I know email marketing works. I have a newsletter. I have also made purchases because a company has emailed me a deal and it triggered a thought that I needed X, Y, or Z. Over time, however, the sheer volume of marketing communication starts to become overwhelming. Perhaps it’s the journalism thing, but I have also been added to a lot of newsletter lists that I am pretty sure I never signed up for. I know some inboxes are configured to shove promotions to a different folder but since I do read some regularly I have always found it easier to delete delete delete.
Over the weekend, however, I snapped. I was tired of getting to my inbox in the morning, having 75 unread messages and only caring about 10 of them. I was tired of returning from lunch to find 50 more unread emails and caring about two. So instead of deleting, I started unsubscribing from everything that I did not read.
This revealed a few things. First, some of the worst culprits were emailing me multiple times per day. When I would click the manage-email-preferences link, I would see that I was automatically signed up to get everything: a daily newsletter, plus partner emails, plus hot deals or what have you. Since when I purchase things online I almost always un-click the auto-subscribe button, I suspect some companies are skirting on the edge of the law here. I also realized that email marketing is forever. I purchased a pair of bike shorts from a company 11 years ago…and have probably been receiving emails once or twice a week from them ever since, without ever making another purchase (I shudder to think how much time I have spent deleting those emails).
I also learned the word for “unsubscribe” in multiple languages. I have no idea how I got on these lists since I cannot even read them. I have one particular company that emails me multiple times per day and I cannot figure out how to unsubscribe from everything (they do not make it easy), but at least I un-clicked most of the 12 newsletters they had me on.
The good news is that a blast of unsubscribing over the weekend has already had an effect. Normally I would have had 75 new unread emails this morning. Instead, I had 32 — and since I cared about 10 of them (as usual), this did not seem nearly as oppressive. I suspect the 75+ others I would otherwise get over the day will also be diminished.
In other news: Following up on the story I wrote a few weeks ago about How To Be A Better Friend, Even If You’re Busy, I am writing about how to turn a work friendship into a rest-of-life friendship. Since we go to work with alarming frequency, it is somewhat easy to make friendly acquaintances there. But turning these work relationships into true friendships can be more difficult. I would love to hear from friends (or even friend pairs!) who have made it work.
Also, I am working on a story about how some people have made a little extra money with platforms for the on-demand economy (driving for Uber/Lyft, doing Task Rabbit, etc.). This publication is generally aimed at people 50-plus and so while I know some twenty-something people who have done this, I am hoping to find some examples in the 50-plus demographic.
As always, please email me at lvanderkam at yahoo dot com. Those are emails I want!
Photo: Pull up the drawbridge against spammers! This castle came home from one of my husband’s recent trips to IKEA. The green tube in the background arrived after a different trip.