Email Hygiene

My wife has something like 30,000 unread emails in her account. She’s one of those people who have to buy more storage in Gmail because of it. I want to think 10% of those emails are from the Bernie Sander’s campaign.

There are a half-dozen emails in my primary inbox that I’m certain I will never resolve the issues within the text, but I’m so attached to them I’d feel abandoned if they ever left. Behind the primary box, in all of the other tabs and filters and folders, are a few hundred emails living in my ad-hoc filing system.

I’ll sign up for emails from brands I’m interested in or have bought from in the past, so I can see what they are doing for content. Most brands only reach out when they have something to sell me or they are doing a sale. If that coupon happens to arrive in a time of need, I might act upon it, usually not. Mostly, I’m interested in seeing what they think their story is and how they want to involve me in it.

I know some people who maintain stringent email hygiene - they refuse to let themselves be a part of anyone’s email list. They don’t want stuff to throw away. I get it, to a point. Most of the brands who want their email address likely have a tracking pixel on the same person - it is becoming a race to see which one is more valuable.

I work with clients who want to develop email campaigns to sell their latest widget or promote their shopify store. I ask them to forward me emails they have in their inboxes right now that they like and to explain what draws them to it. When I ask them how much they have purchased to that particular retailer, the answer is always “zero.”

Then I ask them to send me emails they received from brands they have bought from. They are drastically different.

We see so many of these emails and we aren’t sure why we are attracted to one but not another. Why do we let some come in to bother us while others are unsubscribed right away?

I’d be most of us are interested in the stories these emails have to tell us, we just have too many to dig through. Like an endless “Save To Watch List” on our Netflix Account. It’s there, we just may never get around to watching them.


Speaking of email.

I ship the best stuff straight to you. A blog is nice, but the email packs up all the best stuff and let’s you know when I’m about to get up to something good.