Fake forward emails will obliterate your customer's trust

The other day I got an email from someone whose email list I'm subscribed to. The subject line looked like:

Fwd: bonus business workshop (regularly $495)

Since I forward emails from clients and business contacts regularly, I opened it up to see what it was about. I wasn't aware of any business workshop I missed.

About 10 seconds in I realized that I was suckered into opening that email.

It contained a straight-up sales pitch from the sender's friend. The friend was adding their product to the senders product as a limited time bonus.

What followed was a sales letter with all the gimmicks.



Countdown image.

Bold text in every paragraph.

The only things missing where "Dear friend" and the yellow highlight.

I'm not sure which was faster...

  1. The demolishing of trust I had in the sender,
  2. Or how quickly I unsubscribed and blacklisted them from emailing me again.

I think the trust evaporation might have been a bit faster. But it was one of those "which falls faster, a pound of iron or a pound of feathers?"

What makes it even worse was that I was a customer of theirs for about two years and spent several hundred dollars with them already.

That's how fast you can lose a customer when you abuse their trust. The sender doesn't even know this happened and I'm not going to tell them.

Sure they probably got a great open rate on that email. Probably a high click rate too since the unsubscribe link counts as a click.

But by tricking their subscribers with that subject line and fooling them, they insulted their entire subscriber base.

It will probably take at least 6 months to repair. Maybe upwards of a year or two.

You can avoid a misstep like this one if you remember to keep your customers in mind and remember what it feels like to be on their side.

For example emailing a repeat customer about your "new customer discount" is going to piss them off and make them an ex-customer. Same as trying to trick your customers into opening your email.

You really need to understand the behavior of your customers to avoid mistakes like that. Repeat Customer Insights can help you understand the larger buying behavior of your customers.

Eric Davis

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Topics: Customer behavior Email marketing

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