Your Last Email From Xxxx

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, April 16, 2015
This week I received an email from a company whose content I really enjoy. More than that – since I am in contact with many brands who would benefit from using this company’s service, I have referred clients to them over the past year. But to my dismay (as a subscriber), I received the following email from them this week:

Subject Line: Your last email from Brandname

Hey there

We noticed you haven't opened one of our emails in a while. As we always strive to ensure we're only sending emails that are useful, we're going to stop sending our blog articles and company updates to you.

If you want to keep getting our emails, you can do so by clicking here which will ensure you don't miss out.

Also, if you have any feedback for me on our posts or general marketing, please hit reply and let me know – I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks and take care,

I have a few issues with this kind of tactic. To me, this is a perfect example of a brand drinking the Kool-Aid and blindly following so-called best practices, but without fully thinking through the potential consequences or how it makes the customer feel.

Firstly, as a recipient of this email, I felt they were saying that I'm not capable of unsubscribing myself -- which is kind of an insult. Many things are taken out of your hands these days where you don't have control. But the one place I like to think that I have control is in my inbox. Because that's what it is: my inbox, not theirs. Surely I have the power to say who does and who doesn't appear there? 

Potential Impact? I get offended, let them unsubscribe me, and I forget about them and stop referring clients to them.  Of course, if this was a B2C brand, unless I was extremely loyal to them (which would make me more upset that they’ve unsubscribed me), I would stop seeing their offers and taking advantage of them. Bottom line: This affects the brand’s revenue.

Life comes in ebbs and flows. Sometimes I'll open an email if something is relevant, and other times I won't. I can guarantee that I won't EVER open and read all of this company’s emails. But when I'm on the hunt for a good content and the time is right, then I know that they're sitting and waiting for me in my inbox to discover and enjoy.

I can also guarantee that I will NEVER find their content within my inbox if they stop sending it to me.

I feel this is a very short-sighted tactic, as it doesn’t take into account that although I may not be actively opening and reading this company’s emails, I still get visibility of their brand in my inbox, so that they will be top of mind when I am thinking of a solution for a client.

Also, I found this company once (potentially at a cost) and if they remove themselves from my inbox then they may end up paying for me again.

Whilst this tactic may be suited for brands that use opt-out marketing, for those who have gained permission, I believe it needs to be carefully thought out before implementing (if at all). The reality is that if subscribers have given your company permission to market to them and you know that you are providing valuable content, information and offers -- then hold strong and understand that when the time is right, customers will start interacting with you.

We need to look at this from a longitudinal view rather than an immediate view.

Your emails within an inbox have an impact,  whether subscribers open them or not.  Think back to when you last deleted an email. You not only looked at the subject line, but also the sender before deleting it, right? Did the fact that you deleted it mean that you don’t want to hear from the sender ever again? Or did it mean that what they had to offer you wasn’t of interest to you at that particular time? I regularly ask my marketer students this, and they all agree it’s the latter.

So if you have a great email programme (as these providers do), then be confident in it, and assume your subscribers are fully capable of unsubscribing themselves if they so desire.

4 comments about "Your Last Email From Xxxx".
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  1. Heather MacLean from TaylorMade Solutions, April 17, 2015 at 6:46 a.m.

    I have also received this email and similar to you it bothered me. It just felt salesy and self-important to me. 

    While I enjoy the products of this company, I didn't enjoy that email.

  2. Christine Demasi from Wine Enthusiast, April 17, 2015 at 9:53 a.m.

    This is an interesting perspective.  We are constantly hearing that we shouldn't send to unresponsive email addresses because it negatively impacts deliverability.  Are you suggesting that no matter how long an email address is unresponsive, they should still receive email campaigns?

  3. patricia caldwell from freeland earth, April 17, 2015 at 9:59 p.m.

    1. Its a blessing you know inspirational.

  4. Kath Pay from Holistic Email Marketing, April 21, 2015 at 6:50 a.m.

    Hi Christine,

    This is always a controversial subject. My belief (from having been a deliverability expert as well as being a marketer) is that UNLESS you have a problem with high unsubscribes and/or high spam complaints, then you shouldn't need to take action to remove the inactives from your list. Particularly so IF you don't have a single customer view of your subscribers i.e. if you aren't able to match their online AND offline purchases with your email database, then you don't know if you're removing a subscriber who buys regularly from you but doesn't open or click your emails, but is instead motivated by your subject line to go to another channel. 

    The UK DMA, when survey consumers, found that that 35% of consumers will go to the website via another route (i.e. not click) and 30% will go directly to shop -t his report is called the Email Tracking Report 2014.

    Massimo of Mailup wrote a good roundup of a panel from EEC this year in which Outlook themselves, said to not remove inactives - as you're leaving money on the table. However, Gmail recommends a ramping down tactic with asking the BIG question after you've tried everything (and assuming you have a single customer view)

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