EMAIL QUALITY ALWAYS MEANS MORE THAN QUANTITY

There’s a company from which I’ve been buying products off and on for the better part of three decades. I bought when they were primarily a catalog marketer, and kept buying after they made the move online. I don’t buy a lot from them — maybe something once every three or four years — but enough so they continue to stay in contact.

But I’m about to break off that contact and press the evil unsubscribe button. Why? Because whoever is in charge of their online marketing strategy seems to believe that the best way to maintain my loyalty is to stuff my emailbox with email after email — and the frequency keeps increasing.

I don’t think I’ve read one of those emails in the past six months. I’m in that limbo where I’m bored enough to delete the messages, but not ticked off enough to unsubscribe. But I’m getting close. There are a couple other companies with whom I’ve done business that also overwhelm me. And in both cases, I’ve pushed that magical unsubscribe button. Multiple times, yet. But even though they’ve included the mechanism to allow unsubscribes, they don’t see them through.

From a marketing and customer-satisfaction standpoint, those are terrible practices. And if you practice those practices, you can expect to lose business. They’re the online equivalent of the rude employee or the slow service that didn’t bring complaints — but that led customers to never return to your doors.

I would be less inclined to criticize company #1 if the emails were meaningful, interesting, or even different each time, but they’re the same overblown sales message. The next one may push me over the edge, and that company will see a 30-year customer relationship disappear.

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