did you decide to go into real estate? (Wait, wut?)

-What do you love about being a real estate agent in your area? (Hang on – I’m not a real estate agent.)

-What’s your proudest career moment as a real estate agent? (I had a real estate license in Michigan for a year. Know how many homes I sold? None. I’m not a Realtor(R)… I’m a writer.)

-In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge real estate agents face and what do you do in your own career to overcome it? (Dude, I’m not a Realtor. I write for Realtors.)

Of course, if you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you! (No, I don’t have any questions. None, because your email clearly does not apply to me. But you’d know that, and you wouldn’t have sent it, if you knew your audience.)

All the best,


[His website] [His address]

Phoenix, AZ 85041
[His email address]

Why would any self-respecting business owner let that escape with their name on it?

This is terrible marketing. TERRIBLE. Swing and a miss! Not a regular miss, either. Like a serious miss.

Do everyone a favor: know your audience or hire someone who does. If you don’t, you look stupid and waste your resources at the same time.