Good ideas executed badly will not bring you the results you’re looking for.

It’s wise to keep tabs on what your subscribers are doing. If you look at your stats and see some subscribers aren’t clicking on your links or even opening your emails, it’s time to take action.

We’ve talked before about how to handle inactive subscribers, but you have to be careful. Good ideas executed badly will not bring you the results you’re looking for.

Here is a cautionary tale about one big businesses’ misguided attempt in waking up sleepy subscribers.

A Surprising Discovery in My Spam Folder

I love Edible Arrangements. They make great gifts, especially when I can help eat them. I purchase from them a few times a year; not a lot, but I figure I’m a decent customer. Last summer I decided to subscribe to their email list, hoping for some sweet deals.

This made me surprised to find this email in my spam folder a few months later:

Why It Confused Me

First off, I like this company. I buy from this company. Why the heck would it be spam?

Oh, maybe it’s a duplicate confirmation message, and I already received one back when I signed up, so maybe my GMail sends duplicates to the spam folder? What’s going on here?

I looked at the bottom of the email and saw this:

Since August was a few months ago, this made me think it would be pretty weird to have a confirmation message, duplicate or otherwise, go out this late.

Then, I noticed something. The blue button says “I still want to hear from you.” They know I have been hearing from them. I suppose I didn’t interact with their emails enough and was put on an “inactive” list. Fair enough.

I checked it out in the subscription settings Edible Arrangements set up:

The “adding segment for existing subscribers” makes me pretty sure they were sending this message to their inactive subscribers.

Why Is This Marked As Spam?

Deliverability is a tough nut to crack. Any number of reasons could have put this email in my spam folder. But what I imagine is that many people marked this message as spam. I almost marked it as spam. And why? It wasn’t clear what was happening. I knew I had confirmed, so I was suspicious as to what this email is about. Clarity can make a huge difference.

How Edible Arrangements Should Have Done It

There are a few changes I would recommend:

  • Take out “Please confirm your subscription” in the header – That line only belongs in a confirmation message. The kind you get right after you sign up.
  • Change the buttons – Right now they’re “Confirm” and “Cancel” which is continuing the (misleading) idea that this is a confirmation message. Instead, they could try something like “Yes, I want to keep receiving your emails” and “No, I’d like to cancel my subscription now.”
  • With the emphasis being placed on continuing instead of confirming, it would clear up a lot of confusion.

    What Mistakes Have You Seen From Big Businesses?

    We often look at major retailers and big corporations for ideas on how to market the right way… but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. What cringe-worthy tactics have you seen?