There is a printing company which provided me a quote at least five years ago. Unfortunately not a month goes by that I don’t receive exactly the same email asking if I have any more printing projects for them. The content of this email hasn’t changed by a single comma in the last half decade, and it will likely continue that way until time immemorial. Then there is the company who has been sending me emails in Chinese since 2008. I got tired of emailing them that I don’t read that language around 2011 but they still keep on coming. Maybe I should send them the notice in Chinese? As an email marketer you have to ask yourself if you’re providing real value to your customers or just irritating junk folder fodder!

6 emails a week celebrating just about anything

There is a technology retailer which barrages my inbox six (yes six!!!) times a week with their latest “sale” festooned with huge color photos and graphics. You have to hand it to them as they never fail to come up with a new commemoration to mark their newsletter. So when Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Grad Day, Kids’ Day, and Pets’ Day are used up they might hit you up with Wild Gecko Day or Unmatched Socks Day. Fair enough that just about everything is open season when you’re trying to come up with about 300 newsletters a year, but it’s the actual content of the emails which is troublesome. Their “fantastic” sales are usually ten bucks off a $200 Solid State Drive or $20 off a laptop. Whoopdeedoo!

A preheader three card monte game

This company has to be listed among the undisputed masters of microcontent, managing to squeeze in at least three items within the first 50 characters, and that’s what really opened my eyes a while back. In one of their countless emails they had a hard drive listed in the preheader at approximately $70. This is a drive with a street price of about $150, so I figured that after all these years of scanning through these emails in search of a real deal I’d actually found it. However nothing could have been further from the truth as it turned out to be wrong. The drive was on sale for about $70 off the normal price of around $220 (yeah, like anyone has ever been stupid enough to pay that much for it) but was on “sale” for close to $150. Wow, what a big sale and equally big three card monte game through the preheader!

Not even deign a reply

You can certainly claim that mistakes will happen and we’re all human after all. It doesn’t even matter much that this is one of the leading tech retailers whose subscription list has to number in the millions and you’d figure that they would have a proofreader go through every character before they send so that the “savings” is not listed as the “price.” But that’s not the really bad part. When I fired off an email to their customer support politely asking for a clarification on the price guess what I received back? Nothing! A month later and not a peep. Not a single “we regret it was an error,” “thank you for being our customer,” or even “go take a long walk off a short pier, moron!”

I’m not the kind of subscriber who gets pushed to the point where I hit the Spam button. I respectfully unsubscribe when the marketer allows me to. (And no, the printing company and the Chinese language sender have never included any unsubscribe function and have always ignored my pleading by email.) But they’re fairly small businesses so I’m willing to overlook their fallacies. When it comes to the big tech retailer which is indisputably among the top five in their category in the country (and possibly the world), to deny your customers the common courtesy of a reply is nothing short of rude, unforgivable, and against every imaginable best practice in the email marketing industry. My finger is on the Spam button. Should I? Should I?