No, I’m Not Getting Married – Just Annoyed

Posted by Bonnie Malone on

I received an email today from a well known bridal company. It wasn’t a bad email, in fact, it was rather well designed and sent with an appropriate subject line. The problem is that this is the sixth email I’ve received from this bridal company in the past three weeks – and I am not getting married, nor do I plan on becoming engaged to be married anytime in the foreseeable future.

How, then, did I begin receiving wedding-related emails? Because my daughter will be the flower girl in an upcoming family wedding, and I was asked by the bride to assist in finding an appropriate dress for my 4-year-old to wear. When browsing this particular bridal website, registration was required in order to save dresses to my “favorites” list. So, I willingly registered and subscribed to receive their email – selecting flower girl dresses as a shopping reason/preference.

As a new subscriber, I fully expected to receive wedding-related email from this company. However, every one of the six emails I’ve received has been messaged as if I was a bride-to-be. What baffles me is why this company would assume that every subscriber on their list is a bride, particularly when they are collecting preferences that note otherwise. They have sent the same mass-messaged content for invitations, bridal gowns, and even third party honeymoon travel deals (after I opted out of third party messages during the subscribe process – but that’s a topic for another blog posting!).

While it is probable that a high percentage of this company’s subscriber base is a bride-to-be, narrowing the message to speak to that audience segment only may very well be isolating (and irritating!) those outside of the targeted group. So, before you send another email to your entire mailing list, let’s take a refresher lesson from Effective Communication 101: Know your audience.

  • Use your preferences. If you offer preferences or ask for interests at the point of subscribe, use them to determine the best segments for each campaign type.
  • Incorporate web behaviors. Tap into your web-behavior data to glean subscriber interests and recent actions, and then use that data to target the message.
  • Ask the audience. Surveys can offer a great deal of insight into your subscriber base. Include specific questions about content and frequency, and then use the results to inform your strategy.
  • Leverage feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your subscribers. Incorporating tools such as an editor’s email address for dialog can produce valuable responses.

Aside from the fact that I am now an incredibly annoyed and disengaged former subscriber of this bridal company (yes, I unsubscribed from their list), this unfortunate experience has done well to remind us that segmentation is only good if it’s implemented. Download our recent ecommerce study and learn more about what leading retailers do (and don’t do) to build value through email.


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About Bonnie Malone

Bonnie is passionate about excellent customer experience. With a background in marketing, merchandise buying, and retail management, she helps companies stay relevant amid the changing digital landscape. Bonnie leads the knowledge and consulting teams at Return Path, the global leader in email deliverability. She is an active Email Experience Council committee member, featured speaker for events, and writes monthly for the Return Path blog and TotalRetail.

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