Dear Brand…yours sincerely, Consumer

By Kath Pay

I recently received an email from a company whose content I really enjoy. More than that – as I am in contact with many brands who would benefit from using their service, I have referred clients to them over the past year. However, to my dismay (as a subscriber) I received the following email from them this week.

Subject Line: Your last email from Brandname

Hey there

We noticed you haven’t opened one of our emails in a while. As we always strive to ensure we’re only sending emails that are useful, we’re going to stop sending our blog articles and company updates to you.

If you want to keep getting our emails, you can do so by clicking here which will ensure you don’t miss out.

Also, if you have any feedback for me on our posts or general marketing, please hit reply and let me know – I’d really appreciate it.

Thanks and take care,

I have a few issues with this kind of tactic. To me this is a perfect example of a brand drinking the Kool-Aid and blindly following so-called Best Practices, but without fully thinking through the potential consequences or how it makes the customer feel.

Firstly, as a recipient of this email I felt they were saying that I’m not capable of unsubscribing myself….which I felt as being a bit of an insult. Many things are taken out of your hands these days and you don’t have control but the one place I like to think that I have control is in my inbox. Because that’s what it is – my inbox – not theirs. Surely I have the power to say who does and who doesn’t appear there?

So what’s the potential Impact? I get offended and let them unsubscribe me and I forget about them (as their emails provide a nice reminder of their existence) and I inadvertently stop referring clients to them. Of course if this was a B2C brand, then unless I was extremely loyal to them (which would make me more upset that they’ve unsubscribed me), I wouldn’t see their offers in order to take advantage of them. Bottom line is – it affects the brand’s revenue.

Secondly, life comes in ebbs and flows and sometimes I’ll open an email if something is relevant and other times I won’t. I can guarantee that I won’t ever open and read ALL of their emails, however when I’m on the hunt for a good content and the time is right then I know that they’re sitting and waiting for me in my inbox to discover and enjoy.

I can also guarantee that I will never find their content within my inbox if they stop sending it to me.

So what’s the potential Impact? I miss this email or take the easy option and let them unsubscribe me and in this particular instance, they may miss out on referred clients. Bottom line is – it affects the brand’s revenue.

Thirdly, I feel this is a very short sighted tactic as it doesn’t take into account that although I may not be actively opening and reading their emails, I still get visibility of their brand in my inbox, so that they will be top of mind when I am thinking of a solution for a client.

So what’s the potential Impact? I don’t have their emails in my inbox reminding me of them as service providers and they never get another client referred by me again. Bottom line is – it affects the brand’s revenue.

Finally, I found them once (potentially at a cost) and if they remove themselves from my inbox then they may end up paying for me again when I’m on the hunt for their service/product/content.

So what’s the potential Impact? They pay (again) for me. Bottom line is – it affects the brand’s revenue.

Whilst this ‘stop mailing ‘ tactic may be suited for brands who use opt-out marketing, for those who have gained permission, I believe it’s a tactic that needs to be carefully thought out before implementing (if at all).

The reality is that if they have given permission to you to market to them and you know that you are providing valuable content, information and offers – then hold strong and understand that when the time is right for them, they will start interacting with you.

We need to look at this from a longitudinal view rather than an immediate view.

Your emails within their inbox have an impact – whether they open them or not. Think back to when you last deleted an email – you not only looked at the subject line but also the sender before deleting it – right? Did the fact that you deleted mean that you don’t want to hear from them ever again? Or did it mean that what they had to offer you wasn’t of interest to you at that particular time? I regularly ask my marketer students this and they all agree it’s the latter.

So if you have a great email programme (as these providers do) – then be confident in it and assume your subscriber is fully capable of unsubscribing themselves if they so desire.

Interested in finding out more? Check out how the awesome team at Holistic Email Marketing can help take your email programme to the next level.

Originally posted on Alchemy Worx