7 Things I learned while trying to go through 200+ marketing emails in an hour

I don’t think I really knew what I was getting into when I subscribed to all these emails. (And I’ve only scratched the surface. I still feel like I need to find more emails to read. Always.) I went on vacation for 4 days, which turned into 5 days due to a flight cancellation. I didn’t bring a computer. I just let my emails pile up in my promotions tab. They’d be there when I got back.

I knew they were just going to keep piling up every day I didn’t clear them out (which might be why I have more than 5,000 unread emails in my promotions tab in my personal email account), so last night I took an hour and plowed through them. I’m finally getting the hang of Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts, which helped immensely. I wouldn’t let myself leave my home office until I had categorized and archived everything and written one post. I mentally dangled the reward of watching the new Glee when I was done in front of my face (but alas, my husband got home and started playing video games while I was working on it, so I had to go read the sequel to The Devil Wears Prada instead. I’m okay with that). Anyway. I got through all the emails, and had a few takeaways:

1.They all start to look the same after a while.  It took a lot to grab my attention.

2. I didn’t do much scrolling below the fold. The rumors are true – brands only have a second or two to capture peoples’ attention. I was actually legitimately interested in looking at every single one of these emails (which is probably not normal for the average consumer), and even I couldn’t devote THAT much time to each one – especially the ones that were the same every day.

3. Emails with good subject lines and preheaders were more likely to get noticed/categorized/labeled for a future blog post (regardless of whether the rest of the email was good).

4. Emails targeted to men are VERY different from emails targeted to women. Nordstrom Rack, Bonobos, and Jack Spade all have clean, simple, classy emails that don’t give me a headache from too much text and overwhelming messaging. While some emails geared toward women were nicely designed (I’m looking at you, Piperlime and Kate Spade Saturday), the vast majority of them were horrifyingly busy, cluttered, and not very original. But that’s another post.

5. A lot of brands are really banking on Mother’s day. Like, sending emails about it every day. At two weeks out.

6. Some brands just flat-out aren’t even trying with email. They’re probably just making a PDF of their print ads and image-mapping them and throwing them into their ESP. I’m going to do a post about those soon so I can unsubscribe ASAP.

7. Even though it was annoying/overwhelming digging through all those emails, I still enjoyed it. Email’s so great. #nerdalert


One thought on “7 Things I learned while trying to go through 200+ marketing emails in an hour

  1. […] I’ve dealt with this before, sure. But I also have a Gmail label for posts I’ve planned to write on emails I’ve already gone through – and it has 30 emails in it (which probably works out to about 17 posts). For this blog, I really intended to read every email, every day, and write about a few every day. Of COURSE they piled up. That would have happened even if I hadn’t ignored my inbox for a week, because there’s really no way I’m going to ever write about 20-30 emails in a day, unless someone wants to pay me to do this as a full-time job (any takers?). I thought if I subscribed to everything I could find (and really, I’ve only scratched the surface there), I’d see new and exciting emails every day, and have a steady stream of content. And I do. […]

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