Why tricking people onto your email list is a really bad idea

Don't trick people onto your email listI have been doing some admin today and unsubscribing from various email lists. I am on hundreds of lists, partly because the content may be interesting, and partly because I like to go through people’s sign up processes to see if I can pick up some good case studies.

As part of my business’ spring clean, and I taking myself off the lists that are no longer relevant, useful or interesting.

Part of this process has led me to discover some downright cheeky tactics.

One such example, from a leading American expert in the world of online marketing, caused the air to turn blue in my office.

I clicked the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email and it opened a web page. So far, so standard. The web page asked me to enter my name and email address, rather than picking it up automatically, which is a real bug bear of mine. So, I was a bit irritated by this but duly entered it and clicked the unsubscribe button.

This then opened a web page, which was a bit weird because it is standard practice to see a confirmation of unsubscribing page. I didn’t think too much of it though and moved on to the next victim of my spring clean.

About 10 minutes later, I got an email from the American expert, thanking me for requesting his latest PDF guide.

Whaaaaat? No, I unsubscribed, you kn*b head, I muttered under my breath and deleted the email.

I have just had another email from him, with the subject line “I’m a failure”. I expected this to be an apology for the automated unsubscribe error, but no, it was a standard info / sales email. Hmmm. So, I scrolled to the bottom and once again clicked the unsubscribe button. The page opened and I started to type in my email address again, but this time I noticed his down right sneaky tactic…

The button you clicked after putting in your email address didn’t say unsubscribe, it said subscribe.

That’s a dirty trick.

I won’t tell you the names I called him this time!

He had assumed that no one really reads the text on a unsubscribe page and so got you to opt in to a new list. That isn’t good practice. Sure, it will build up a good number of people on an email list, but people who weren’t interested in the content that was being sent out in the first place.

There appears to be no way of actually unsubscribing from this person’s list, and I, for one, would not want to take advice from this “expert” if that is their standard business growth tactic. It’s deceitful and also against the code of conduct for email marketing.

Growing your email list will mean you grow your number of leads and customers, but this is absolutely not the way to do it.

If you want to know an ethical and effective way, just drop me a line 🙂