Many of us pride ourselves on carefully adhering to email codes of conduct and maintaining as-close-to-impeccable tone, spelling, and grammar as possible.
Still, some struggle a bit more than others to observe these basic social mores, and a few distinct email personalities have bubbled to the surface.
Exhibiting any of these personalities is a sure-fire way to get your emails deleted, your readers unsubscribed, and your customers annoyed with your entire company.
So please, do yourself a favor and avoid becoming one of these people at all costs:
The subject line digitally screams at you "BIGGEST SALE OF THE YEAR," pretty much ensuring that it’s anything but. And don’t even bother trying to count the number of exclamation points used following the shout.
Even worse, when you open the email, the body text screams even louder at you. You're never quite sure if the author's caps lock button is stuck or if the writer is somehow unaware that THIS IS THE CYBER EQUIVALENT OF SCREAMING IN YOUR FACE WHILE BEING HELD AT ARM’S LENGTH.
The Shouter pretty much always travels on a one-way journey to the trash folder.
Flashing lights, neon colors, moving graphics—this email is the equivalent of welcoming readers to the Las Vegas strip, begging to know if they are ready to get lucky and party.
Unfortunately for the Bling-Leader, this full-body sensory assault usually attacks before the poor viewers have even had time to have their morning coffee. Delete.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the Bling-Leader is the Abstract Artist, who employs vague subject lines like, "A New Frontier" or "Have you ever…?"
You may click, mildly intrigued, and open up an email providing no text other than a single hyper-linked word or phrase like "Hello," "Journeys," "The Unknown," or "The Power of a Smile." The rest of the email consists of single stock photo meant to act as some kind of emotional trigger. And none of this has anything to do with renewing your subscription.
This writer has hidden some secret message within a single block of text of epic-novel proportions. There are no graphics, no pretty pictures—nothing for your poor eyes to cling to other than the endless scroll of black and white.
There’s no way to know how important the message is but to simply wade in. But within seconds you feel your eyes start to glaze over, and your mind begins surreptitiously calculating the number of perfectly bite-sized, informative tweets you could have read during the time you’ve spent reading this email.
The secret of the universe could be hidden somewhere between the longwinded company history and their "exciting new update," but it doesn’t matter because no one will ever get that far.
The email you receive from the Dead-Ender is the inbox equivalent of driving through a bad neighborhood. Details are vague, colors are slightly off, and graphics are dated. It feels sketchy, but you’re already in the body of the email.
And then you hit a link—and go nowhere. You click another—a 404 message pops up with a sad face.
Is this one of those emails they warned you about? You’ll spend the next week paranoid that your hard drive’s about to crash at any moment.
Listen, coders are great. At this point, they pretty much make the world go 'round. But there are a few concepts with which coders struggle, email compatibility being one of them.
The truth is that a lot of us non-techies are complete luddites, and our cracked smartphones haven’t seen an update in something like nine months (we couldn’t possibly risk the storage space dedicated to our Instagram backlogs and "Sunday Morning Drive" playlists.)
So those carefully crafted, elaborately wrought emails some poor coder spent weeks designing? Nothing but a puddle of 1s and 0s on our lesser screens.
The Hacker’s more pretentious cousin is the Computer Crasher. Unbeknownst to poor you, this inbox grenade comes with a 25 MB attachment and seven high-resolution photos. If your operating system isn’t up-to-date, you’re going down. Goodnight, cruel world.
Basically, what we’re saying has been said before: don’t be "that" guy, and don't send "that" email.
Not sure if you’re guilty? Take an email selfie and come to terms with your email marketing strategy. The truth may hurt, but in this case, not as much as the headache induced by the Bling-Leader.
—Alex Lustberg is the CMO at Lyris, a global provider of digital marketing solutions.