Why Are You Emailing Me?

I’m a sucker for email list opt-ins offering good content, coupons or insiders’ info on upcoming promotions. But, to every marketer’s dismay, about twice a year my annoyance with an overload of emails goes into overdrive, leading to an opt-out rampage.

But I opted in, so that means I care to read everything that company wants me to know, right? WRONG!

Any company, consumer or B2B, using e-marketing as a tool for communicating with customers needs to learn how to effectively self-edit. A strong distribution list of opt-in customers is a priceless asset, but let’s not forget how easy it is to lose the interest you once had — and never get it back.

Why does this happen? For me, there are two main offenses: 1) Sending too many emails too close together; and 2) Sending me emails for insignificant reasons.

To illustrate my point, I’m going to pick on two companies I really like — but really dislike their e-blast strategy.

Culprit #1: Ann Taylor LOFT
Offense: Sending too many emails too often

LOFT is one of my favorite clothing stores, but a few months ago I opted out of their list because my inbox was getting flooded with several emails per day. Yes, per day. I can’t imagine that there’s a girl in this world who cares to receive an individual email about every item’s percentage off and how it fluctuates throughout the week.

Lesson Learned: For B2B companies, it’s unlikely that email distribution reaches that extreme, but it is important to think about all the different reasons emails are being sent — and ensure there’s not too much overlap in the same timeframe. For example, if an e-newsletter is scheduled to go out around the same time as a promotional e-blast and a more pertinent business update, space them out. This coordination is especially important if different departments have access to the same list.

Culprit #2: World Market
Offense: Sending me emails for insignificant reasons. Last week, I received an email about coffee being on sale for $7.99. I also received one about buying three scone mixes and getting a free jar of jam. I signed up for World Market emails because I love their home décor and am interested in the coupons they send. But with all the emails about small, random products, I’m strongly considering opting out to help clear my inbox.

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An e-blast about scones? Why?!

Lesson Learned: All marketing departments should carefully consider why they’re sending each email. Make sure the content is highly relevant to the audience. Don’t just think about what you, as a marketer, want your audience to know — think about what they, as a valued customer, are interested in. As more and more companies turn to email as a cost-effective way of reaching customers, list segmentation and targeted content is becoming increasingly important.

These lessons may seem like no-brainers, but every day I’m astounded by the big brands making textbook mistakes. I know the temptation of throwing an e-blast into the mix is sometimes hard to resist, but remember, you don’t want to fall victim to an opt-out rampage.

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