Sorry, But I am Sick to Death of Email Marketing

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<—- Is this a better option??

 

 

 

That’s it, I’ve had it.  It took me more than a week to change my settings on all my LinkedIn Groups so I no longer received fifty-two different emails every day containing Group Updates.  What a relief that was, however, email notifications continue to stream in from other sources.  My inner brat reared its ugly tech head and like the raven, cried “Never more.”

I reviewed the constantly streaming in emails that every single morning, I methodically delete.  I finally said to myself, enough is enough.  I am tired of it.  So, do you know what I did? I, one by one, went through each marketing email in the inboxes of my personal and professional accounts and systematically unsubscribed.   It was not easy and it took longer than I expected.  I will repeat the process tomorrow and the rest of this week as others continue to stream in.

In my personal email account this morning, there were sixteen different marketing emails by the time I sat down to my computer.  They were from the likes of Bath & Body Works, Sage Act Software, Groupon, Barnes & Noble, Enterprise, LivingSocial, hunch, ModCloth, Ace Hardware Store, Goldstar Events, Xbox and so forth.  Some were a simple process of click here to unsubscribe and it was done, others required you to carefully review your options and make sure you had ticked the right box, and others begged you to stay and change your mind.  I think the idea was to make it difficult, so you didn’t actually go through with it, you didn’t actually cut the ties of your favorite retailers.

Only one – ONE – asked why I was unsubscribing:  Nordstrom.  I love Nordstrom, I cannot always afford to shop there but they have great sales and better yet, they have excellent customer service.  And their unsubscribe process proved my case in point.   A drop-down menu appeared, not begging me to stay or to please reconsider, but rather with options of why I wished to stop receiving emails.

Options consisted of *Too many emails from Nordstrom or *I don’t shop at Nordstrom.  But the one I selected was *I receive too many retail emails.  And it is true; I spend my first waking half-hour deleting emails on my mobile device before I even leave my bed.  And today’s barrage proved to be e-fatal to the retailers who have access to my multiple email addresses.

Interestingly enough, as a marketer, I am extremely adverse to email marketing.  I know that most emails are OptIn, but what I struggle with, like most, is spam and I have no desire for my carefully-crafted message to be lumped in with spam or to end up on the cutting room floor with the others before me.  I want my information not only received but read, in full.  So, as a business-to-business marketer, I appeal to you – what is the right option?  Are you as sick of email spam or blather as much as I?  Are you eBombed twenty times daily, as well?  Are you leery of distributing your email address to vendors or businesses?  Have we reached critical mass?  I think yes, I think we have.  With so many different ways to advertise your product or service, is email still a viable marketing tool?

I think we have a way to go before email blather is completely eliminated, I am also a firm believer that email is not dead – I do most of my customer  response and industry communications through Twitter;  I am ready to do my part, to proceed with awareness that eBombing is a pain in most people’s sides.  Including my own.

~Eradicating the eBomb, one email at a time.~

 

Bonus TrackRayanne Thorn, @ray_anne is the Marketing Director for the online recruiting software company, Broadbean Technology.  She is also a proud mother of four residing in Laguna Beach, California, and a contributor for Blogging4Jobs.  Connect with her on LinkedIn.

 

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Comments

  1. I have gone through the very same exercises. I gave up after a couple of days of unsubscribing and the messages about maybe having to receive a couple more of these before I could be unsubscribed or that it could take 2 weeks… etc. I am now using gmail new features where ‘bulk’ mail goes to its own box. It’s quite accurate, and when I want to see what’s in there I visit. I must get 200 ebombs a day.

    Reply
    • Hi Karla-

      200 eBombs? I think we must be on the same lists…
      I HATE that they make it so difficult to unsubscribe… Hate it. Maybe my post will appear in a few marketing inboxes…

      -Rayanne

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  2. I too have recently gone through an unsubscribe cleansing. I was fast and furious about it over a period of a week, and I know I unsubscribed from some stuff that I actually don’t mind reading here and there. The emails that I kept, and the ones that I will eventually re-subscribe to, are the ones that deliver me value. It’s the emails that either help me think differently about topics I’m passionate about or invite me to online events that I could take some value out of, or pass on to others who I know could use the education.

