Your Email Marketing Sucks
Email marketing can be a great way to reach out to and stay in touch with your subscribers in order to make them aware of news, ideas, tips, sales, new services and opportunities they might be interested in. The list goes on. In fact, there are probably more reasons to have an email marketing program than reasons not to have an email marketing program. The problem lies in lack of education, greed and perhaps general ignorance on the part of the marketer.
Below you will see our scathing list of reasons why your email marketing sucks. If this doesn’t apply to you, because you either don’t do email marketing, or you do email marketing in such a way that follows industry best practices, then I’m sure you might be able to forward this post to someone you know. In any case, feel free to contribute other items to the list in the comments below this post. We write this more in the hope to see this trend change rather than to complain, but sometimes things need to be brought to light.
As unfortunate as it may be, I must first lead with the fact that the worst offenders tend to be those marketers who insist on breaking rule #1, which prevents emails that suck from being sent in the first place. Therefore, I will preface this list with the assumption that I’ve already been added to an email list to which I do not wish to be subscribed.
A final word before the list…this will be brash, honest and fueled with the very attitude your subscribers may have toward your email marketing.
Your email marketing sucks because:
1. You don’t provide double opt-in.
Double opt-in means that after the subscription (whether you subscribe me against my will or I subscribe willingly) I should receive an email confirming my subscription containing a link that I must click on prior to being added to your list. This process is necessary to prevent you or others from signing me up for your list without my permission.
The next several items relate to being able to unsubscribe.
They are tedious, particular and NECESSARY to discuss.
2. You don’t provide an unsubscribe option.
This is by far the most arrogant offense in my book! It works like this: You decide unilaterally that me and all the other email addresses you could buy, find or steal should hear your marketing message whether we like it or not. You send your non-targeted, irritatingly long and uninteresting spam with remarkable regularity. Do you write this drab content yourself or is it purchased from the lowest bidder?
3. Your unsubscribe link is difficult to find.
You include an unsubscribe link, but it is buried in a large block of text, and without reading the large block of text, it is almost indistinguishable. This is a very irritating practice as it almost assumes that nobody would ever want to quickly unsubscribe, but rather they should seriously consider it and it if they must leave your mailing list, it should be an afterthought.
4. You have a “manage your communication preferences” link instead of an unsubscribe link.
This assumes that I want you to continue to communicate with me in some form. Using this language in the footer of your email is a red flag and a sure way to get me to click the “add to spam” button on your email. If I don’t want email from you, it is pretty certain I also didn’t bother taking care in creating a username and password for your site that I planned to remember. In cases like this, I just make it easy on myself: Congratulations, you just made my junk mail list!
5. Your unsubscribe link takes me to a page that asks me to login to “my account”!
Similar to #4, this one is particularly insidious. This is a flat out rejection letter from your figurative ‘unsubscribe department’. This tells me that if I want to unsubscribe, I better work for it. It puts the burden on me, when you are the problem. If I don’t want email from you, I certainly don’t want to give you the satisfaction of signing into your website, where I might get distracted from my intent to unsubscribe from your mind-numbing email blasts!
6. You make me enter my email address instead of removing me immediately.
This is 2011! If you don’t know exactly who I am when I click your unsubscribe link, you should have never been emailing me in the first place. When you make me enter my email address when I click the unsubscribe link, it is further validation for my decision. It provides proof of an unsophisticated email marketing approach. One-click instant removal is the only acceptable result of clicking the unsubscribe link. Optionally, I find it completely acceptable to show a confirmation page with language similar to: “You have been unsubscribed, you will no longer receive our email messages. Was this a mistake? You may reenter your email address below to resubscribe instantly!”
7. You make questions pertaining to why I want to unsubscribe mandatory.
Let’s assume it was a hassle to unsubscribe to your list in the first place. Not only do I have to click the link to unsubscribe, but I also have to return to the email I unsubscribed to in order to delete it. It is an unpleasant process to begin with. Don’t extend it, don’t irritate me further and certainly do not penalize me by requiring a mandatory response prior to accepting my unsubscribe request.
8. You don’t engage me.
Your email messages do not ask me what I think, they don’t solicit my expertise, my opinion or a response of any kind. Your messages are one way broadcasts that are all about you. In today’s world of social dialogue, the end goal is a sale, conversation or recommendation and you have this power in your hands already! But rather than engaging me in a conversation via email, which could lead to a phone conversation or an in-person visit you ask me to follow you on Twitter? Are you kidding me?
9. You don’t pay the price.
Let’s say you’re one of the lucky few I let come to my inbox monthly, weekly or even daily–and I’ve been subscribed for years. Am I not your best potential referral source? Would I not be able to sing your praises louder than anyone else? If you answered yes, you’re right. Since that’s true, why not offer something of great value that your longest running subscribers would appreciate. A free gift, an exclusive of some sort or maybe even an event or party in their honor. Think outside the email box, make connections and make them count!
10. Your content sucks!
Finally, if your content is simply no good and you’re emailing me for the sake of consistency alone, please just stop now. Don’t bother. We’re not reading it anyway! Hire a great copywriter, write something yourself from the heart or simply share something new. Break your vicious cycle of boredom distribution right now. Send a worthwhile message and we’ll read it.