Six Ways To Screw Up A Customer Email

Working with email as much as I do, I’m encouraged to see so many people doing the right things:

  • Getting explicit permission
  • Providing valuable, relevant communications
  • Building trust; treating subscribers like people (and not like numbers)
  • (the list goes on)

So when I get a marketing email from someone who isn’t doing these things, someone who’s doing all sorts of harm to their brand by breaking some of the “rules” (intentionally or not) of good email marketing, it hurts. As an email marketer, I find messages like this frustrating and offensive.

But rather than fume or shake my head about it, I figured it’d be helpful to show what they’ve done wrong, and how you can do better.

The Offending Email

Click the image below to see an email I received recently:

Bad Email

Note: the sender is a company that I purchased from on eBay last month. Names and other potentially identifying information have been blacked out to protect the… well, not the innocent, that’s for sure. Maybe the ill-advised?

Let’s Look At The Problems With This Email

  • They created and sent this email from their own computer, and simply added all of the recipients into the BCC field. While I did receive this message, sending out in this manner doesn’t bode well for their long-term email deliverability.
  • Typing the word “free” as F*R*E*E*. Again, this particular message happened to get to me, but you’re begging to get content filtered by putting unnecessary punctuation in your words (spammers do this). Plus it looks awful.
  • Order Now text is not a clickable link. How am I supposed to order? If you don’t want me to click that text, what do you want me to click? Don’t make me guess…
  • Gigantic whitespace after the sig file, clearly designed to hide the unsubscribe instructions.
  • Unsubscribe section starts out with “This is not spam. Our intent is not to spam.”

    Guess what? Even if I didn’t think they were spamming me before, you can bet I do now — why else would they put that? Seems clear that people have been calling them spammers. But instead of fixing their emails, they get defensive.

    Also worth noting here: they’re forcing me to unsubscribe by replying to the email. This is highly unreliable. What if my email back to them gets filtered? Or what if they just miss it?

  • No physical address.

    Aside from CAN-SPAM implications, this just makes me trust them even less. Are they afraid of me paying them a visit? (And if so, why? What does that say about how they do business?) They could easily put a P.O. Box.

You Can Do Better Than This

Don’t be like this company.

I can tell you that while I’m very happy with the product I bought from them, I won’t be doing business with them again. This email leaves such an awful taste in my mouth (especially the shady whitespace, lack of postal address and giant screaming F*R*E*E*) that I think they’d have been better off not emailing me at all.

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