True story: Recently I received an email from someone I did not know, about a topic I am quite familiar... the subject line was: How to Create & Monitor Your Social Media. I, along with dozens of others - whose emails were displayed in the CC column NOT the BCC, were invited.
Turns out I likely met the sender at a conference. It seems to be common practice to add conference attendees to your email marketing list, with or without permission, which is why I received this invitation.
We can discuss the inaccuracies around doing that (really, just because we met over coffee at a conference, does not give you the right to automatically add me to your email list - that's called spam and I don't like it; it leaves a bad impression)... but today let's talk about this invitation to their social media seminar.
Let's discuss the fact that this invitation came from a complete unknown to me with no introduction allowing me to understand who the sender was, and why I might be interested. Social media in the subjectline was a good "come on" but it sets the stage for further information on that topic, which, in this case, was delivered in the description of the seminar, but did not tell me why the sender was qualified to present and left me wondering about why I had received this email (clearly the sender did not know me - else, why invite me to a social media seminar, when I give them myself?).
Further on in the email, I was offered a number of links. One link was to the seminar description which was ... well written, but not well-designed. Understand that this was an invitation to learn social media, an online, visual, interactive activity - and the page describing it was mainly text, no pictures, and poorly constructed. It appeared to be a bulleted word doc that was added to the website. No supporting information on why this person was qualified to offer the content, and no picture to remind me who it was.
Out of curiosity, I clicked the blog link (offered along with their twitter link, facebook page, and linkedin link in the left-hand sidebar) and was rewarded with a page of ... links to archives and other content. No real blog. Yet, in their services section, they offer to write MY blog for me. Hmm.....
At this point, as a social media professional, I am appalled. I am saddened that this otherwise good person has spammed me in my email box and then invited me to a seminar I'm not at all sure is supported by experience and expertise.
If you are planning to offer seminars, please make sure you don't spam the people you invite, please use the BCC if you have no real email marketing program, and please - make sure there are pictures on the website (of you, especially) and supporting content to show me that you are an expert in the topic you are asking me to pay money for. (the sender's pic was included in the bio section of the website, but that's not enough - I need to see it on the seminar page - along with some testimonials).
IF the sender who sent me this invitation is reading: yes, I saw the opt-out in the email, at the very bottom, but that's not enough. Politeness alone dictates that you (a) identify yourself and tell me how I know you, in the opening of your email, and (b) offer me the opt-out there, immediately, instead of forcing me to read to the bottom to find it.