As companies struggle to have their messages heard in a crowded marketplace, there is continued pressure to be bold, be clever and take extreme or unusual actions to reach the other party.  However, as a business owner, while having someone pay attention is half the battle, you do have to use some discretion in your marketing.

This is a case study of email contacts made through LinkedIn.  One of my connections, who is in the financial services industry, was approached for a “connection” on LinkedIn.  While he didn’t know the woman, it appeared that she was in the headhunting/executive search function in the financial industry from her biography, so he accepted the connection, thinking she might be a good future resource.

Sometime later, he received a LinkedIn email with the subject “Help me and I will give you $500”, seeking a candidate for a financial advisor position.  He deleted the email and didn’t think much else of it.

However, about four weeks later he got another LinkedIn email with the subject “WTF?”

He was floored; he didn’t know this person and he assumed that she was upset that he didn’t respond to her previous email and had the nerve to contact him back saying “WTF?”  So, of course, he opened this email which had gotten him all riled up and it wasn’t at all what he had thought…

Here are copies of the two emails sent through LinkedIn (note, I have redacted names, emails and phone numbers):

Email #1

Subject: Help me and I will give you $500

On 10/25/11 6:59 AM, Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx wrote:
Good morning,

As a recruiting professional I meet people every day that are in a career transition or are looking for an exciting new career opportunity. Maybe you are that person looking for an opportunity or you might know someone who would consider working for our firm. As an incentive to you we are offering $500 to anyone that refers us to an individual that we hire.*

At this present time we are specifically looking to hire financial advisors. This is not just a job but a way to make a difference in client’s lives.The Txxxxx Financial Group is 20 employees strong and has been located in Lxxxxxxxxxxx, Illinois since 1988.

Compensation includes base + commission. Benefits include health insurance, vision/dental reimbursement and 4 weeks time-off.

If you feel that you or someone you know is interested in this opportunity please contact me on Linkedin, email me at [redacted] or call 847-xxx-xxxx and let Xxxxxxxx, our receptionist, know that you would like to speak with me.


Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx
*To qualify for the $500 incentive fee, the new hire must be fully employed for 6 months. Payment will be made after the 6 month period.

Email #2

Subject: WTF?

On 11/17/11 12:10 PM, Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx wrote:


Why Txxxxx Financial?

“One of the most important things for me when choosing a firm was their training program. The training program for Financial Advisors is incredible and has aided to my success as a financial advisor. Rxxx Txxxxx and other staff members were great mentors during my training and gave me the individual attention I was looking for.” – Financial Advisor

“Being a financial advisor has been rewarding for me both monetarily and personally, I am excited to continue to grow within the firm and am proud to be a part of team with such strong character.”- Financial Advisor

“The team dynamic here is amazing, I can honestly say that I look forward to coming to work every day. It is refreshing to be in an environment where you feel like you are truly contributing to the organization.” – Marketing team member

The Txxxxx Financial Group is a local financial planning firm, that is selective about who we recruit, simply put we select quality over quantity. We provide our advisors with the valuable resources they need in order to excel in their career.

Why Txxxxx Financial?

• Customized marketing support

• Thorough training program

• Mentoring from leading advisors and executives

• Lead generation support

• Competitive compensation + benefits

• Advisor support staff

• Strong technology platforms

Why Txxxxx Financial?

• Because you truly are a name not a number

• Because we care about our employees future

• Because we want you to excel both personally and professionally

• Because your opinion matters and we listen

• Because our advisors are not limited by products and can be true financial advisors.

Please let me know if you would be interested in this career opportunity. We are also offering a recruiting incentive, if you feel you are not right for this position and know of someone who is please connect them with us and you will be in the running for our $500 referral bonus.*

Warm Regards,

Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx

*$500 referral bonus will be rewarded to candidate after 6 months of employment at The Txxxxx Financial Group.


So obviously, the recruiter was trying to be clever with WTF? standing for “Why Txxxxx Financial?” Moreover, the emotion-grabbing headline did have the intended action step of having the email opened by my contact.

However, what my connection did next was unsubscribe from future contacts from this person and firm and then delete the email. He told me that he was furious about that particular hook and that he didn’t think it reflected well on a search professional or the firm.

While it is important to stand out from a crowd, you need to be thoughtful about how your use of emotional tactics and other tactics affect the customer’s perception of you and your company.  Some marketers may say that it’s ok that my contact unsubscribed because if he didn’t get it, he wasn’t an ideal client, but I disagree.  I think that the entire approach here from spamming people you don’t know through LinkedIn by writing something that seems inflammatory is a big marketing miss.


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