Brands everywhere are embracing customer-centricity, but many relics of brand-centric thinking are still out there. This is definitely the case in email marketing, where we often vilify inbox providers and second-guess our subscribers’ intentions and intelligence.
As we approach the New Year, let’s resolve to focus more on serving our subscribers instead of trying to manipulate them, and to focus more on respecting our subscribers’ intelligence instead of insulting it.
Here are six email marketing manipulations that we should stop in 2017:
1. Using passive-aggressive email signup and opt-out language
Implying that people are lazy or stupid if they’re not interested in receiving your email newsletter is no way to start a relationship. And implying the same on your unsubscribe page if they go to opt out is a horrible way to try to keep a relationship.
Even if this kind of language shocks people into thinking twice about closing out your pop-up form or completing your unsubscribe process, trying to guilt and shame prospects and customers is a sure-fire way to do damage to your brand and generate negative word of mouth.
2. Mandatory email opt-ins with purchase
Obtaining permission is fundamental to email marketing success. So it shocks me that there are still many large, established brands that are making email opt-ins mandatory as part of their checkout process.
Not only do you risk spam complaints by sending customers emails they didn’t ask for, but you create additional barriers and pain points in your checkout process and other customer interactions. Simply put, if every time I purchase from you online I get spammed, then I either have to put up with that annoyance or I have to stop buying from you online.
That’s a calculus you don’t want your customers to have to do because it results in consumers who are frustrated, who shun your online channel, or who stop buying from you altogether. This can be difficult to prove and track, but brands need to start caring more about their brand than the size of their email list.
3. Hiding behind people’s names to obscure our brand
When it comes to promotional emails, brand names are far more recognizable than the names of the people who work at those brands — although, yes, there are some rare exceptions, and one-to-one emails are an entirely different matter. With all the recent talk about human-to-human marketing, this fact has gotten a bit lost.
For email marketers, being recognized in the inbox is critical, as emails from unknown senders are at high risk of being reported as spam. More consumers look at the from name first before anything else , so your email could be banished before even your subject line gets read.
If you’re tempted to use a person’s name instead of your brand’s, ask yourself why. Is it because you’re afraid people don’t want to hear from your brand? Is it because you think more people will open the email because they’re curious to learn who the heck is emailing them? Answering yes to either of those should cause some serious introspection on your brand’s image and marketing strategy.