    It’s interesting, because as a long time PINE and then Outlook user, I was much more diligent about unsubscribing and had a different definition of SPAM. My email INBOX was a place for good information and I tried to keep it tidy and clean. Once I signed up for my Gmail account (and I notice this with other people who use Gmail as their primary email account), I was convinced by Google’s promise of “don’t worry about deleting – you have plenty of space available”. Suddenly, it became a place where I had a stream of information, and I only read the emails that came from trusted sources or had subject lines that intrigued me.

    Now that I’ve switched to using my Ipad as my morning email reader, and combined all of my mail boxes, I’ve gone back to the idea that I want to remove and clean up everything – so I’m not missing important information. I have the urge to reduce the noise.

    I think we enter this same cycle of behavior with social media. We start a service, and are careful about who we add. We read everything in our streams like it’s important. Then we add too many incoming people into a stream. Then it gets overwhelming, and then we use things like circles, groups, and lists to try and pair down what we think might be “important enough” to consume on a daily basis.

    Thanks for this great post that got me thinking about this cycle of behavior :)

    Reply
    • HoB-

      I think you hit on something here – the recent adoption of all-things-mobile has led to my “bitterness”. I don’t like wasting my morning read-through of all my emails (I am an avid iPhone user) on spam. I use it to get my jump on the morning.

      I am not sure what the answer is, but I am sure I will will keep looking! Have a great day!

      -Rayanne

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  3. Seems like you signed up for those emails though, you can’t blame the companies for sending you those emails (as often as they might) because you chose to get them right?

    I feel your pain, but what I did was create filters and rules so that these emails that I used to spend time deleting, would actually go to a folder where I *might* go read them sometimes when I want… otherwise I can just go into the folder and nuke them all at once, it takes a few seconds. In exchange, I get the offers and alerts from the vendors I signed up for.

    Email is still the best way to get stuff delivered to your readers. I mean this site itself has about 2 updates per day and if I were to sign up for the email notices, I’d get those.

    I think the frequency is really the problem that we’re having with these vendors especially when their emails have nothing of value. I still think email is a viable option in comparison with the amount of effort. yeah Social is better… but it’s a lot of work. Anyway, I’ll end my comment here before I make it any longer. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

    Reply
    • Oscar-

      The majority, I did not sign up for. Somebody sold my information or they were able to get it from another source OR I randomly gave my email address at the check-out line. Live and learn, right?

      Frequency is definitely the problem. And lack of engagement or insight into the receiver. I have tried all the filters, some still get through and then my curiosity always kills me, I still go through my spam folder. ;-)

      -Rayanne

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  4. It’s less effective for everyone. Even stuff I opted-in gets a lot less attention nowadays. Social media interactions are just more useful because they have a built-in filter system by popularity.

    Sterling Ledet |
    Reply
    • Sterling-

      Agreed – social media is targeted and you can easily choose not to follow or find something uninteresting – which I often do when Facebook ads appear on my wall – I do not mind those ads, by the way – because they revolve, change, and are, mostly, geared toward me and my likes. AND they are easily ignored, if so be….

      -Rayanne

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  5. I use a “junk mail” account when I sign up for anything on the web, but that just sidesteps this issue for a bit.

    What disturbs me more is advertising text messages. I know the day is coming, and soon, when this will be used more often than email. Or, shudder, maybe they’ll try to hit us with both at once.

    Reply
    • Denise-
      I used the garbage email account for years and it did work for a while, may be time to heat my old “junk” collecting email account back up… I, too, am a little concerned about text bombing. The information highway seems to always be in “rush hour” – “traffic jam” mode. Time to think of alternate routes, eh?
      -Rayanne

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  6. Can I join you rant too? I so agree with everything you are saying about the email junk I get 24/7. That and cold call marketing have to go! Great topical post and so very relevant.

