In his latest Email Insider column, Loren McDonald says he's a firm believer that email is the marketing channel most able to adapt to shifting modes of communication, even as we trade the desktop computer for the handheld and the inbox for the personal page on the hot new social network.
However, he says, the email channel is still plagued with marketers bent on ruining email’s good reputation by ignoring best practices and doing business like it’s 1999 all over again.
So, if your email programs look like the below examples from his hall-of-shame Stupid Email Tricks, you’re one of those marketers who are holding us back from keeping email as a trusted channel for consumers and on the front lines of communication innovation:
The Unsolicited Surprise Trick: Why, a decade after email has proved itself as a viable marketing channel, is this an issue? Because I still get emails sent to an address that clearly was scraped off my company Web site. Or take this token stab at transparency with this explanation about why the email’s in my inbox: “Your subscription was initiated because you requested it, you’ve attended one of our seminars, we’ve had some professional contact, or someone you know forwarded it to you.” Yeah, that will help instill the trust that’s so key in our relationship with our customers.
The Pestering-Email Trick: Your CFO, who signs your paycheck, tells you to send more email because it’s cheap and you’re a long way from meeting your quarterly numbers. Your customers have said they only want to hear from you once a week. Who’s gonna win? Probably not your customers — who will get fed-up being bombarded and opt out in droves,
The Portable-Permission Trick: OK, so you actually get permission from subscribers for Newsletter A. But you then launch Email B and C and automatically add Newsletter A subscribers to these new lists. “Heck, why start from scratch or get permission from our existing subscribers when it’s so easy to add them to a new list?” Well, because they didn’t ask for your new newsletters. Don’t be surprised if subscribers suddenly opt out of all of your emails and hit the spam complaint button — causing an ISP to block all of your emails.
The Exclamation-Syndrome Trick: What’s wrong with this subject line? “Save up to 50% & Get Free Shipping!” The exclamation point is not needed and makes the email look spammy. That’s all it takes to prompt your recipient to click the spam button even on your permission email. Email is not direct mail - you don’t need to shout to get people to open it. Email Marketing 101 lesson? Don’t use “free” and “!” together in the subject line — that double combo may get you filtered.
The Old Bait-and-Switch Trick: You entice people to download your white paper or a “partner’s offer,” or similar promotion. Then. after they complete the form to receive what you got them interested in, you tell them, “By the way, like it or not, you’ve now just agreed to receive emails from us or our partners.” Ugh, hey folks, thanks for the gift, but guess what - I’ll never visit your site again or trust anything you say. Say adios to your brand.
Source: Email Insider blog