At our recent Email Marketing Roundtable one of the attendees said: “I hear the phrase ‘best practice’ email marketing bandied about, and everyone nods sagely. I’m sure some people could give a definitive list, but where is that list? And is there a list of ‘worst practice’?”

I had a little dose of worst practice this morning, something worth adding to any email marketer’s Things Not To Do Under Any Circumstances Because You Will Have Angry, Disbelieving Customers list.

They may be wonderful in other respects, but real estate website Primelocation.com‘s email strategy sucks.

For one thing, I never knowingly opt in to third party email, but that’s exactly what I get from them – every day. The ‘From’ says Primelocation.com, so there’s no distinction between promotion and their own content.

And due to countless grainy embedded images of funny little viagjsrea pills (or however they spell it this week) I’ve gone into spam numbness these days. I don’t bother unsubscribing much, and the delete key is my best friend.

Back to my tale of frustration, I got fed up today with Primelocation’s impolite email strategy, so I tried unsubscribing. That looked easy enough. Clicked a link, popped up a reply window that was pre-filled, clicked send, breathed a sigh of relief.

But wait, I then received an email, going on and on about how I need to be exactly sure of the email address I sent them, because if it doesn’t match exactly, blah blah blah. They really drill it home that they only have an automated system and there is no room for error.

And here comes the clincher. This ‘Unsubscribe’ email kindly informs me that:

“Your email address, exactly as it appears in your ‘from’ address, will be placed on our suppression list. Emails to that address should cease within 5 to 30 days.”

Five to 30 days? Are you kidding? With all their automated precision surely they could do better than a vague ‘should’ and a limbo period spanning an astonishing 25 days?

So for our email delegate yesterday, there you go. Add this one to your worst practice list…

Worst Practice Email Marketing Activity #1
Unsubscribing, Tactic 3.4.1
Forcing your customer to receive your third party emails for 30 days after they’ve unsubscribed.

Unbelievable.

And to the other part of the original question, some of those best practice resources can be found on our Email Marketing topic page. The Roundtable notes are also available to download.