Unwelcome emails

One of the joys of signing up for so many emails all at once is that I got to see a lot of different welcome emails and compare them. For most brands that I subscribe to in my “real” email account, I’ve been a subscriber for a very long time, since before I really cared about welcome emails. This gave me a chance to see these brands from a new perspective. There were also quite a few I subscribed to that I normally wouldn’t, so I was hoping for welcome emails that would tell me more about the brand.

In general, there are a few elements that I would expect a good welcome email to have: double opt-in, encouraging the subscriber to update preferences, a short overview/description of the brand and types of emails the subscriber will receive, and perhaps a discount if it was promised at sign-up. Pretty standard, right? RIGHT?

I went through all 64 welcome emails in my inbox with a checklist to see what elements they had.

Ladies and gentlemen – from this experiment, I fear for our industry. Based on my sample, it seems that 25% of brands have email subscriber lists so small that I was their very first subscriber.

That’s right. I hate to brag, but I just thought you should all know that I’m going to be THE FIRST TO KNOW about the latest discounts, products, and other cool happenings at all these brands. Not you, not their other millions of subscribers. ME.  I’m going to be the FIRST! They said so.

Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 10.06.47 PM

Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 10.07.54 PM

Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 10.09.31 PM

Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 10.10.07 PM

Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 10.10.22 PM

Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 10.11.26 PM Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 10.11.41 PM

You get the idea.

I know that there are only so many ways to get people excited about receiving your crappy marketing emails, but let’s not lie to our subscribers, okay? I know for the brand I send emails for, we usually send later in the day since they perform better for us, so email’s definitely not the place where people will be the “first to know” about anything. (Just first to convert. #emailrules)

Of course, some of the lists are very exclusive. Luckily, I’m an insider and I’m on the list (at least for the 12 brands that used that kind of language in their welcome emails). Brands – I hate to break it to you, but your email list isn’t exclusive. And if it’s so hard to sign up for your emails that you’re congratulating subscribers on being on your list, there are some bigger problems here and you should re-evaluate your sign-up process.

Like I said earlier, as part of this project, I subscribed to emails that I normally wouldn’t. When I filled out preference centers, I selected every option available. For Piperlime, that meant Men and Women. Here’s what their welcome emails looked like:

piperlime men         piperlime women


Now, on their own, neither is THAT bad. (Minus the condescending “You made the list!” in the women’s version). I thought the headline in the men’s version was hilarious (as was the subject line, “Get the hook up.”). But, the women’s version gave a nice checklist of the types of emails subscribers could expect to receive. Piperlime, you could combine the best elements of these and have an amazing email. They’re pretty.

At least they were pretty on-brand, and it was clear who they were from. Unlike this guy:

From name: Shop Your Way

From Email: rewards@rewards.shopyourwaryrewards.com  (Wait, so are there rewards?!?!)

Subject line: Welcome! Now unlock all your perks


There was no indication of who it was from until I opened the email and saw the Sears logo. I don’t know who “Shop your way” is. And I’ve gotten other emails from Sears since this one that had the same branding. I’m pretty sure Mr. Can Spam is rolling in his grave right now.

There are more emails to write about, but I’ll save them for another post. It’s really overwhelming to be the first to hear so much news, and I’m frankly exhausted from it.



2 thoughts on “Unwelcome emails

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s