Re: Trust


It happened again. While I was reviewing the (unstoppable) list of emails that were hitting my inbox, I noticed the reply email. The subject line, of course, started with RE: so it caught my eye and I immediately opened it.

But it wasn’t a reply. It was a marketer who thought they’d increase their open rate by lying to all of their subscribers. While it worked their open rate, they just lost a prospect and added an unsubscribe to their campaign. Perhaps the open rate led to some clicks and sales, but I won’t do business with someone like this.

Trust is the difference between someone who opens and clicks on your email marketing messages and someone who actually purchases and does business with your company. If I can’t trust you to send me an honest email, I can’t trust you to get into a deeper business relationship with me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a total prude about trust. I realize sometimes trusting companies have to “fake it until they make it” with certifications, survey results, testimonials, rankings, reviews, etc. Having a web presence that evokes trust is a key strategy for increasing conversion rates.

The specific problem here is that we had already established trust when I subscribed to them. I entrusted my email address to them so that they could contact me. But with action comes some simple responsibilities… don’t share my email address, don’t abuse my email address, and don’t lie to me in emails.

This isn’t just my personal opinion. I believe you’re walking a thin line with the CAN-SPAM Act. CAN-SPAM isn’t simply about the ability to unsubscribe, it also clearly states that you must have relevant subject lines – relative to offer in body content and not deceptive. IMO, adding a “Re:” in your subject line is deceptive.

Stop doing it.


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    I think this is driven by people mindlessly trying to improve individual metrics without regard to related metrics. Kind of like thinking that increasing page views somehow automatically translates into money.

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