Email Marketing Tips from the FBI

Operation Seagull. Location confidential. Mission: Befriend targeted individual under the name seagull, and recruit as confidant for the U.S to gain internal information of the objected country.

Charles was sent on this mission to befriend this targeted individual. Before he could even approach the man he needed to have established psychological comfort. How was this done? Charles employed the Friendship formula. Write this down! Proximity+ Frequency+ Duration+ Intensity= Friendship.

Proximity is the distance from you and individual physically, or the exposure you have to that individual over time. Frequency is the number of contacts you have with another individual over time. Duration is the length of time you spend with another individual over time ( the more time you spend with an individual the more of an influence you will become to the person). Lastly, intensity is how strongly you are able to satisfy somebody’s psychological and physical needs by use of verbal & nonverbal behaviors. 

What does FBI work have to do with emailing? The employed tactic of the friendship formula goes beyond a mission and can be applied to all types of relationship-building even ones over email. Email campaigns are like FBI work. You are on a mission to hit a targeted group and ease the minds of the targeted individuals with friendly outreach tactics. The friendship formula applies to this job so much that you may have been already subconsciously doing it.


By sending emails you are working with proximity and building exposure so that the end-user becomes comfortable and more trusting seeing your brand. We are creatures that are more comfortable with what is known than the unknown. This is the move towards initial contact that provides awareness and familiarity. When a new stimulus is introduced to a person’s environment such as the email box, the brain is hardwired to determine if the stimulus is a threat. The person will neutralize contact if feeling threatened, but if contact is not perceived as a threat then you will become the object of curiosity. This curiosity will motivate the person to learn more about you.


Once exposure is enacted, frequency can be practiced depending on the response of the individual. This also includes measured and calculated outreach. There is a fine balance of too much contact that can feel like a little kid popping over your shoulder saying to “look at me” every 5 seconds. On the flip side, too little contact can put you in a long-forgotten wasteland. Hit that fine middle ground of remembrance that will keep the individual interested and curious. 


Duration is played by considering the length of the email or the amount of time the receiver engages with the email. Increased engagement over a long period of time shows interest. Also, the more time spent with an individual the more influence you have on them. Make that influence a positive one. 


Acting on intensity involves focusing on satisfying the needs of the individual, answering questions, getting them in contact with somebody who can assist them, or hearing out their needs with great customer service. Intensity calls for more direct and dynamic engagement, making the individual feel very special.

Overall Confidential Advice

Over time your emails can become an object of curiosity for prospects and customers depending on your balanced approach of the friendship formula. Just so you know, Charles was successful on his mission employing this approach with the friendship formula and you can be too.

Operation email campaign. Location office. Mission: Enact friendship formula to gain greater email marketing results. Mission starts now! 

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