This email landed in my inbox the other day:


From: *@gmail is unacceptable

There is no reason to have any kind of business email come from a gmail account. Even a single-person business can get URL and server space for as little as $100 a year. If you have a gmail/hotmail/yahoo/aol address no one will take your seriously.

Forgetting to update data tags, “Hello (!”

This is a mistake I’ve seen companies of every size make. While data-driven customization is great, if you can’t bother to check the functionality of your data tagging, don’t use them. A simple typo in your email editor can completely break customization options, so be sure to know how to write the code correctly. Most email providers will let you send test emails out “as” someone- don’t forget to use this. Lastly- Use those default values correctly. Opening with “Hello ,” (note the space before the comma) clearly tells me you didn’t have my first name and you thought you would. Instead, set up your tokens something like: Hello{{” ” & lead.firstname;default=””}} where there is a space added within the data tag, not outside of it. Assume that you will have some empty fields, and format the email so it still looks good even then.

Sending to the wrong segment

Clearly this email was meant for past customers, but as far as I know, I’ve never in my life bought something from this brand. Nothing says “we don’t know you” better than incorrectly segmentation. If you can’t get your segmentation down accurately, don’t segment at all.

Urgency = Good; fake urgency = cheesy

Time and time again, adding urgency to an offer has been shown to increase conversion rates. It’s human nature to be less rational when we are told we only have a short amount of time to thing about an offer. However, consumers have gotten quite good at spotting fake urgency (since it seems almost every offer these days is tied with urgency) and blatantly fake ones like this tend to annoy. Include a time deadline, or (if the medium allows it) some kind of live-updating counter. Its scary setting a cut-off period (“what if we lost a sale because someone wants the deal after that?”) but remember you can set another urgent deadline a short time later and re-create the effect.

Calls to action must convert

I’m asked to contact this company if I want to take advantage of their offer. How though? There is no website link, no phone number, just a sketchy email address. And the email doesn’t even say “reply to this email if you’re interested” which would be possible, but simply offers a giant “contact us if you want this.” If you want a call, say “call us”- and provide a number. If the offer for contact is generic, then methods of contact must be diverse to encourage this.

Who are you?

I opened this email- that’s worth something. However, after re-reading through this email numerous times, I still have no idea who this company is. Their description of services is incredibly generic and not the slightest bit compelling.

Is this the worst email ever? Surprisingly not. It did 2 things well: It made it to my inbox (which is getting harder and harder these days) and it was interesting enough I opened it.

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