I have had the same personal e-mail address for 15 years. Yes, it might be time for a change, but so far the pain of keeping the same address has not outweighed the pain of getting a new one. At least I don’t think it has. OK. It probably has. But every visit to my inbox is like a trip down memory lane or a moment shrouded in mystery. How exciting!
For example, every once in a while I’ll get an e-mail from Mother Nature. I signed up for this e-mail newsletter in 1999 when I was working on a e-mail campaign for a competitor’s site, and I wanted some examples of what a health products e-mail newsletter might look like. And then there are the newsletters from every cause that I ever cared about and that circulated a petition. But I think I stopped signing those right around the time that the please-don’t-let-the-Republicans-cancel-Sesame-Street petition made the rounds for the second time.
I also get lots and lots of newsletters from retail stores. And this is where the mystery begins. I get endless “information” from Lord & Taylor, American Eagle Outfitters and something called LOFT. I swear to you that I have never bought anything from any of these stores. Ok. Once I was kind of into the jeans from American Eagle Outfitters, but that was during kind of a butch phase in 2002. But I swear I have never bought anything online from any of these retailers, so why are they sending me an e-mail every day?! We’re not friends. I don’t like you!
I have tried to unsubscribe, politely. I have tried to unsubscribe, rudely. Bath and Body Works was so annoying for a long time that I called them on the phone and launched a verbal threat, which probably sounded like “If you don’t stop e-mailing me, I will tell my vegan friends that you test your products on animals.”
And then there are the places that just simply should not have a newsletter. Really, people. It’s just kind of weird or creepy.
I get the Hoover newsletter. Yes, the vacuum cleaner people. About 6 years ago I got a wild hair and decided to change the filter on my 12-year-old vacuum that requires a new filter annually. I couldn’t find one in a real-world store, so I ordered one online. And there it was, the “enter your e-mail address” box. I filled it in, because they can’t possible process your order without it, and now I also get the latest news of vacuums. Awesome. Except I’m a Dyson girl, now.
And this brings me to the last and possibly weirdest newsletter I receive. The one from the cryobank. Yes, we have shopped there. But I find it hard to believe that telling people that sperm is on sale this month really drives a lot of online transactions. But they do it. And I get the newsletter. But it’s not like you can just spend a lazy afternoon with your credit card, selecting the biological parent for your next child. Well, you can, but I would recommend taking it just a little bit more seriously because this stuff is regulated. Heavily. By the government and stuff.
Anyway, here is the point. Your best marketing idea is probably not an e-mail newsletter. Don’t make one for your customers. Please don’t make one for your co-workers. My inbox is worse at work. Target your customers. Watch them. And last but not least, pay attention. If I have not bought a vacuum or a vacuum accessory from you in 5 years, that doesn’t mean you should try harder! Just take me off your list. I found you in the first place. I can probably find you again, if I need to. But if you have some sperm that you need to liquidate. I’m your girl.