I have to admit, over the last few years I have subscribed to a LOT of lists. I have studied, learned and consumed more content than the average person probably does in a lifetime.
Some of the lists that I am on, keep me really engaged and I love to read and hear from those individuals. Others are more like a honeymoon gone bad. They are okay for a bit and then they get downright annoying.
DISCLOSURE: I am not an internet marketing billionaire, the opinions of what irritates me are 100% my own.
I do believe that it is my responsibility to build trust and value for the people who choose to be part of my community in any way – whether you sign up for my Free Tool Kit, you like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter… you get it.
Here are some ways I think email marketing can jeopardize your ability to really connect and add value for the community you are trying to serve:
1. Promoting a different affiliate partner every fricken week. That’s right, every week you are trying to sell someone else’s program and you are making it sound like this is a life saving opportunity that you are providing me with. This kind of reminds me of 1980’s style multilevel marketing. It’s kind of gross and no none really loves it.
If you are going to be an affiliate—choose with care, and only endorse people you know will offer extreme value to your list. For example: I regularly talk about my friend Christine Kane—I am NOT an affiliate—I am a girlfriend who loves her work and believes it can add value to your life. That’s why I talk about her… that’s it.
2. Campaigning all the time: “buy my stuff, buy my stuff!!!” Stop it! If it’s not your last affiliate partner’s program you are trying to sell me, it is your own. I get it, I make money on the web too but I am also sensitive to when enough is enough. You didn’t sign up for my BUY MY STUFF LETTER, you signed up for my newsletter. I’d like to always have a way that you can take it further by working with me in that newsletter, but I also get that you don’t want me emailing you my “closed for the season, absolute last chance to buy this widget” every day.
Less can be more.
3. Emailing me or Direct Messaging me on Social networks to sell me before you have even said hello. Don’t email me on Facebook or direct message me on Twitter if we have never had any type of conversation and invite me to your next event or to buy your stuff. It’s just not cool, it actually makes you look desperate.
4. Stealing my email address and adding me to your list without my permission. This applies to finding it on my website and feeling like just because you subscribed to my content I should be forced to subscribe to yours…. or to meeting me at a networking event and thinking that when you ask for my card it is blanket permission to add me to your list.
It’s not, please don’t. This makes you look like an amateur.
5. Sharing my email with your affiliate buddies. I know this happens because I have received email in my inbox from a very very well known internet marketer signed by another very well known internet marketer whose list I was not on. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Sloppy error and definite list sharing. Not cool but at least I know who does it.
6. If I do buy something from you, and I email you with any type of problem, you need to reply as quickly as you would if I was asking about buying. I don’t care if you made so much money you are traveling the world and didn’t get my email until a week later. Hire an assistant and treat problems your clients communicate via email as seriously as you do emails asking where the buy my stuff link is.
7. Ignoring my reply. Reply to me when I send you a message. It is not polite to ignore potential clients. If I am sending you an email there is a reason why. Ignoring my email just makes me feel like you do not value me as an individual.
Get good at replying to people with options, and at saying no to asks that you cannot do, but don’t get good at ignoring people. This will cost you money.
8. Use of an Auto-Responder to tell me you don’t care. Replies to your email generate an auto responder to tell me this “inbox” is not monitored.
This is like a cardinal sin when it comes to email marketing and one of the best ways to irritate a potential new client. I am not kidding, this happens, I have seen auto responders telling me the inbox is not monitored, or better yet telling me to email someone else.
Imagine walking into a Retail Store and the clerk says “Sorry, the people who work here are three blocks down the street, you have to go there.”
9. Emails from your Assistant appearing to be you. Don’t send me an email from your email account signed by your assistant or someone else on your team! I get it, some people are busy and they have their assistant manage email for them but replying from YOUR account signed by someone else just makes me feel a wee bit violated. What if I send you something private via email? Who else is reading it?
The best way to do this is have your assistant respond from her own email and mention that are taking care of this for you. This way I don’t feel like you are so self important that you don’t actually read any of your email. (aka, my communication does not matter)
10. Could you spell my name right??? Fix the typo in the way you spelled my name. I know this is hard, and it is tricky as 99.9% of typos are generated when the person signed up. There is nothing worse than having someone email you over and over again with your name spelled the wrong way.
Use a bit of judgement, eyeball the new subscribers on your list from time to time and if it looks funny, ask the person if you are spelling their name right. This requires a bit of time and means that you actually care about them which is important if you are in business.
That’s it. A wee bit of a rant but these are the ten things that drive me a bit crazy on the receiving end of email marketing.
Oh yeah, last but not least, I really don’t need to know how many people are on your list. When you tell me in your opening I am one hundreds of thousands my question is who does that piece of information serve? It certainly doesn’t make me feel special, it might make your ego feel great that your list is that big but last time I checked we each receive our email on an individual basis and I just want to feel like my subscription actually matters.
What drives you crazy when it comes to email marketing? I am sure I have missed at least ten more points!!!
Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.