The Problem With Email

10.22.12

I don’t read my emails. I mean, I read some of them but clearly not all of them or this wouldn’t happen.

And when you don’t read your email you miss out on things. I recently deleted an invitation to speak at a conference in Australia. Thankfully the organizers contacted me on a social network as well so we may be able to make it work. I have no idea how many opportunities I’m missing.

So now I’m trying to get my inbox down to a reasonable number 1,747 are too many unread emails on a business account. When someone sends me an email that’s obviously useless I do a search for them and try to delete all their emails. This is what happens.

This local to Los Angeles publicist has been emailing me for years. In August I responded to her and asked her to take me off her list. That clearly didn’t work well. She’s not the only person who abuses my inbox  but then I got to looking at her particular client list and I saw small businesses and authors and my heart hurt for them.

How much do you think this publicist is collecting from them?

Have you ever been tempted to call the business owner on the phone and say, “You seem like a hardworking person with a great business and you’re being duped.”?

Of course I don’t do this because everyone knows you shoot the messenger. It’s just shocking to me that we’re still having this conversation.

Bad Pitch PR Spam via Constant Contact and Mail Chimp

12.21.11

One of the most difficult tasks as it relates to time management is keeping the inbox functional. You’ll see that I don’t aspire to have a zero anywhere there, just manageable. I use my inbox as a place to store data. When I’m standing at Costco I can scroll through emails from Mr. G and be reminded that I need to buy shaving cream and gift cards. I love the ability to search keywords in my inbox and instantly come up with the email I knew I needed.

Unfortunately some marketers and publicists add bloggers like me to their email blast lists. They do it a bunch of different ways and not only do these pitches not work with me (and you can assume they won’t work with any solo blogger) but they can backfire in monumental ways that folks on the other end need to be aware of.

I am not interested in the same pitch everyone else gets. The only reason people read this site is because I am a “breath of fresh air” (which is apparently Australian for “obnoxious”). If a publicist emails me and 200 of my closest colleagues there is no good reason for me to respond. I don’t need the same information as everyone else. I need different information. I need to continue being a breath of fresh air. I’m willing to bet most other bloggers would agree.

When the salutation reads:

Hey there,
Hi,
Hi Mommy Blogger,

You’ve made it easy on me. I hit “spam” and your email disappears forever. Do I recognize that this method cuts me off from potentially great offers? Yes, but I also recognize that a good PR firm wouldn’t risk this. Your spam is my litmus test.

Advanced spammers use icontact, MailChimp, Constant Contact and other similar services. Last week I spent one morning unsubscribing to more than a dozen of these email subscriptions. I have ONE Constant Contact subscription that I’ve opted-in to, it’s for my children’s school.

It’s nice that all of these email subscription services have a one click unsubscribe available, but you still have to enter your email so I guess it’s not one click. What I’d like to do is be able to block Mail Chimp users from adding me to their lists. So I contacted Mail Chimp to ask them about this and they let me know in a form letter that it was not possible, I should use the unsubscribe button. I have a hard time believing that no one at Mail Chimp is capable of adding email addresses to a black list. If that is the truth then I’d be wary of using Mail Chimp’s service because they aren’t particularly advanced. What I suspect is the more likely scenario is that they just don’t care to spend resources on things like making people not hate them. 

This week, as a special thank you to Mail Chimp I forwarded each and every unsolicited bit of email they sent me to CustomerSupport@MailChimp.com. Some days it was five in a row, other days there were none. I received a form letter explaining that I could unsubscribe and I’d diligently respond to that form letter by explaining to them that I’d like them to block my email address from their servers. I have a feeling that I wasted someone’s time and that they felt annoyed and less productive when I sent them the same message over and over again.

The folks over at Constant Contact are terrific. Yes, their clients totally abuse my inbox but they are willing and able (as every email subscription service should be) to block my email from their servers. Alas I need Constant Contact because my children’s school sends their weekly updates this way. I’ve been forwarding all my Constant Contact emails to Abuse@ConstantContact.com and they’ve blocked my alternate emails from their servers.

I’ve also set up filters for my email accounts. Kardashian and Oprah have their own filters as well as a few other celebrity names. I mean if you’ve already got the endorsement of a retired talk show host and an amateur porn star what more can I do for a brand?

In 2012 my inbox won’t be an out of control beast. I’m not sure how I’ll make that happen. I might switch email addresses again next week as I find that buys me a few months of manageability.

What do you suggest?

I Don’t Know How To Be a Marketer but I Know What NOT to do

02.18.11

I often get emails from marketers where they say I represent CraptasticWebsites.com and they would like to buy a text ad on your site for $50 a month. It’s an SEO game so don’t bother looking at the site, rest assured it’s full of malware, tracking cookies and is of absolutely no interest to your readers.

My typical response is, “Thank you so much for thinking of me, it’s not a match.” I leave the door open because the pitches, though inelegant, are quick and to the point, they include the site name and the fee. Everyone’s time and intelligence is respected.

These are my morning emails today. I want you to know that I’ve haggled at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and my expectation is that I won’t have to repeat that experience in my inbox.

Understand a few things:

  • There is no last name attached to “Noah”.
  • There is no website, only a landing page
  • When I search for Noah’s email address I get nothing in any social networks
. We're interested in purchasing a small text-link ad on your web page, http://jessicagottlieb.com/ , recognizing our new Child Care Services website. We are hoping to pay a flat monthly rate for this link placement while creating a worthwhile agreement with you. I look forward to hearing back from you, please email me back with any questions! :) Thanks!”]

Nice enough, he even includes a smiley face at the end. :)

Hi Jessica, Thanks for the reply. What are your rates normally? I'm not sure which of our sites we'll be linking to, I'll have a better idea when we decide on price.

Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse? I didn’t email him and pitch him, he’s the one who approached me out of the blue. Again, I have no idea who this person is, who this company is or who they represent.

Wow. The attitude isn't interesting either. You obviously aren't interested in doing business, good luck.

Thanks Noah. I’ll be sure and hit up that PO Box, or maybe that website that only includes a landing page. I mean what kind of crazy must I be to pass up an opportunity to work with an anonymous guy from a PO Box in Salt Lake City?