OK, it’s time to let off a little steam and have a bit of a rant.

I’ve just received one of the worst marketing newsletters I’ve seen in a long time.

Why am I doing this?

People often tell me that their email marketing doesn’t yield the kind of results they are looking for. This is more often down to their poor email marketing practices than any real reflection on the medium – which remains the most cost-effective marketing opportunity (in terms of ROI) available to marketers both online and offline. I’m sharing this story in the hope that I never see such a weak attempt at marketing again.

I’m not going to name and shame this marketer. Thankfully, this person is not an iContact client; if he was, I would be on the phone with him now offering a little advice.

So what was so bad about this newsletter?

First of all, it was addressed from an individual (not a company) who I had never heard of (actually, I’d never heard of the company either). Seriously, I raked my brain and even did a quick search on LinkedIn to find out who the sender was, with no success. This sender was, and will remain, a stranger to me.

The subject line was worse: Newsletter

The word “newsletter” tells me nothing and certainly gives me little reason to open the email, particularly when it’s addressed from a stranger.

Obviously, the sender thought that the word “newsletter” was important because he repeated it as a single-word headline at the top of his message. A headline should scream benefits. All the headline “Newsletter” says to me is “So What?”

And wait for it – the opening line of the body text read: “Welcome to our newsletter.”

OK, I get it now, it’s a newsletter.

Then, to add insult to injury, the second line of the body text read: “Who are [company name deleted to protect the guilty]?”

Email marketing is a permission-based marketing solution. If I don’t know who you are, and you feel the need to remind me of this basic fact, you’re basically telling me this is spam.

Was I going to read any further? Hell, no! I don’t even know why I opened the email in the first place.

To be fair, the campaign did receive a click. Although I am guessing an unsubscribe wasn’t the engagement the sender was looking for.

Remember: Your email marketing will only work if it’s permission-based, is sent from a recognizable source, has a subject line that actually tells me what I’m going read and screams benefits as soon as I open it.

Do you have an email marketing-related rant you’d like to get off your chest? Share your comments below:

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.