Manipulative Email Tactics that Disrespect Subscribers and Hurt Marketers

While brands everywhere are embracing customer-centricity, many relics of brand-centric thinking are still out there. This is especially true in the email marketing industry, where we often vilify inbox providers and second-guess our subscribers’ intentions and intelligence.

Let’s resolve to focus more on serving our subscribers instead of trying to manipulate them, and to shift to respecting our subscribers’ intelligence instead of insulting it.

With those goals in mind, here are six manipulative email tactics that have no place in modern, subscriber-centric email marketing programs:

  1. Using passive-aggressive email signup and opt-out language
  2. Requiring all customers to receive marketing emails
  3. Hiding behind people’s names to obscure your brand
  4. Using misleading, vague, and overly clever subject lines
  5. Trying to trick Gmail and other inboxes into re-tabbing your emails
  6. Hiding unsubscribe links

For all the details on each of those…

>> Read the full post on the Litmus blog

The Last Word on December 2017

The Last WordA roundup of email marketing articles, posts, and tweets you might have missed last month…

Must-read articles, posts & reports

A Beginning of Year Email Audit Checklist (Trendline Interactive)

Repealing net neutrality and its unintended consequences for email (Adestra)

8 Brands Using Email Personalization Like Pros (Campaign Monitor)

Estonia, the Digital Republic (The New Yorker)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

Noteworthy subject lines

Boston Market, 12/2 — 32 Days of Giving Sweepstakes!
Petco, 12/7 — Santa! We know him!
Under Armour, 12/7 — The Best Gear That Fits In A Stocking
UncommonGoods, 12/15 — Knock Their Stockings Off
Scotts, 12/8 — Gifts for the Lawn Enthusiasts in Your Life
Gap, 12/12 — For every little dasher, dancer, prancer, and crawler
Aeropostale, 12/10 — FREE SHIPPING On All Orders! Green Monday Starts Now!
HP, 12/10 — Hey Chad, Green Monday is on!
Victoria’s Secret, 12/16 — Still shopping for your list? Super Saturday Sexy Savings is here!
Target, 12/13 — Is you home ready for holiday guests? This SALE helps.
Banana Republic, 12/12 — How’s *this* for cozy?
Lenovo, 12/13 — [#Heads Up] 48-Hour Sale Starts Today!
Brooks Brother, 12/8 — Starts today: Free gift card when you give a gift card
ToysRUs, 12/20 — Get Great Christmas Deals, PLUS a FREE $5 eGift Card!
American Red Cross, 12/8 — Send a Red Cross gift to those who need it most
Make-A-Wish, 12/12 — Still searching for a heartfelt gift?
Feeding America, 12/6 — Did you post what you’re #thankFULL for?
MAC Cosmetics, 12/20 — Free Overnight for 12.25 Delivery! Plus Hours Left to Get a Free Lip Palette When You Join MAC Select!
Walgreens, 12/22 — Down to the wire? We are open!
ToysRUs, 12/24 — Forgot Something? Remember We Have eGift Cards.
Express, 12/24 — Always the perfect fit | Gift an e-gift card before it’s too late…
Gilt, 12/21 — Last Minute NYE Looks: It’s the final countdown to style
Applebee’s, 12/15 — Dollar L.I.T. = Awesome
Staples, 12/6 — Pop quiz: Flu viruses can live for ___ hours
Jetsetter, 12/10 — Why Hotel Sex is WAY Better
ThinkGeek, 12/12 — You are one with the Star Wars Sales, and the Star Wars Sale is with you.
FansEdge, 12/15 — #ForceFriday SPECIAL Star Wars Gear!
Epicurious, 12/16 — Our Favorite Cookbooks of 2017
Barneys New York, 12/16 — Meet The Lady Bird Actor Who Nailed Her Role As The Popular Girl

New posts on

Happy Holidays from My Family to Yours!

Take the 2018 State of Email Survey: Gain Knowledge + Win Prizes

Webinar Recording + Q&A: Top 5 Opportunities for Improving Your Email Creative

Smart Insights: Email Marketing Trends 2018

Email Design Podcast: The 2017 State of Email Creative

FreshMail: Email Marketing Trends for 2018

Campaign Monitor: What I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Getting Started

The Last Word on November 2017

2018’s Top Email Design Trends

Top Email Design Trends for 2018

This year you can expect to see more interactive emails and personalized emails in your inbox. Those two trends stood head and shoulders above all others, according to a Litmus poll of nearly 600 marketers.

The next tier of trends included creating smaller, more bite-sized email content and using storytelling more effectively, whether within a single email or across a series of emails. The six other trends that we asked marketers about received a bit less enthusiasm, although they’re still likely to be important this year.

