Reasons to delete all emails

Be reassured, I am not going to start saying that email is dead or this kind of stuff.

I am myself spending hours per day on my emails. It's probably the first thing I do when waking up and the last when I go to bed. I check emails during breakfast, while walking to work, etc... way to much to be honest.

I could argue that I have a job that requires me to be responsive at all times and that all those emails/requests are business critical but still... way too much time spent on emails.

Now, this stands true for my "work email inbox". My personal inbox is a totally different story and is the focus of that article

reason - bottles in the ocean

So, I don’t know for you, but for me, reading emails means scanning through my inbox to identify the actual valuable ones. Reason is, most of those emails are not only not worth reading but not even worth deleting.

The most frustrating is when I miss an important email because it is drown in an ocean of pointless marketing emails.

This is why, every once in a while, usually every 1-2 months, I go through an unsubscribe exercise across my inbox.
I observe in those moments how much junk I have accumulated and I am not talking here about my spam folder but of my main personal inbox.

And as I go through this exercise, I realise how few I have actually opened. As a matter of fact, I have maybe opened 5 emails the last month that wasn’t a bill or something of the sort.

And that's when it stroke me: I mainly use my personal inbox to receive my gas/electricity bills, bank statements, online purchases confirmations and invoices.

Delete all emails

So what about the rest? why aren't they hitting the mark and what's my reasons for unsubscribing?

  • REASON #1: DISAPPOINTED AFTER ACCEPTING A LEAD MAGNET
    Retailers or Hotel chains lured me into a loyalty program with an immediate discount and are now sending me non targeted and non relevant offers.-> unsubscribe
  • REASON #2: HAVEN'T SUBSCRIBED"
    That's obviously bad and illegal but it still happens that I register for something without haven't clearly opted-in for email communications and start getting some pollution. The worst is when they make it really hard to unsubscribe on top of that.-> unsubscribe
  • REASON #3: REDUNDANT
    By default, social networks or even the likes of Netflix notifies me of everything that happens in their space. This could certainly be handy if I hadn't already read it on the push notification that their app sent me 2 hours before.-> unsubscribe
  • REASON #4: JUST TOO MANY...
    As few as twice or once a week can be the breaking point if your emails are not targeted and not hitting the sweet spot with your customers. You don't want to be "top of mind" in a negative sense.-> unsubscribe
  • REASON #5: STOP RUINING MY DIET...
    Just a personal message to UberEats, Deliveroo, Menulog and similar companies trying to get me fat... -> unsubscribe

Certainly, some exceptions exist. Those are notably the ones that I proactively subscribed to in order to get good and valuable content with benefits to me, the reader.
But even though I open them, do I actually read them? Not really to be honest.
They are usually 5-10min long to read and 95% of the time I say to myself that I’ll come back to it later, which of course I don’t. The positive thing though is, because they are valuable, I don’t unsubscribe and the company sending them is staying top of mind for me. And whenever I have a block of time, I might venture on their site/blog or on my RSS aggregator to consume their latest articles. In that case it's typically me pulling the information as opposed to the company pushing it to me, in case I might be interested.

So, with the above in mind, when I read across many articles that "Email is the most performing marketing channel of all", I have a hard time relating to it looking at how limited value I get from my personal inbox.

Now, when I go through those studies in more details:

  • #1 they generally don't call out personal emails vs professional ones, it's all merged.
  • #2 They are interviewing white collards or some millenials who would be professionally active most likely.

Then, if we talk about work email, yes, that's aligned to my experience.

So what happened with my personal inbox? we used to be so close but now so distant...

My take on that is that few years ago, people were still using emails to stay in touch with their acquaintances and had reasons to look at their emails.

Nowadays, facebook, linkedin, skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp and many others are preferred to emails as a mean of communication. Even my mother is all on Wechat & facetime... Now my mother might be an exception but I guess that it's just a matter of time till she's not anymore.

"Not fit for purpose"

Not fit for purpose Another important reason: the fact that my inbox doesn't have a clear purpose. It's all mixed up!!
When I want to talk to friends/family, I use skype/facetime.
When I want to message people then whatsapp/wechat/facebook/linkedin are my preferred channels.
When I want to talk sport or show off on my latest performance, I go to Strava.
When I want to watch beautiful pictures from my friends I have instagram.
When I want to watch videos on a specific topic that's youtube.
etc etc.

In a nutshell, my eyeballs are less and less on my personal inbox and increasingly on other real estates.

So if you want to reason with me and prevent me from unsubscribing once I have consumed your "lead magnet", here are few tips:

  • Tip #1:Yes, your mass email campaign might interest someone "in the lot" but think about the number of people who will unsubscribe because of this email not hitting the sweet spot with them. People's tolerance to generic email content is spreading thin to the point where the consequences are not just neutral, they will be negative towards your brand.
  • Tip #2:Make it contextual to me, not to you. You need to sell me product X because I need it in the moment, not because you need to get rid of your stock.
  • Tip #3:Once it's contextual, make it valuable to me, like "really" valuable and worth my time.
  • Tip #4:Generally speaking, I'd rather pull content and not be pushed some content. So work on your inbound marketing in priority.
  • Tip #5:Marketing to me within transactional emails (eg: bills) is extremely effective as totally in context and legit to my eyes. Note that to do so, you need to consider a platform that can do both transactional and marketing emails. It will be challenging with 2 different platforms in regard to template/content assembling and fatigue management for example.

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