    Reply
  7. I completely agree. It doesn’t seem fair that we have to spend so much time and attention to get off of lists that we NEVER asked to be on! I am less irritated when I did opt in and then change my mind.

    I go the extra mile to try to unsubscribe because I know that marking an email as spam is bad for them, but sometimes they make it so hard it is ridiculous!

    Reply
  8. Let us remember that not everyone is like us. There are folks who do not participate in the social media space and still rely on email as their main form of email as communication. These are the same people who likely still use a fax machine on a regular basis. These same folks are also possibly the people who need me to help them understand how to use social media for good and not evil.

    I still use an email newsletter and have paired it down quite a bit. I realize that people are getting dive bombed by emails, hopefully not from me. I just hope that my catchy titles and good content can have them opening mine and not the rest.

    JMM

    Reply
    • I may have over-generalized a bit, but I think the response here shows that the majority of people are tired of the junk mail – virtual or otherwise.
      Pre-social, pre-email really, I tried to think of a way that I could diminish the flow of junk mail that landed in my US Postal Service mail box in front of my house. I remember hearing a consumer awareness piece of advice – when the junk mail is accompanies by an SASE – fill the self-addressed, stamped-envelope with as many slicks and flyers as you can – that way the company has to pay the price and you get retribution, I think I only did it once, but it felt good. Not sure how we can twist it for use in email…
      Again, this morning, I tried to unscubscribe from yet another advertiser and the process was like trying to change doctors in an HMO, I was exhausted and peeved by the time I was done… I will keep up the good fight, however!
      -Rayanne

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  9. I’m sick of them too and most of them go to a “junk” email account. An email from a retailer isn’t going to prompt me to shop for their offer. If I feel like shopping or seeking something out, I will actively go find them and figure out what’s for sale and what I can get. I think most people are that way nowadays because of the influx of emails they get.

    Reply
    • Sukraj
      I agree – it is such a conundrum for me because of my position – Marketer for a virtual software company. I think my awareness tortures me unnecessarily though…
      You would be surprised how many ‘List” companies contact me DAILY to buy their random spam list from them– they go straight to the spam folder, I will not add to the problem…
      -Rayanne

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  10. Amazing how quickly your inbox fills with all of these notices. It is very rare that I even do anything more than delete them as well.

    Charles Perkins |
    Reply
    • Charles–

      I was in power delete mode every single morning and I decided to take a little control — it has become a mini-obsession this week! We’ll see it cures anything, however —
      I think I should add “power delete mode” as an ability to add to my LI profile, eh? :-)

      -Rayanne

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  11. When we first got email, I loved it! I looked every day to see if I had any! Now, how many years later? I turn outlook off so I can work. I open it two or three times a day and HATE it. I’ve done the same thing with linkedin email distributions and unsubscribed to tyrants who fill up my email box every day, and JUNKED hundreds of email addresses so they will at least hit the spam folder, and I still waste time every time I open outlook, getting rid of trash.

    Getting my business via the internet means my email address is out there and every bot that picks up email addresses must have it ten times. I can’t get rid of it, but it is one of the worst parts of my days . . .

    Reply
    • Traci-

      I KNOW!! I was the same way, I wanted to get email, it was like checking my snail mail box when I got my first “own” place… I was so excited to see mail with my name, my new address on it…
      Then there came junk mail and spam – to BOTH inboxes!

      I guess we just have to be flexible and understand that if we are out there, everyone can find us – I am not ready to move to a cabin in the woods or under a rick, just yet – talk to me in ten years, though!

      -Rayanne

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  12. As someone who writes for a living, I too have just gotten overwhelmed by the number of daily emails and am happy to hear someone else give me permission to continue to do what I’ve been doing —hitting unsubscribe —- enough is enough!

    If I want to shop I know where my retailers live online and how to find them…

    thank you!

