An Email Manifesto for Rethinking Emails Sent to Customers

Say this is true:

Your customer/user success and happiness  = Your success and happiness

If so, it seems to follow that you (as a company) would only send me emails I wanted to get. Yes, one more email might get me to do something today, but in the longterm I will be more likely to ignore your emails or not enjoy interacting with you.

To that end, here are the emails I personally like getting from companies:

  • Emails that give me something I want – meaningful discounts, announce new products or features I care about (not just the ones you care about), etc.
  • Personalized emails telling me what to do to accomplish my goals – did I set something up wrong when I signed up for your service? Did I never get started?
  • Notifications about my money or other things like that. Is my credit card bill overdue?  Did my idiot friend just tag me in a terrible photo on Facebook? Do you need my approval to add me to a mailing list?
  • Emails that make me smile. If your email genuinely makes me smile, I’ll forgive pretty much any other flaw with it.

A few rules follow from this list about what I really don’t like:

  • Stop emailing me if I ignore you or show that I don’t care
  • Don’t send me emails that are irrelevant. Announcing a feature that I already use? Announcing a new line of dresses? (I’m male) Telling me about the offereSkip me unless you’re telling me something new.
  • Don’t send me emails that are blatantly in your interest and not mine. Enough said.

Done right, emails are great for you and your customers – it just takes thinking about things from the customer’s point of view.

Tell me more about what I missed in the comments.


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