E-mail List Obsession

Monday, August 17, 2009

Trying to figure out:
when to send an e-mail about our products and website and when NOT to send an e-mail about our products and website has become a source of constant frustration for me.

I try to put myself in the place of the consumer and predict what might be appealing to the mass. However, I like getting e-mails from my favorite shops about sales, new inventory, ideas etc. If I am broke or don't need whatever they are selling, I just delete the e-mail. I don't remove my name from the list. Who knows, they might have a great sale on that pair of pants I've been drooling over and if I don't get the e-mail, I may NOT get those pants?!?!

But when you're the person who spends hours developing the e-mail to be appealing, you can't help but wonder when someone unsubscribes:
  1. Did my e-mail upset someone?
  2. Am I sending too many e-mails?
  3. Was the arrangement of the e-mail confusing?
  4. Is/was the client upset about something ELSE and didn't tell me?
  5. Why did a client subscribe only to unsubscribe?
And believe it or not, I can make up a million other things in my mind when I am supposed to be sleeping at night. I understand that there are some clients who just do not want to get e-mails from businesses.

I have even asked some of the clients who jumped ship and they told me they just got too many e-mails and spent too much time trying to sort through all the e-mails to find what they were looking to find. So there. It's not personal. But it is hard NOT to take it that way. Just like it's hard not to take it that way when someone says they don't like something you've created (jewelry, food, clothing) ...I guess it's something that you have to live with when you own a business.

Here are some ideas I try to follow when I do send an e-mail out:
  • Pictures. I try to include as many pictures as I can to make the e-mail visually interesting.
  • Color. I attempt to color coordinate all areas within the e-mail. Even the FONT.
  • I try to use different fonts to attract attention to areas of importance but not fonts that might be hard to read on the computer.
  • I make every effort to make the point I need to make in a very short concise format. Easy directions or link to the directions. Easy to understand and clickable links to save time.
  • Only send the e-mail to those who would really find it interesting. We have 8 e-mail lists set up in our e-mail program. Since we have a retail store, web presence, wholesale, designer, etc. Some e-mails are informative for all the groups. Other e-mails are specific to a certain group.
And while I take all the above into consideration, I still have to deal with the e-mail software itself. As with any other software sometimes it works without a hitch and then there are those HAPPY days! When nothing goes right. Those days are the best days for a business owner. When the computer you use doesn't want to work. And all the activities you had planned that involve the machine that is now not working, go right out the door. So you then improvise and find other non-computer related activities to amuse yourself.
It seems though that most of my work at the shop now involves doing something with the computer. And since we just added Facebook, Twitter, and blogging to the list. I think I'll be doing more computer related activities.

If you have any comments about e-mail lists, e-mails sent to clients or you're a client and want to comment on the e-mails you get....please write. We'd love to hear what you have to say!

I think next time I write, we'll talk about e-mail etiquette and what we find appropriate for business versus personal. What are your thoughts about response time? What I mean is, if someone writes you an e-mail what is the protocol you follow in responding, if any? What about people who get your e-mail and do not respond? What is a timely manner for response time? What are your pet peeves about e-mails, if any? Think about it. . .

Again, thanks for reading. Thanks for being here...

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