Email Sandpits: Five Of The Worst Things You Can Do

This reporter rarely opts out of anything, resulting in a severely cluttered inbox. But occasionally I get fed up with emails that attempt to sell me something I’ve already bought, with newsletters that have a paywall when I click through to articles or with emails that lead me to sites that are impossible to navigate.

So I try to unsubscribe. This is a very unscientific method for a study of bad email practices.

Fortunately, email expert Chad S. White recently conducted a more rigorous analysis. He signed up for 100 emails, and wrote an article in CMS Wire on his experiences. Here’s what he encountered — and what he thinks brands should do to avoid these problems:

  1. Signup Forms Are Often Hard to Find — Boost your promotional email signups by placing a signup form on your homepage footer, White suggests. 
  2. Too Many Ask For Phone Numbers — First, get the email address and don’t ask for multiple forms of contact information. White urges you to ask for mobile numbers post sign-up. And if you get them, don’t barrage the people with texts. (Opting out of texts is another problem). 
  3. Unclear and Misleading Signup Commitments — Some signups are for loyalty programs and not for email marketing. But that isn’t always clear — as White writes, “it’s usually impossible to know what you’re signing up for.” The result is higher unsubscribe rates soon after signup.  
  4. Dead-End Confirmation and Preference Pages — Brands often fail to follow up when consumers raise their hands. Signup pages should not just end with a confirmation. Ask yourself: What are the two or three valuable things a new subscriber can do? 
  5. DOI Increasingly Used — Only eight of the 100 brands signed up for by white offered a double opt-in. White concludes: “Make sure you’re selectively using tools like CAPTCHA, double-entry confirmation and DOI to protect your brand and email deliverability.   



Got all that? As for me, I am going to unsubscribe from all emails that violate these rules — if I can find them in my inbox. 

The full Chad S. White article is here. 

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