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What No One Wants to Tell You About Email Marketing

The only thing I hate about email marketing is that, it works. It distracts me and makes me want to buy. Here's some reasons why Email marketing works.

Carrots work and so does email

Do you get the impression that people hate email marketing? If you ask around, you’ll probably find a large percentage of people who say they don’t like it at all. I’d probably say that too. But then I check my email and…what’s that? 20% off everything at Bloomies? Groupon has a great deal for my favorite restaurant? It’s Cyber Monday and the deals are insane? I check my email on my smartphone when I’m in a store and…there’s a 20% off coupon! 

The only thing I hate about email marketing is that, it works. It distracts me and makes me want to buy. I also really really love it because it gets me some great deals!

Carrots work and so does email
I consider myself a shopping expert and I’m very influenced by email marketing, so I’ve decided to share my opinions on what does and doesn’t work from a customer’s point of view.

First, you have to get people to give up their email addresses. If you’re going to give them something in return — a discount, a coupon, inside info about sales — most people who shop online are willing to give you their email addresses. Once you have an address, though, it is very important to use it wisely! These 8 strategies will put you on the right track:


When I get an email from a favorite store or service I use and there is a mention of % off, I read it. Always. And I usually end up on the website to see what’s up. The discount should be mentioned in the subject line of the email message, of course.


When one of my favorite stores that carries my favorite brands announces that its sale items that were 20% off are now 50% off, I click right on through. Immediately. There is no time to waste because most of the good stuff is probably gone. Sure enough, not much left, BUT! What is this cute item that I haven’t seen before? Not on sale…but so very cute and so perfect for …something. Now that’s effective email marketing.


Often, I will put something in my shopping cart then get distracted or not be so sure I want the item and I don’t complete the transaction. But then later, maybe even a day or two, I get the email: “Did you forget something?” I open the email and it shows me the item that’s waiting in my shopping cart. Oh yeah. I should go back and take another look at that. Very smart.


Love this. Reminds me that I have something I liked enough to put in my cart and now…it’s on sale or they’re offering free shipping or if I buy it now, I can take 20% off. I’m a sucker for that type of deal. Sometimes the email will say: “This item is almost sold out, hurry!” That can close the deal.


Coupons always get my attention. But, if I have to print it and remember to take it with me somewhere, forget it. Without fail, I’ll leave it at home. Those people who do extreme couponing and go to the grocery store with a portfolio of organized (and unexpired) coupons amaze me. I need the coupon that can be scanned on my phone. I’ll sign up to get an email or a text with a coupon code, especially when I’m in the store. The best thing ever!


One retailer emails me every day. Every. Day. Telling me that everything is some percent off. Sometimes 20%, sometimes 30%, sometimes 40%. And the headline is usually something like “Last chance to save.” No it’s not! Why would anyone ever pay full price for anything at this store? And why would you buy on a 20% off day and not wait for the 40% off day? It just feels shady. A special offer should be just that: Special. Otherwise, people have no motivation to act.


There’s really no formula for how many emails is the right number of emails. But if you don’t have anything new or interesting to say, wait until you do. The last thing you want to do is annoy your customers and make them want to unsubscribe.


If it’s all cluttery and messy and I can’t find a quick link to your website, I’m not buying.

One more thing…You’ve seen those studies that say never send an email on a Sunday, or a Thursday, or late at night, or first thing in the morning … Nonsense. I suspect people will argue with me on this, but I don’t believe that one day is better than another for sending emails. People are online and reading email pretty much non-stop, especially those who carry a cell phone (i.e., everyone). I’ve heard people say that emails won’t get much attention on Monday morning when there are so many emails to be read…because people don’t check their email over the weekend!??C’mon.

Ironically, my job description was recently expanded to include managing email marketing for my firm’s SEO reseller program. The guys at the top have been working on this automated email marketing tool to help our resellers get leads and nurture clients. I knew this was all in the works but who knew this would end up being my job?  So now I’m going to experience life on the other side of email marketing. I wonder if my boss will let me have a sale on SEO.

P.S. to my boss: None of this online shopping action takes place during my work hours. It may seem so but it’s not the case. I would also like to add that I’m not a shopaholic.


Photo credit: Carrots Work – courtesy © pixdesign123 –

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Ellen Gipko Marketing Analyst at HubShout

Ellen Gipko is a digital marketing specialist and blogger for HubShout, a US based white label SEO reseller and marketing ...

What No One Wants to Tell You About Email Marketing

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