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Why Are They Sending Me Irrelevant Emails?

By: Elaine Fogel



You’d think the big corporations have plenty of money to invest in their email marketing programs. Yet for some reason, I still receive totally irrelevant emails from several of them.

Yesterday, one arrived from Hilton HHonors:
Act fast and save your Hilton HHonors™ points. 
Dear Elaine Fogel,
This is a special reminder that time is running out on your HHonors account. To keep your account active, you must earn HHonors points at least once every 12 months. Otherwise, all of your points may be forfeited.
Because you are a valued member, we’d like to give you a final chance to save all of your accumulated points. There are lots of easy ways to do so, but you must act by August 01, 2013:
  • Stay at any of the 3,000-plus Hilton Worldwide hotels
  • Earn points with one of our many partners
  • Apply now for the Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express
  • Apply now for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card
  • Purchase HHonors points online
  • Treat yourself to something special at the Hilton HHonors™ Shopping Mall.
We hope you’ll continue to enjoy all the privileges of HHonors membership. HHonors is the only program that lets you earn both hotel points and airline miles for the same stay and enjoy hotel rewards with No Blackout Dates. You can also redeem HHonors points for exciting travel and merchandise rewards, and enjoy extra care and attention every time you stay with the Hilton Worldwide when you’re a member.
For more information on your HHonors account or to book your next stay, please sign in at HiltonHHonors.com.
We look forward to welcoming you again soon.
(From the)
Senior Vice President – Customer Marketing
Hilton Worldwide”
Now ask me how many points I stand to lose unless I take action by August 1. 0 – zero – none – rien – nada!
But it took me a few minutes to look up my user name and password before I could log in and discover that fact. Now, one could build the case that Hilton did get me to log into my account, if that was its intent. But with nothing there, it kind of ticked me off that I wasted my time.
Here’s another example. The airlines to which I subscribe, often send me emails announcing their fare sales.  That’s fine, except I don’t have an opportunity to select my departure preferences.
A recent email from United Airlines lists 23 sample airfares from 16 departure cities. Of the 16 cities, only one was from Phoenix (where I live). Am I interested in knowing what the airfare is from Albuquerque, NM to San Francisco, CA? No.
How about Palm Springs, CA to Los Angeles, CA? Uh-uh. So, why is United sending me this irrelevant and useless information?
If the airline offered me the opportunity to select which departure cities to include, then that would make sense. I could check on my family’s locations to see if they could visit me—but not if the email tells me the fare from their cities to Boston or New York!
You get the point. Relevance is crucial to e-mail marketing messages in every organization, from small businesses and nonprofit organizations to large corporations. If marketers don’t take relevance into consideration, then the inevitable response will be increased “unsubscribes.”
Do you receive irrelevant emails, too? Share examples!
Published: May 24, 2013

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