It feels like a lot of people want my money, but they’re not paying attention to…the basics. Things that any generic marketing email should segment out properly.
An unfortunate series of examples:
1. CodePen emailed me to tell me how great PRO was and that I should subscribe. Except, I’m already a PRO subscriber. Paid-for-a-year-at-a-time kind of subscriber. As a huge fan and unofficial evangelist for CodePen, this one really bothered me.
How to fix this: When writing the query to pull emails for a marketing effort, exclude customers who already have purchased the product you are trying to sell.
2. NY Times keeps emailing me to tell me that I have ONE LAST CHANCE to log in and update my payment method before they cancel my account for non-payment. Except, I called and cancelled my account- months ago. The first time I got the email, I called them back to make sure that it was canceled, because I didn’t want my record showing that it was canceled due to non-payment but rather because I actually chose to cancel it. I was assured that it was standard operating procedure (not assuring at all, really) and to “just ignore” these emails when they come through. However, it’s hard to ignore ALL CAPS emails that are coming in almost daily now, telling me how my account IS IN GRAVE DANGER.
How to fix this: Indicate in the customer database whether a customer has canceled or needs to update payment information. There’s probably a big difference and I cannot possibly be the only person who will never subscribe to the NY Times again because of this.
3. My local Chevy dealer – the one I bought a car from last July – wants me to buy a new Chevy – that is pink. (I drive a 2012 Chevy and it’s not pink. It would never be pink.)
How to fix this: If I have purchased something significant from you in the last year, leave me alone for at least two years. Also, feel free to send me a survey to see if I would be interested in something like a PINK CAR because gtfo with that.
4. MetLife didn’t have a way for me to pay online- I called customer service, and I couldn’t pay over the phone, either. I have to mail in a check (which, really? People still use those?). When I tweeted about it, a persistent MetLife customer service rep insisted I email them “so they could help me with my issue.” I finally emailed them to make it stop- there’s not really any way they could help unless they had a bunch of developers sitting around waiting to implement an online payment portal. The response was thank you for my feedback and would I please email them all my information so they could help me make a payment…which, huh? Do you want to order checks for me, or fill it out and mail it in for me? Didn’t make any sense.
How to fix this: Apologize for the inconvenience but don’t make yourself look worse by insisting on helping where it’s just not something you can help with. I believe that you want to help customers who have legitimate issues that need tending to- you don’t need to prove that you are awesome at customer service by insisting on helping with a problem you clearly haven’t taken the time to understand. “Oh look we persistently offered help until they accepted.” No, you just made yourself look like an idiot because customers these days are smarter than that and see through exactly what you are doing.
5. A tech recruiter email: “You and I don’t know each other, but it looks like you’re into web development. I dig guys like you and have a few friends who would too.” Except last I checked, I am not a guy. Sorry.
How to fix this: At least get my gender correct. Also my name is Melanie and that’s a pretty big clue.
6. I got an email reminding me that there was still time to register for a conference…that I’m already registered for.
How to fix this: Mark records of customers who have already registered. Write your marketing effort query to exclude those customers.
Is it really too much to ask that you at least mark my record if you already have my money? If you need me to teach you about segments in marketing emails, just let me know. I’ll share my knowledge for free if it means I won’t have to face the blatant reality that no one actually cares if I’m already customer because they’re still going to send me marketing emails anyway.