Sooooooo many emails

Alistair Blair | 07.11.2023

If you think we send too many emails, you're not alone. I can assure you I understand and sympathise with your view. Our emailing strategy makes me uncomfortable. The following is extracted from an email I recently sent to a customer.

... however, the fact of the matter is that it works. Obviously, not without some collateral damage, but the downside is very clearly smaller than the upside. And frankly, we are not in a position to be prissy about this. Business is tough and we cannot jettison any tactic that delivers sales, however uncomfortable it makes me feel. 

Why would it work? Why don’t people sack us under this barrage of emails? Because to most recipients, these emails are water off a duck’s back. I’m not boasting but I have over 100,000 unopened emails in my personal email inbox. I’d guess that 90,000 of them are marketing and sales emails sometimes from companies I bought one thing from in 2008. I stopped worrying about these emails years ago. If I need a jumper I might open the recent emails from Marks & Sparks. But otherwise, they can just sit there unmolested by me. I scroll through them daily in just a few seconds, picking out the non-sales emails I want to read. I think this is how most people deal with unwanted sales emails. 15 years ago they seemed a right nuisance. Now I don’t notice them.

My supposition is that at least 95% of recipients have this benign attitude towards emails and the other 5% shade from “I’d prefer it if they didn’t...” to utter frustration. Obviously this is where you are.

There are some other things to say…

1 We have at least one and possibly two email tools which help us manage our emails. These tools are complex and we have not mastered them absolutely. They are designed for super-sophisticated XXL companies which might have a team of 3 or 23 in charge of their marketing emails. Whereas we have two very hard working people each giving them say 25% of their time. So we have the skills to drive a Vauxhall but these tools are Ferraris. (We’ve tried Vauxhalls – unsatisfactory in different ways…). We are probably getting better but quite often (and without us asking) the Ferrari is retuned by its supplier creating new skid risks.

2 I suspect that these tools don’t always work the way they are supposed to. There have been some problems that we have delved into very deeply and had to ask ourselves when they are still not fixed, What are we doing wrong? And I suspect we are doing nothing wrong. Instead, there is a problem in the product.

Please be aware that every email we send out includes an unsub link at the bottom. This is in ridiculously small type as I write but it will soon be bigger. I confess that this link has been a bit unreliable in 2023 due to technical features of our new website, but I have kicked a few bottoms and things should improve. If it doesn't work for you, email me directly at ab@[the*rest*you*know].

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