I will never buy a Lint Lizard, a Magic Jack, a Pimsleur language program or Orgreenic Cookware. If, like me, you have an email address that has been around for a while and has also been listed as a contact on a website, you probably can make the connection between these brands. The marketers behind these products all use email to sell them. And by “use” email – I mean USE email. They are spammers by any other name and I don’t just get one or two emails a day. I get 10 to 20 or more a day from some of these brands.
I know there are spam blockers to take care of overzealous e-mailers, but they aren’t perfect and all too often I have had them snag important email from clients or trusted vendors. I can take care of most of my spam on my PC by marking it as spam and having it sent straight to my junk email box. But, when it comes to my iPhone, it’s another story. I have to delete each piece of spam by hand. Most iPhone users can empathize with the frustration I feel as I wade through 200 plus emails, weeding out the spam just to get to the 10 emails I need to review – a process repeated several times through the day.
I realize there isn’t much I can do to stem the tide of unwanted advertising. I can’t get on a “do not email” list (although there is a germ of an idea here) and trying to unsubscribe doesn’t seem to help at all. But, there is one thing that I can do. One way that I can show my disgust for this annoying marketing tactic – and that is to never (I mean never) buy one of these products. The Lint Lizard could be the most amazing household tool ever invented, but I will not purchase one. I would rather have lint flowing out of my house to the point that it looks like a giant Q-tip before I give these email vultures my business.
So does spam sell products or “unsell” them as it has with me? A recent article in The Consumerist supports my case. It highlights how some retailers are realizing that when it comes to promotional emails, less is more. Responsible retailers such as Nicole Miller have found that going from sending out three email ads a week to one has decreased its unsubscribe rate and increased its open rate from 15 to 40 percent. The company has also seen the percentage of online sales that began with an email grow from 10 to 17 percent.
I know why the marketers of Lint Lizard and Orgreenic Cookware do what they do. They do it for one simple reason – it works. They obviously get enough people to buy their products by sending out a deluge of email each day. This week they are selling cookware and lint cleaners and next week it will be another hot product overwhelming my inbox with offers. They are looking for a quick sale, not long-term customers. Most (smart) companies realize that current customers are like gold and running them off is a serious mistake.
If you are sending regular email to your customers it might be time to review your process. Ask yourself: are you really targeting your email blasts – that is sending your customers email that provides them with valuable offers or information? And do you have an easy way of letting customers opt out of promotional emails?
Reviewing your marketing email practices could help you prevent turning existing customers into “non-customers.” I just hope that Nordstrom doesn’t turn to email spam as a selling tool – I would hate to have to give up my shoe addiction.