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Six Email Worst-Practices: How to Send Your Emails to Your Customer's Trash

by Dan Hanrahan  |  
February 16, 2017

You've Got (Tons of) Mail

More than 205 billion emails are sent out every day; email is the glue that helps clever marketing stick. Some 72% of US adults say they prefer that companies communicate with them through email, and 91% say they'd like to receive promotional emails from the companies they do business with. And companies oblige: 73% of them agree that email is a core part of their marketing efforts, while 25% rate it as their top channel for ROI.

But many otherwise-savvy marketers are misusing email, turning to tactics that annoy and infuriate customers. Avoid these six faux pas to ensure you don't annoy your way into the Trash folder.

1. Blast the E-Blast

"E-blast: A ridiculous non-word made up by marketing people who think the term 'e-mail' is inadequate to describe the explosive excitement of their mass e-mails." —Someone named Sarah N., April 22, 2008

Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all approach to email. Crafting one message and shooting it off to your entire list each week in hopes it'll resonate with the multiple personalities you provide services to just won't work anymore. Few things in life are more irritating than receiving a batch email, only to realize any prior communication with the company has meant nothing—you're just an entry on a spreadsheet.

Customers who sense you don't care will delete, ignore, or—worse still—unsubscribe.

And the negative connotations the term holds make us marketers wary of it, too. E-blasts cut a little too close to our collective insecurities in the marketing industry. They imply we're launching a bunch of spam-filled emails across an unsuspecting list of contacts. I'll skip shifting into email marketing therapist mode, but I'm confident I'm not the first marketer who's taken serious offense at the notion that someone, at one point, thought I sounded even the slightest bit spammy.

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Dan Hanrahan is founder and CEO of email signature marketing tool Sigstr, which makes it simple for marketers to take control of branding and marketing in the employee email signature.

Linkedin: Dan Hanrahan

Twitter: @danhanrahan8

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  • by Tim Rank Tue Feb 21, 2017 via web

    Great article, great tips! I deal with a guy whose signature is -- not kidding -- an entire printed page.

  • by Ann Handley Wed Feb 22, 2017 via web

    Tim: I'd really love to see that.... if you feel like sharing it with me via email!

  • by Phoebe King Wed Feb 22, 2017 via web

    Great article!
    Tim, I'd really like to see that signature, as well.

  • by Expressly Thu Feb 23, 2017 via web

    Thanks for the great article, Dan. There are some great tips here.

    Personalisation is a great way to create effective emails but, of course, this can be tricky. Our solution helps marketers to create personalised emails through knowing which other similar products the lead has expressed an interest in elsewhere. This helps the marketer to send emails with great offers on products that the mail recipient has recently expressed an interest in.

    As I'm sure you know, emails with real value can be extremely effective and likely to drive customers acquisition and additional revenue rather than just being consigned to trash.

  • by Wendy Glavin Sat Feb 25, 2017 via mobile

    Great read! Email blasts are hard because no matter how hard I try to customize without templates, they're still delivered in a box using Constant Contact. I've tried Mail Chimp but there's no call line. What email service do you recommend? Thanks!

  • by Christine P Wed Mar 1, 2017 via web

    Thank you for sharing your opinion,Dan

    There are many useful tips in it indeed.I disagree with the idea to skip "excessive number of social sites, every phone number you've ever been reachable at, inspirational quotes, and, of course, your email address".In my blog post "Blog promotion.Advertise your Blog."on Customerso I share my points of view about the useful details that I believe are good to be included in the marketing e-mails,without being annoying.I think many people delete the marketing e-mails because of the following reasons:

    1)The e-mail is not relevant.They are not interested about this topic,because their e-mail somehow was included in the targeting e-mail of the marketer Jim,Cristine,etc. [Segmentation & selection of the audience]
    2)The customers delete or as you suggested-Remove/delete or/and Unsubscribe e-mails , because sometimes is annoyng to receive e-mails for pretty much the same thing .How many e-mails about SEO do you have in your mail box and how many you just skip& delete, without even opening? [Spammy]
    3)The frequently sent e-mails ,especially if they have a title , similar to "Hi,[no name] I invented the Hot water this morning and you're the Chosen One to learn How and Why" kill the good intentions of many marketers to show up to the audience when there's something really interesting to be read.[Blast the e-Blast]

    It's surprising still these days in some even famous companies work "marketers" who represent a business and don't bother to put their names on the bottom or in the beginning.Sometimes I reply on such e-mails with "Hi,Anonimous...."

    Thanks again for the useful tips and shared point of view.


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