A couple of weeks ago, in a comment on my post about pitching, Helena in Finland asked if she could use the email addresses she finds in the ‘cc:’ field of a friend’s forwarded joke to promote her business. Since it’s a question that comes up from time to time, I thought I’d talk about it here.
It is absolutely not appropriate to hijack email addresses just because they are there. If you want to use the addresses you find through someone else’s message, you must first ask permission of the person whose list it was if you can reach out to their list.
Then and only then can you send to those people. When you do, you should send a personalized message to each one – not a bulk email message – and begin by telling them how you got their email address. Then go on to describe (briefly and concisely) what you do and what your request of them is.
Here is an example:
Dear Blank, I got your name through my colleague, Jane Smith, and I am writing in the hopes that you will be interested in my business.
Here’s what I do: (spell out how you help people).
If that is of interest to you, please reply to this message and I will forward additional details. Or, you can find those details on the web here: (insert your web address).
I do hope we can do business together at some point.
Optimistically, blah blah blah…
Hope this answers the question!