Become a Spammer in Two Easy Steps!

April 29, 2009


I'm driving a rental car this week, since last week's drizzle got the roads just slick enough that my car hydroplaned into a street sign. I wasn't injured, but my car needed to visit Doctor Body Shop for the next few days.

The insurance claim and car rental went pretty smoothly; no complaints. Until now.

During the rental registration process, I was asked for my email address, along with other personal contact info. I shared it with the agent at the counter, assuming it would be used for communication related to my current rental.

Yet I just received an email that proved otherwise. Apparently, I've been enrolled in some kind of member's benefit program. Since I have zero interest in in my unsolicited membership, I searched for an unsubscribe link to prevent any future mailings.

Uh-oh.

Email Marketing Sins

Listen, I'm in the business of helping people send out mass-marketing emails. I understand the temptation to want to reach as many inboxes as possible. When you're not smart about it, though, you only end up alienating your recipients.

Because the rental company didn't explicitly let me know what my email address would be used for, I was annoyed when I received correspondence from them.

By failing to provide an unsubscribe link or indicate if it was a one-time email, it's prompted me to come just short of bad-mouthing a popular rental company in a blog post.

Basics Refresher Course

Make sure you let your subscribers know what you'll use their email addresses for. If it's confidential, comfort them with that information. If you're going to send them news or coupons, give them the opportunity to know what they're getting into. If you can, tell them the likely frequency of your blasts.

Ideally, your emails will be welcomed by your customers. If they aren't, your unsubscribe process should be obvious and simple. Don't hurt your good reputation with annoying correspondence.

Final Tip: Spell your recipient's name correctly. I'm just sayin'.