Nothing is forever, even email


Yesterday I talked about how important it was to send welcome messages when you discover old email addresses. Today on the Return Path Blog, Tami Monahan Foreman shares an example email that does just that, but not as well as one might hope.

You are receiving this email because sometime during the past 20+ years you have registered with PACE, or one of our affiliated companies, to receive free information and offers concerning child custody matters […]

Tami is appropriately amused by the statement that she opted in in the past 20 years, despite never having custody issues nor ever hearing of this company before. I just can’t fathom the email planning session. Did no one consider that the maximum time for a custody dispute is 18 years? Were these senders even thinking about what they were saying?
And, yes, I realize that this may have been a B2B targeted (or not so targeted) mailing for court officers, social workers and others who mediate custody disputes. In that case it’s even worse, how many people have had the same job over the last 20 years? How many municipalities and courts even had email in 1991?
Clearly there was not a lot of thought put into the target of the email. And this is what, more often than not, defines email marketing in the minds of many people outside thsi industry.

Marketers — THIS is what you are up against. For all the good you are trying to do, many, many consumers and even more people at ISPs think THIS represents the thinking of too many folks who claim the title “email marketer.” — Tami Monahan Foreman

The attitude of ‘once and opt-in always an opt-in’ is all too familiar to me. Recently I had a client explain to me, in all seriousness, that he truly believed that he was still entitled to mail email addresses that opted in 10 or more years ago. Even though the recipient opted in to a company that was eventually purchased by his company. Even though there had been zero contact in the last 10 years. If he wanted to send those people mail, then it was opt-in and no one could stop him. Unfortunately for him, neither Spamhaus nor the ISPs agreed with that point of view and much of his mail was having some fairly serious delivery problems.
I know that the last thing any email marketer wants to do is remove an email address from a list. But sometimes you need to think about what you’re doing and not mail someone just because at some point in the past you think they might have maybe opted in

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1 comment

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  • Hi Laura,
    This is poor and even offensive type of reqactivation campaign, even if it was created and broadcast by an unexperienced email marketer. The last thing you want to do is keep a recipient on a list and waste time and money ‘marketing’ to them. if you have not had fairly recent opt-in or engagement from the address you should look towards stronger aquisition startegies and as best practice guides us, we should remove old data and hardbounced email addresses and concentrate on the clean/valuble data or the obtaining thereof. Nowadays your reputation and overall ‘inbox’ delivery will bring you a higher ROI’s than the one hit wonders that may convert from old or 3rd party aquisition style data pots.

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