Daniel Burstein

Email Marketing: Why don’t you want to hear from your customers?

January 22nd, 2013

Note: This email was automatically generated from a mailbox that is not monitored.


How often have you seen this line in an email you’ve received from a company? Even worse, are you guilty of including this line in your own email marketing?

When your customer sees that line, she basically hears, “Dearest Customer, We don’t really care.”


Email marketing should be a conversation

Think about it. When you ask a customer or potential customer to sign up for your email newsletter or other email list, you’re essentially asking them, “Can I have a conversation with you?” When they say “yes,” they are taking a leap of faith.

Will you send valuable information that helps them solves problems or meet their goals?

Or will you spam them with endless offers?

Or even worse, send them down the road to perdition and really betray their trust by selling that email address?

By cutting off the conversation before it begins, you question their decision to trust you.

This further worsens if it is in a transactional email, say, with a receipt for a purchase. Here, they took an even bigger leap of faith, gave you hard-earned money on the hope that the product will be as good as you say it is, and they’ll receive it when you say they will.


Customer response is marketing gold

So give them a way to easily respond to you. Monitor your email mailboxes. I can tell you from personal experience, here at MECLABS, we receive great responses from customers to the emails we send out.

Sometimes they ask a question that leads to further content.

Sometimes they want to buy something from us.

Sometimes they point out a mistake we made (I’ll humbly admit, this happens more often than I’d like).

While there is obvious benefit from purchase requests, when our audience points out mistakes or adds their own insights, those are probably my favorite emails (P.S. You can drop us a line anytime).

If you’re engaged in content marketing (and most emails are essentially just a channel for content), this is a serious benefit you’re overlooking by not monitoring your email mailboxes.

Or social media accounts. Or customer service line. Or postal mailbox.

After all, your audience is pretty smart. You should listen to them.

I thought of the topic for this blog post while working on the “Email Art & Copy: Best creative ideas in 45 minutes” panel for MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013 in Las Vegas, February 19-22.

One of the panelists – Ryan Phelan, Vice President of Strategy, Acxiom/Digital Impact – mentions the dreaded unmonitored mailbox in one of his examples. So, I asked him a few questions about the topic to get his input, as well …


MarketingSherpa: Why do you think so many companies send out “no reply” emails? Are they worried about a technological hurdle? Are they worried about resources and overwhelming customer service?

Ryan Phelan: I think it’s a whole range of issues. As we look to the marketplace, transactional emails are one of those lines of communications that are rarely touched. Many of the reason why is based in that the emails live in the shopping cart code … which is either well known by technology groups or a black box. I think that’s the same reason why we see a lack of dynamic cross selling in transactional emails (which is a significant revenue source).

Other reasons may be based in logistics, such as which group would respond and the assumption that if you get replies, the volume could be very high thus requiring more headcount.


MarketingSherpa: Is there any upside for companies to not allow replies to their emails?

Ryan Phelan: I don’t see it.  It’s a severe disconnect to the service to the customer.


MarketingSherpa: What best practices would you advise?

Ryan Phelan: Have a group monitor these emails with a real person and not an autoreply. These are your customers who have a problem. Companies have a great opportunity to have a relationship with their customers … take it.

For an example of a customer-centric approach to service, look to the Zappos model. I was lucky enough to take the tour of their facility, and the consistent theme was to help the customer to all ends. What a great model and something those that have “do not reply” verbiage should learn from.


MarketingSherpa: Anything to add? Anything else you’d like to mention?

Ryan Phelan: Marketing takes work, and we should not take the easy path on these emails. Subscribers just got this email and became customers. Do you want the first experience to be “we won’t answer an email communication from you”?


Related Resources:

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013 in Las Vegas, February 19-22

Email Marketing How-to: What to do once they’ve subscribed

Email Marketing: 5 tips for improving the value of your list

Interactive Email: 6 tactics to leverage the influence of social reinforcement

Daniel Burstein

About Daniel Burstein

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – digging for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has 18 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , ,

  1. January 23rd, 2013 at 11:37 | #1

    Hi Daniel,
    Yes that sentence you started you post with is unbelievably annoying. As if: where do I go if I have a question about this email?! It is very a very silly thing to do in email marketing.
    Having feedbacks from customers and or readers is always something excellent to have. You cannot grow without feedback. It does not matter if the feedback is a positive comment, or a negative one. Actually the negative ones are probably the best because they make you understand whether you are driving the right way or not.
    Davide from Roma

  2. January 24th, 2013 at 05:25 | #2

    Before starting any product marketing and advertisement, we first consider the target audience for the product. Target audience are the people at whom our product is aimed. They are the people who are required to create traffic at our website. Hence customer satisfaction is the most important thing to be considered in marketing. Therefore customer feedback is always required to excel our business; whether good or bad, it will help us know our shortcomings and improve for future proceedings.

  3. January 27th, 2013 at 20:55 | #3

    Thanks for this post. It is very important that you don’t spam your customer or else they’ll get annoyed with you and never read your emails.

  4. February 1st, 2013 at 10:55 | #4

    Great article Daniel, I came up to my mind that why they setup their email this way. But I thought to protect themselves from spammers. But newest technology and innovation that can detect this spam email, though its not perfect.

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