Readers reply: does spam email actually work?

<span>Photograph: JLGutierrez/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: JLGutierrez/Getty Images

Does spam email actually work? I don’t mean dodgy phishing emails, but the annoying ads and sales pitches. Presumably the answer is yes, otherwise the spammers wouldn’t bother, but I find it hard to believe. Ali Farhan, Manchester

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Readers reply

Hang on a mo, I’ll just email 300 million people to ask. ElCommentario

It works better than doing nothing – which is the secret of all marketing. OneAnotherName

There are different kinds of spam. The more targeted kinds (eg an email from a company you have shopped with before, letting you know they have a sale on) can work really well, because it is telling people something they might well be interested in and that might lead to sales. Something that is totally spurious, or not well-targeted, will work less well.

However, the reason companies use emails like this is because it is super cheap. They can send thousands of emails for a few quid. It only takes a fraction of people to respond to make it worthwhile. For many of them, if one in a thousand people who receive an email buys something, they will make a profit off it. In the meantime, everyone’s inboxes suffer. SnowyJohn

I work in a sales role and send out what you may call spam emails. (This is in the business-to-business sales space.) There’s a craft behind this. I don’t reach out unless there’s some sort of reason and think there’s something we can help with. That’s done by looking at what sort of roles the company has, the type of tech and assessing their growth. The email is personalised; I mix it up with calls and also include videos of me reviewing their website, which I embed in emails.

It definitely works. Does everyone respond? Absolutely not. Some will show an interest, but there’s a time gap where they’ll have a conversation. However, that’s part of the emailing. To rule people in or out. Should they choose not to be contacted anymore, then don’t contact them again. Conorb2020

Related: My inbox is piling up with spam again and my email doppelgänger is to blame | Shelley Hepworth

I really don’t get people who take any notice of spam, or people in the street selling stuff. I ignore everyone and do my own research if I need to purchase anything. I may be missing out on countless bargains, but I will take my chances. BabylonianSheDevil03

My inbox is almost unusable due to to emails from businesses I like and have previously purchased from. I get at least two emails a month from a company that sells belts. How many quality belts can you buy? I might buy another one in five years time, but not from that annoying spammer. Megaroads

Last week’s N&Q was about beans and this week’s is about spam. Next Sunday, will it be mushrooms? Fried onion rings? You’ll have to wait and see ... EddieChorepost

I particularly despise those who have an “unsubscribe” button that doesn’t actually work. They quickly go to the top of my banned list. ozjosh

Avoiding spam is a great way to fritter away your time. bricklayersoption