AS WE NAVIGATE THE TURN FROM 2009 into a new and hopefully better year, here’s a little marketing advice from me and everyone like me: Stop trying to push e-mail at us.
In the overwhelming number of cases, we’re not interested. And you’re irritating the devil out of us.
For example, if you are a merchant e-mailing me at my current primary home mailbox, you had a 1-in-106 chance that I would open your e-mail in the first half of November. That’s actual. I did the math. And I’m not counting the two other private mailboxes I use to buffer my main one from garbage traffic. (Hello, Hotmail!)
Note, that doesn’t mean that I acted on offers after opening, just that I scanned them. For the messages I didn’t open, no such luck. I don’t use mail preview, so your time and effort were totally wasted.
I know because I wasted them. And you never knew about it. Every few days I save the personal e-mails I want to keep; the rest get terminated with extreme prejudice. Merchants I remember shopping with in the past get deleted. Those I don’t get the trusty “spam” hammer dropped. Sorry about the effect on your ranking with the ISPs. But then that’s not my problem, is it?
And let’s talk about how you got my e-mail address. Chances are excellent that I gave it because I wanted an order confirmation, or some Web content you wouldn’t let me see otherwise. I don’t consider either of those a promise to accept and open messages from you until the day I die.
For me, and for a growing number of consumers, push marketing of this type is no longer a viable channel. We don’t respond to messages that get fired out to thousands or millions of others just on the basis of a long-ago purchase; we want to choose how we can be reached.
And we are the people who vote in favor of Do Not E-mail registries. You don’t want that to happen and, deep down, neither do we, because it smacks of restricted speech. But we want this digital torrent reduced to a manageable stream.
Wise up in the new year, e-mailers. Play fair in building your lists. (Stop pre-checking!) Don’t mail to anything other than a true opt-in address; double opt-in is better. (Why are you afraid to ask more than once if I really want to hear from you?) Clean your lists of the sleepers who haven’t responded in months, or in some cases years. Give all your recipients a choice of frequency for your messages.
And for Pete’s sake, start doing some pull marketing. Do something creative to get me involved with your brand.