Email marketing campaigns can be highly effective when targeted well, used sparingly, and presented in a professional manner. But as beneficial as they can be, they can also cause a lot of frustration for the recipient, embarrassment for the sender, and damage to a company’s bottom line. With these 9 Worst Marketing Emails Actually Received
, we hope you can learn both what to do — and what not to do – with regard to your own marketing efforts. Good luck!
1. Anonymous Dance Instructor Definitely NOT Sleeping with his Students
A reader at MainStreet.com
sent in her take on the dumbest email ever sent by a company
, and while the site would not provide names, it did give a few juicy details — or not so juicy, depending on how you want to look at it — on what made the owner’s missive a big-time marketing no-no. According to the email, the owner of a dance studio sent an email to a listserv of thousands, pitching some exciting classes that were on the horizon for the New Year as well as a few TMI details on his relationship to (wife?) Karen. Apparently, despite what the listserv may have heard, he was not maintaining an affair with a student.
“I know that I dance with many of the students but there is no significance to that dancing and I would appreciate if you would refrain from starting such rumors,” the studio owner continued. “And Happy New Year, everyone.”
Even if the owner’s personal life reveal hadn’t been so, well, revealing, this would have still been a marketing message he should have never sent. It’s okay to be conversational and folksy with your customers, but this email brought way too much of the sender’s life into a business communication that was intended to promote upcoming dance classes. There is a line separating folksy from TMI, and we think he crossed it in a big way.
2. You Have Been Accepted to UC San Diego (Kidding)
In 2009, admissions personnel at the University of California San Diego
(UCSD) fired off 28,000 acceptance emails before realizing they had the wrong group. The “administrative error,” UCSD admissions director Mae Brown called it in comments to The Los Angeles Times, gave hope to students like Cole Bettles
. Bettles was beaming over his false acceptance. According to the newspaper, his mother booked a hotel in San Diego, and the extended family made plans to meet him on campus. Right before bed on the same day he got the good news, he checked his email again to find a retraction.
Universities may be institutes of higher education, but that does not exempt them from effective marketing. And the most effective marketing that a college or university of any kind can establish is a positive relationship with students and potential students from one generation to the next. While we’ve all sent an email to the wrong person at some point in our lives, those mistakes probably didn’t have the same negative effect on the recipient as disappointing close to 30,000 college hopefuls. UCSD didn’t sink as a result of the error, but given the fact this story made national headlines, we’re betting they would like a do-over, so not to go down in modern history as “that school that accidentally accepted everyone.”