    Reply
    • Marla-

      That’s basically what I tell them if “other” is given as an option with a write-in response… My boyfriend actually writes them back and fills the email with expletives and are not very nice, with a few minor threats attached. He has seen a noticeable decline since he began this practice. Not really my style, but if it works, I may have to start using my urban dictionary a bit more…

      Thanks!

      -Rayanne

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  13. I hear you! I actually did the same thing with my email inbox several months ago and lo and behold it is right back at the level of “pulling my hair out” again. I suppose this is going to become more of a weekly process for me. Le sigh.

    Reply
    • Agghhh, Stacy – don’t tell me that! I was hoping the actual process of unsubscribing would teach me the lesson of being less open/transparent/authentic and refusing to give my email addresses out. #Darn.
      Guess I will have to live with being those things. Bah. :-)

      -Rayanne

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  14. Thank you for the great post, I appreciate and feel your pain! Your post inspired me to begin to delete all the groups which I receive an endless stream of banter from on LinkedIn.
    I too utilize email marketing, but prefer to engage on a more intimate level/ platform…with fewer users who actually “give a damn.” What helped my sanity: directed all emails on social media platforms to an account on MobileMe, specifically dedicated for sign ups, follows, email lists, social media notifications, etc. It has simplified my life and uncluttered the work Gmail immensely. Keep the great thoughts and commentary coming.

    Reply
    • Thanks Will – great ideas from you. Appreciate your thoughts and sharing of “actions that worked”–

      Outlook just informed me that I am almost out of space, so I have also begun the tedious process of going back to 2009 and cleaning out the useless and no longer urgent emails I felt were too important NOT to delete or folder-ize.
      Have a great day!

      -Rayanne

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  15. I wonder if a lot of retailers have not adjusted their e-mail marketing messages to reflect the fact that they most probably also have social media networks like FB and twitter where customers are inundated with the same promotions and messaging. Perhaps, we might be more inclined to open e-mails that we receive from retailers if it was 1. Individually tailored to what we want to know about (i.e. only promotions or sales, only new products, only new company information, etc) 2. If companies talked about something other than themselves. I.e. how people use their products, what charitable organizations are they affiliated with, etc.

    Perhaps that might be a way to prevent us from hitting the unsubscribe button?

    Reply
    • This sounds like a much more personable way to do business, advertise, and market… People want relationships – but then, I guess it depends on if you are selling a service or a product.

      Ray_anne |
      Reply
  16. I recently changed email accounts and unsubscribed from dozens of newsletters. Interestingly, most Internet marketers use services like aweber that make double opt-in mandatory (even if you gave your email to the cashier) and unsubscribing is very easy. More “respectable” businesses could learn a lot from the shady IMers ;-)

    Reply
    • Stevie,

      Question for you: This blog is about HR, Recruiting, and the world of work. Since it’s inception in 2007, I don’t think I’ve blogged or anyone here has about dentistry other than as an employee benefit. So why in the H would you comment spam this here?

      JMM

      Reply
    • Nice spam – on an HR blog – get your shit together, Stevie…
      How could your spamming us and our readers possibly give you any kind of return whatsoever???

      Reply
  17. One thing I noticed no one is mentioning… how did you end up on these lists? Are all of them email harvesters that bought your email address from someone else, or did you actually legitimately sign up for something? ie. gave up your email address for a free *something*, or willingly signed up to the list in the first place? Point being, I don’t think all the blame is on the retailer all the time.

    Reply
  18. PV Webmaster –

    I haven’t signed up for any lists for years… It is the price one pays for having EVER been on a list or attended a conference or signed up for webinar or left a blog comment…
    MY point being? The “retailer” or “marketer” has overdone it – like a charred pork chop. And not in a good way.
    Email marketing has spoiled many a good consumer relationship.
    AND, just because someone at one time decided to sign up to receive information, does that give marketers the right to spam???
    Puh-lease…

    Reply
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