I really liked you. And you spoilt it.

Lucy Beddall looking bored at a table.
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The email marketing trap

Have you ever signed up for a newsletter from an ethical clothing brand you really like? Or an online supplement company? Or a brand that sells fake tan? All real examples of things I’ve signed up to. And then, they bombard you with emails. Does anyone actually like receiving twice-daily emails from a fake tan brand? Like really?

We talk about marketing and sales funnels and appropriate messages for each stage, but these companies are treating it like a waterslide at a leisure centre. You’re pushed through it, swirling around at 100 miles an hour with emails knocking you out every 5 seconds. It’s like being caught in an email whirlwind.

Online dating (again)

I probably overuse the online dating analogies, but there are similarities. Imagine meeting someone nice online. Their profile looks promising. Nice hair, doesn’t look too broken or psychotic, and boasts financial independence. You start sending a few polite messages, and then they attack you with texts like a machine gun. HELP!

Then, you’re plotting your escape and losing sleep over whether you gave them your home address and place of work. I write from firsthand experience – I sometimes still twitch at night with the worry!

Influencers and professional networks

I’ve experienced this in my professional network too. There have been a few influencers I genuinely liked and decided (using my own free will and initiative) to sign up to their newsletter. And then BOOM! They move in. One influencer I really liked sent me an email every day promoting their 1-2-1 coaching course.

Every single day (even my weekends were not sacred), there were reasons why I needed to sign up. And then, the tone switched to how I might not even professionally survive without their coaching. The last few emails bordered on aggressive.

I unsubscribed, just as I did from the bigger, well-known companies who have done the same.

And yes, I know you can opt to receive fewer emails and notifications with some of them. But it’s too late. They’ve spoilt it all.

The pitfalls of intrusive email marketing

So why are people doing this? I mean, email marketing obviously works. And the more tailored it is to you and the stage you are in the marketing or sales funnel, the better. I get all that.

According to recent data, highly personalised marketing is one of the biggest trends of 2024. Studies show that emails using dynamic content for personalisation see a 22% increase in ROI compared to those that don’t. But come on, reasonable use, guys.

AI has exacerbated the problem as the sales process is so automated, you don’t feel loved. People want to buy from people they know, like, and trust. Let automation streamline your email marketing, but please let it carry your beautiful, authentic voice. Especially if you are dealing with low volume, high value sales (or people, yes, people!).

Plus, we all know that not unsubscribing does not make an engaged email recipient – many users delete your message without bothering to unsubscribe.

Personalised, appropriate marketing

How about personalised, appropriate marketing? Sending loads of emails to an already engaged list doesn’t necessarily add the equivalent value to your marketing. They’re opening, not necessarily clicking. Really your efforts should be focussed on the people on your list that aren’t already big fans.

A message to influencers

So what’s the answer? I probably can’t speak on behalf of the bigger corporates. But I can give feedback to the influencers that I genuinely liked but unsubscribed from. I welcome regular contact from you. I am open to information about your courses and offers. I wouldn’t have subscribed if I didn’t have feelings for you after all. But don’t abuse that relationship.

We’re better than this.

My own email marketing journey

Or there is the other end of the spectrum – all the people who signed up for my newsletter and received… nothing.

Sorry – one day!

However, you can find me in the flesh at my ‘networking drinks thing’ Anti-Social – next one June 20th, 5pm – 7pm at HQ Urban Kitchen, The Old Police Station, Llys Glas, 37 Orchard Street, Swansea SA1 5AJ.

No need to sign up (the irony!). Just drop by.

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