Email Blunders Part Two

Head in Hands

In what could very well be an ongoing series, here are some more mistakes, goofs and email blunders I’ve seen in the last few weeks:

No Subject Line

I know you’re busy, heck…we all are. But please invest the half a second it takes to write a subject line. Even if it’s a crappy one, there is no excuse for you to send an email with a subject line.

Besides the fact that not adding a subject line makes me think you’re sloppy, lazy or aloof; forgetting to add a subject line has technical consequences too. Most email server software will penalize emails sent without a subject line and flat out refuse to deliver the message to the recipient. Further, many email clients will also penalize emails sent without subject lines and move the email into a junkfolder. This has serious consequences for important messages.

In email marketing (I’m talking about lists here) there is an assumption that messages go through a “decreasing power of ten” in every step from sender to intended recipient. It goes something like this:

  • Sent – 1,000,000
  • Delivered – 100,000
  • Opened – 10,000 (sender and subject line largely determine open rate)
  • Read – 1,000
  • Acted On – 100

This says that if I send an email to a list of 1 million addresses, I might get 100,000 emails delivered to the recipients mail clients. Of those 100,000 delivered to mail client, I might get 10,000 of them opened. I might get 1,000 of them read and 100 people might respond to my call to action.

Sending to a list of one million addresses and getting 100 responses (a 0.01% conversion rate) is pretty shitty to begin with. Don’t decrease it even further by forgetting to add a subject line.

Message In Subject

This just screams lazy to me. I don’t care how short your message is, don’t put the message in the subject line and leave the body of the email blank. It’s wrong. Don’t do it.

I receive too many emails where I open the message and all I see is a signature. Speaking of signatures…

A Crappy Signature

Email signature violations typically fall into three categories:

  1. Too Long
  2. Irrelevant
  3. Redundant

Too Long – Name, title (if applicable), company, phone number. That’s about all you need. I don’t need your office phone AND your cell phone AND your after hours phone AND your fax number. Nope, just one number ought to be enough. And the legal disclaimer? Come on. Who are you trying to scare with that?

Irrelevant – I love the environment…really I do. But please don’t remind me to think of the environment before printing the email. If I’m not going to print an email it’s because I’m more concerned with wasting ink than paper. Also, I’m glad you belong to every social community out there…but I don’t need to see a link to each an every one of your profiles.

Redundant – Most people use email as a way of having a protracted conversation. Guess what? You don’t have to append the signature to every email. Most email clients have the option of NOT including your email signature on forwards and responses. Look into it.

Sending to Wrong List

This is pretty egregious. Last week I got an email from an outside company that was clearly supposed to be an internal memo; complete with company procedures and protocols, names and numbers of employees. Lucky for them I’m an honest guy and deleted the message.

Always, always, always double check who you are sending to. If you make this mistake the consequences could be huge.

Tags: , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply