It seems that the money is in the list thing has got some marketers in a frenzy.  “If the money is in the list,” they reason, “then I need a bigger list!”  So rather than focus on growing a list of potential clients by offering valuable information in return for the privilege of having their email, they try to cram as many people onto their lists as possible.

Ad swaps are definitely one way to build your list.  Sharing information about an associate’s valuable free offer and/or mailing list a couple times a month can be beneficial when they do the same for you.  You’re giving value to your list by introducing them to someone else who can help them.

But some have gotten way out of hand.  There are some lists that I see 2, 3 or even more ad swaps daily and very little actual content (if any) from the list owner themselves.  They’ve actually automated the adswap process.  And the subject lines and even the emails themselves are sometimes outrageous and border on unethical.

Today I received a marketing email that was way over the top.  I’ve unsubscribed from about 12 lists already this morning just because I’ve had enough, but this one was incredible.  So, if you’re looking to piss off your subscribers and get unsubscriptions, spam flags and even some lovely hate mail, try these techniques.

Subject Lines from Hell

First of all, the subject line had 2 strikes against it (not including the improper spelling of cheque):

Re: your check is waiting

Yeah, right.  There is a cheque (note proper spelling — dang Americans 8=) with my name on it waiting when I open this email.  BS.  This is a blatant lie like we saw on all the Publisher’s Clearance Sweepstakes and Reader’s Digest mailings of yesteryear.  You don’t have a cheque for me so don’t say so.

Also, Re: is used in email for a response to my email.  I know that it can also be used otherwise.  But it typically (and especially in relationship to email) is used to indicate what subject you are replying to.  I never sent you an email so don’t pretend I did.

The Personal Touch and Outright Lies

Then we get into the email itself.  I’ll let you see for yourself what it looks like:

Hey Subscriber, maybe you didn’t see this:

That’s right!  Your check is waiting for you
right now…

All you have to do is put this in place
and you’ll be amazed at how quickly
and effortlessly you can get these
types of checks everyday….

Hit this link to get insiders access now:

Hey Subscriber is a nice touch.  But the lie continues.  He’s tricked me into opening the email with the lie about the cheque.  But rather than trying to be clever and say something like “If you implement this system you’ll get emails like this…” he continues to lie.  He flat out states that there is a check waiting for me right now.

Hiding the Unsubscribe Link

So, I want to unsubscribe from this guy.  Scroll down … and down … and down.  Where is the damn unsubscribe?  After about 30 or 40 blank lines we find the disclaimer and list options.  Wow, fire off a nasty email to this fellow about what he’s done to piss me off and then go to click on the unsubscribe.

Double Secret Detention for This!

But wait, there’s more!  I can’t believe this.  I see that the guy claims to be from Louisiana so maybe he’s Creole or something, but the unsubscribe link has this:  “Modifier votre inscription” — the only French language on the page.  Wow, nasty email number two.

What Is It With These Guys?

What is it with these guys?  Don’t they realize that they’re building a huge list of people who just won’t respond when they truly have something to offer?  What good is a list of 10,000 when they all hate your guts or at least quietly ignore anything that you send them.

Bad Subjects

There are lots of other techniques that are being used by marketers.  Subjects that contain personal or private to create a false sense of intimacy.  In addition to the cheque waiting BS, there is Your order is ready or Your requested download and similar crap.

Bad Content

Then there are the false urgency appeals.  I don’t know how long he’s going to give this for free … He’ll be giving it away for free as long as he can get suckers to sign up for it.  That’s the whole point of the free offer!

And there are the ones that don’t tell you what you’re clicking on.  It boggles the mind that they think that I will waste my time to look into a product that they’re not willing to at least hint at.

And have a clue — swipe files are to be used as guides or templates.  Don’t just cut and paste those carefully crafted email messages that the marketer has provided.  Change them to suit your voice.  Don’t say that they’re your friend if you haven’t heard of them before you did this ad swap.

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6 Comments on Email Marketing — How to Get People to Unsubscribe

  1. peter says:

    Thats a very good post, its funny I seem to remember talking about something similar not too long ago.

    The problem is that it has become so easy to build large email lists with the swap channels, business building guides and skype channels that too many people are on too many lists thus diverting their attention spans.

    In my early days I was doing swaps once per day but could see that it was a bad approach so have now cut down to 2 per week only.

    Gary Simpson (I hope you dont mind me inserting this link) summed this issue up well with this blog post http://motivationselfesteem.co.....keting.htm

    Basically the people who are participating in this kind of activity a Effing it up for everyone
    peter recently posted…Finding And Commenting On Other BlogsMy Profile

  2. LoneWolf says:

    Thanks Peter

    I read Gary’s post too (from his comment on your post 8=) and was planning to put in a couple of links to related articles like his. But the email that triggered this rant had me push this one out the door a little sooner than I had planned and I didn’t put them in! I also didn’t put in a picture — I may have to go back and rectify this.

    Anyway, relevant links are always welcome, whether it’s to your site or someone else’s. Two or more will put the comment in the moderation queue, but if they’re related links I’ll approve it pretty quick.

    The lists I’m working on right now are the personal development niche and it’s slow going. It’s not possible to do ad swaps until you’ve got a bit of a list so I’m trying giveaways right now. Had moderate success, but the only one I’ve found in my niche hasn’t started yet. It may see better results. Once I’ve got a bit of a list then I’ll try some swaps and see how it goes.

  3. How to Speak Japanese says:

    Thanks for this insigthful post – never seen anyone analyze these spammy emails like you did.
    I will go right to my mail account for newsletter subscriptions and set a filter to sort all mails having subjectlines starting with “Re:” into a seperate folder and then unsubscribe them.

    • LoneWolf says:

      Thanks How to Speak Japanese

      By the way, you might want to check out my Battling Comment Spam series to see why you were very close to getting this comment deleted as spam 8=)

      I like your suggestion for filtering the emails. I would add the words “private” and “personal” into that filter — pet peeves of mine. You’ll probably find some others too.

      It seems you also have set up a separate email address and inbox for subscriptions. That is a pretty good idea as well and one that I sometimes wish I had done. I may do that for future subscriptions.

      Thanks for sharing! Hope to see you back again soon.

  4. Ryan says:

    Launches are the worst. Especially coming from those people who take the sample emails and send them without changing a single word. I get quite a few of them until I purge the lists I am subscribed to.
    Or how about the email that asks me if I saw the email they sent the other day and just in case you didn’t see it here is link to the program I’m hyping now. Ugh!

    • LoneWolf says:

      Ryan, you are so right. Have you seen the ones that start with “I see you haven’t opened my email…” yet? Those really irk me, especially when I know that I opened it and hit delete pretty quick.

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