My father once said people who are polite in person are rude when driving because they have the anonymity of the car. Someone who would never cut in front of you in line at the bank, he argued, would cut you off in traffic without batting an eye because of this anonymity.
I think about his comment when confronted with rude drivers, but also when confronted with certain email marketing messages. At times, it seems as if email marketers take the car approach, doing things via email they wouldn’t do in person.
For example, companies show up in my inbox when I don’t know them, and I haven’t given them permission to email me. Others email me every day, assuming I want to hear from them daily without asking my frequency preference first. Still others trick me into opening an email by using a misleading subject line or pretending to be from a friend of mine. Most email marketers wouldn’t do things like this if emailing someone personally, but some are fine with doing them protected by the anonymity of their corporate identity. The email marketing software they use becomes their equivalent of a car.
Is that really how we want our email marketing services to operate?
Probably not. So let’s choose to be Nice instead of Naughty when we’re in the inbox.
To make sure you’re getting more checks in the Nice column than the Naughty one, let’s do a quick review of some of the common courtesies some email marketers forget to adhere to, to make sure you’re not committing any of them. Below are my top four Naughtys I see committed in my own inbox on a regular basis. Are you guilty of any of these?
- Naughty Number 1: Requiring a login to unsubscribe
- Naughty Number 2: Not using a real Reply To email address
- Naughty Number 3: Sending to people who didn’t ask you to send them anything
- Naughty Number 4: Tricking people into opening your email with misleading subject lines and/or From names
If you are—or even think you might be—cease and desist and meet with your team to figure out a Nice alternative to your current Naughty. If you’re requiring a login to unsubscribe, change the process to a user friendly one, for example. And if you’re being tricky—at all—replace that trickery with honesty. Immediately. Make sure your ESP solution and email processes err on the side of Nice each and every visit to someone’s inbox.