To bring some perspective to each of these email design trends, we reached out to our friends at Emma, Trendline Interactive, Yes Lifecycle Marketing, and Shaw + Scott. Let’s discuss each of these 10 email design trends in more detail…

>> Read the full post on the Litmus blog

Happy Holidays from My Family to Yours!

Happy Holidays

Whatever you celebrate, I hope your holidays are filled with family and fun.

Best wishes, Chad

Take the 2018 State of Email Survey

The 3rd annual State of Email Survey will get you thinking critically about every facet of your email marketing program—from organizational structure and planning to design and deliverability.

Plus, you’ll be helping the email marketing industry identify trends and establish benchmarks, when we release the results of the survey as part of our free State of Email research series of reports, infographics, webinars, and blog posts.

Plus, everyone who completes the survey by Jan. 31, 2018 will be entered into a drawing to win a free ticket to Litmus Live or a Mystery Litmus Swag Pack.

Those are all great reasons for a savvy marketer like yourself to share how you plan, create, and send your email campaigns.

>> Start the survey

The Top 5 Opportunities for Improving Your Email Creative webinar recording

Email creative is unlike web or print creative. It has its own unique constraints that marketers must master to make the most of the channel.

In this webinar, expert email developer and Litmus Product Manager Kevin Mandeville and I identify the top 5 opportunities to improve your email creative strategy, based on the findings of Litmus’ 2017 State of Email Creative research report:

  1. Responsive design
  2. Animation
  3. Styled ALT text
  4. Dynamic content
  5. A/B testing

But we don’t just give you the data-backed insights. We also share practical how-to advice to help you executive on each opportunity at your brand.

>> Watch the webinar on the Litmus blog

Smart Insights: Email Marketing Trends 2018

Smart Insights' Email Marketing Trends 2018 reportIn 2018, email marketing is one the most effective techniques for digital marketers, so keeping up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry is super important. Given the ongoing importance of email marketing for customer acquisition and retention in most organizations, understanding and testing the latest email options and techniques is essential for businesses to stay engaging and competitive in the inbox.

To that end, Smart Insight’s Email Marketing Trends 2018 report brings together trends, insights, and advice from 14 email experts, including me. The 54-page report covers a wide range of topics and trends that will be key during the coming year:

  • Increasing regulation
  • Email rendering
  • Device friendliness
  • Intelligent personalization
  • Sophisticated segmentation
  • Subject line effectiveness
  • Writing for emails
  • Deliverability
  • Code like it’s 2018
  • Marketing automation

To read about all the predictions and trends…

>> Download the free report

Email Design Podcast 86

In the 86th episode of The Email Design Podcast, I join host Kevin Mandeville to discuss the findings from Litmus’ 2017 State of Email Creative report.

We walk through each section of the report, discussing:

  • How marketers find email inspiration
  • The value of email brand guidelines
  • The adoption of responsive email design and how marketers are using it
  • The various email design elements that are used, including animation, alt text, interactivity, and more
  • When to use one-off email designs
  • How to use A/B testing to get the greatest competitive advantage
  • Email redesigned schedules
  • Why you want landing page responsibilities

>> Listen to The Email Design Podcast on the Litmus blog

FreshMail: Email Marketing Trends for 2018

2018 Email Marketing Trends from FreshMailI join 11 other experts in sharing my email marketing predictions for 2018 with FreshMail. My predictions is that:

Creating and optimizing automated emails will be a major trend in 2018. Already, nearly 13% of brands already generate the majority of their email marketing revenue from automated emails, according to our 2017 State of Email Survey. That number will only grow going forward because the timing and content of automated emails are hyper-relevant. If you’re not adding new triggered emails and expanding, updating, and A/B testing your existing ones, now is the time to dedicate more time to doing that.

For predictions of email marketing trends for 2018 from Laura Atkins, Adam Q. Holden-Bache, Samantha Iodice, and others…

>> Read the entire post on the FreshMail blog

11 Email Marketing Lessons from the ProsI got serious about email marketing back in 2006 when I started the Retail Email Blog. Since then, I’ve worked for three of the largest ESPs in the world—Responsys, ExactTarget, and Salesforce—and learned a ton about email marketing.

If I could go back to 2006 and give myself one piece of email marketing advice, what would it be? Campaign Monitor asked me and 10 other email that question and here’s what I told them:

“I wish I’d understood from the beginning how inconsistent email client support for coding is and therefore how complex email rendering is. For marketers who now understand that the new challenge is to avoid creating consistency by playing down to the lowest common denominator. Instead of trying to create ‘pixel-perfect’ emails, marketers need to use progressive enhancement thoughtfully to create ‘platform-perfect’ emails that deliver the best experiences for users of key email clients.”

For all the great advice from Kath Pay, Jordie van Rijn, Justin Khoo, and the others…

>> Read the full post on the Campaign Monitor blog


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