Is Your Email an Invited Guest or a Drunken Frat-boy?

Posted by Neil Schwartzman on

I have been thinking about the analogy between the email inbox and the postal mailbox we all have. It doesn’t work.

It is true that the inbox is a replacement for where we receive news about friends, since handwritten letters seem to have been all but replaced by email (and to a lesser degree, instant messages, and text messaging).

But the inbox isn’t your mailbox, it is your living room, a far more intimate and personal space. It is where your friends can drop by unannounced, and invited guests are welcome.

Now, when an invited guest comes into my home, and I suspect yours as well, they must ring the doorbell, be polite on their way in and during their visit, perhaps bring me a bottle of wine or other consideration, and thank me upon departure.

In other words, permission, value, respect, a timely unsubscribe, and relevancy of content.

Are you a valued guest in the inboxes of your subscribers? Do you ask permission to be there? Does the value of your mailings outweigh the intrusion? Do you honor unsubscribes faster than the legally proscribed limit? (You are being asked to leave, do you really think sticking around is a nice thing to do, or will it garner some concern and complaints?)

Do you act like a honored guest, or a drunken frat-boy who shows up for the fifth time this week with a keg at 1 a.m., pounds on the door, breaking in through a window, vomiting on the couch, and finally passing out on the kitchen floor, and refusing to leave when roused?

Would someone even passingly describe your mailings this way? Or, do your subscribers look forward to the arrival of your email with keen anticipation of something fun, new, and yes, desired?

How you act throughout the entire relationship with your subscribers has a direct effect on your reputation. They do tell their friends.


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