Monday morning I came into the office and started filtering through a weekends worth of emails. Typically I am a little rushed to get through the emails, so I can get onto other items. This Monday was no different, I was reading and responding to my emails just as I normally would. Then something changed when I came upon this email. It literally stopped me in my tracks, and I actually read it three times before I moved on.
Now I am not sure what your reaction was, but when I first read it I thought I was being called a “doormat”. Which immediately got me off on the wrong foot. Obvious to me was the fact this was a bulk email that was not just sent to me, but was sent to a large group of people. Since Net Solutions is in the email marketing business, we often read bulk emails with a critical eye to see what can be gained/learned. This email was no exception, I knew there was something to be learned. I knew that I needed some time to process my thoughts on this email, so I continued reading other emails. Little did I know, the emails blasts were not over, as I kept reading one or two emails later I received this email.
Well, whatever forgiving bones I had left in my body were shattered by this second email. One was certainly enough to get the point across, but the second in under 30 minutes sent shivers of anger down my spine. For anyone who knows me, they know now was my turn to write an email, click here to see the screen shot of the email, but since it is my email I will copy it here.
Travis and anyone else this may concern,
This is probably one of the top 10 most direct bulk emails I have ever received. Being in the email marketing industry only occasionally do I read bulk emails since most of them are garbage. However, your two emails sent to me today got me to read them both. I even printed them out to share them with my staff, so that we could consider the ramifications of sending bulk emails such as yours. If you are interested, all of our immediate responses were identical.
“So now that you are reading this (proof that you do exist), here is a simple way you can help me”
I had to use a few of your choice words as they felt applicable. By the time I was done reading your emails I had moved beyond the point of being offended, and actually found it comical the degree to which you had pushed a potential client. Needless to say, I will no longer consider your product or service for my personal or business use. While some adobe products we cannot live without, I certainly will try to avoid paying for any of your products in the future.
So while you were successful, I read your email, I have now gone in the exact opposite direction from using your service to actually using you as an example of what not to do. You can plan on my account remaining “dormant”, as I will unsubscribe from your mailing list immediately (despite your obvious effort to hide the unsubscribe link).
Thanks for reminding me how not to perform email marketing.
Now certainly I was a little hot under the collar when I wrote that email, and now even a day later I can see room for improvement in my choice of words. Nonetheless, the general message would still be the same. So while my response may have been a little inappropriate, it was certainly appropriate given the tone of the original emails.
Once the war of words was over, and given some time to reflect on the email, what can we learn about email marketing?
- I think it is important to understand the emotional response elicited by the email. Certainly if their goal was to get me to respond, then job well done. However, I think they could have used the same basic message and delivered it with a softer less offensive tone.
- Choice of words, I want to address the specific choice of the word ‘dormant’ When selecting certain words, and in particular words that appear in the first few lines of an email, it is important to understand how those words could be perceived. They could easy have said “inactive” or “latent” and had the same message delivered without the risk of being offensive.
- Last is the “unsubscribe link” which was pushed way down past the bottom line of Travis’s signature. For those of you new to email marketing, I would refer you to the Can Spam Act which outlines the rules and regulations for email marketing. One of the items in this act, is that every bulk email blast should include an ‘unsubscribe link’ to allow people to opt out of your mailing list. Many companies put the ‘unsubscribe link’ right at the top of their email blast, others include it towards the bottom. Most of the time they actually use the text ‘unsubscribe here’ or ‘click here to unsubscribe for our mailing list.’ However, that is not what Adobe and Travis have done, instead they pushed the link all the way to the very bottom using the text ‘Manage your Subscriptions, click here’ which is really not very intuitive, but the worse part is how far down in the email blast it is located.
So there are certainly lessons to be learned here about email marketing. Omniture has lost me as a client, but certainly they can take this advice and adjust their bulk email practices and move towards a better, more customer first approach.
One last thing about Adobe and Omniture, is they hide their contact information very well. If you want to get emails to their board of directors, or even an upper level VP it is impossible to find on the Internet, or via their online chat, or by calling their corporate office (believe me I tried all of them). However, I am not easily deterred, and was able to figure out a pattern to how they format their emails, and was able to send a fair number of the upper level management a copy of the email.
In order to help others who need to contact Adobe, here is a list of the emails addresses I found to be valid:
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
The last question to answer is did anyone at Adobe respond? They certainly did, here is a copy of the email they sent back. Is this a big enough apology? I suppose it is sufficient given I am not a client of theirs. Of course, they could have prevented me from making this post had I truly felt they were in fact sorry.