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Unwanted emails do not come without cost

If there’s a term in marketing which I hate more than any other, it’s “e-blast”. I know that you, dear reader, would never use it. Normally I hear it from the sort of MD or sales director whose cursory knowledge of marketing is more than a little dangerous. They use it because they genuinely hope that sending out a mass email to thousands of people will cause an explosion in the market. And they are, of course, misguided (I’m being polite).

There are two groups of people who you can email. One is the group of people who already know you. The other is everyone else.

To send a mass email to everyone who already knows you is a terrible idea, unless you’re absolutely certain that every recipient will be interested in the news or the offer. Previous buyers of product A don’t want to know about changes to product B. Someone in Ipswich who once asked for your catalogue did not sign up to receive a blog post about your stand at WidgetEx Ankara 2018.

If you send people who already know you stuff which isn’t of relevance to them, you’re just telling them that they’re no more than rows in a spreadsheet, not prospects or customers with a business relationship.

Then there’s the “e-blast” to a list of people which has been rented from a magazine or exhibition. Seriously? To be able to rent you a list, the owner should have asked everyone on it if they were happy to receive unspecified emails from third parties they may never have heard of. And what sort of people tick that box?

Or maybe the list owner didn’t ask. That means you’ll be emailing hundreds of people who don’t want your stuff in their inbox (and trust me, some folks get very militant about such intrusions). Who’s going to get the blame? Not the list owner.

Emails need to be sent at the right time, for the right reason. They need to have useful content, not boring sales messages. And above all, they need to go to people who you’re sure will have an interest in the contents. Unread, unwanted or irrelevant emails do not come without cost.