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10 things no-one wants to buy from a marketing email

The numbers are in. People buy a lot of things because of marketing emails.

Image credit: Paramount Pictures


According to the Data and Marketing Association (DMA), average return on investment for marketing emails in the UK has risen to £30.01 for every £1 spent so far in 2017 (up from £29.64 in 2016). Those are impressive numbers, especially when compared to the ROI of marketing on the internet’s social media giants.

With ROI numbers like that, every company in the world should be trying to market their products via email and claim their piece of this lucrative marketing channel’s pie.

Not so fast.

While many companies, products, and services are perfect for email marketing (which explains why Phrasee’s phones rarely stop ringing), there are some out there for whom email marketing might be a slightly awkward fit.

Let’s take a look…

10 Things no-one wants to buy from a marketing email


1) Milk

Putting aside the fact that milk is a conceptually bizarre beverage for a moment, let’s look at the other reasons milk would be a tough sell via email: It’s boring, it goes bad really quickly, and there’s just something creepy about someone delivering milk to your house.


2) Toilet paper

If email marketing personalisation, targeting, and relevance ever get sophisticated enough to calculate when we will be running low on bog roll, send us a reminder email, and make sure that a new package is waiting at our doors just in the nick of time, count us in. That’s a service few could say “no” to. Until that happens, however, every moment spent not thinking about toilet paper can be considered a moral victory. The subject lines alone would surely put us off our dinners.


3) Dental services

When we are wilfully ignoring the fact that we are due for a checkup, the last thing any of us want is a reminder email from one of these overpaid sadists. Keep these scheduled torture session reminders in the snail mailbox where they belong. Checking one’s email should not be a source of fear.


4) Pornography

Ha ha! Just kidding. Plenty of porn gets sold via email marketing (we’ve heard). The smut industry is probably at least 55% responsible for the growth of pretty much every internet communication channel, after all.

5) Human organs

There is no doubt that if one were attempting to sell replacement organs to the terminally ill, and one could find a way to get a marketing email offering the right organ in front of the right person on the right day, such an email would have a high probability of resulting in a sale. But what are the odds, really? Do terminally ill patients awaiting transplants bother to check their emails? And if someone is in the market for an organ, how likely is it that they will be waiting around for the right offer to arrive in their inbox? This proposition is just bad maths.


6) More emails

Look, we love a good marketing email as much as anyone (probably much more so, in fact). And in this world of capitalism run amok, we are sure there is someone, somewhere out there in the digital ether, working on a startup that generates revenue by charging people for marketing emails, certain that financial success is just around the corner. Could that person be right? In these topsy-turvy days, who knows?

7) Precious gems

Trust in e-commerce is much higher than it once was. However, we all have to draw the line somewhere. We predict that a marketing email comprised of amazing offers on precious gems from some far-flung country would raise red flags for anyone who opened it (or at least it should).

8) Potato salad



9) Anxiety

Image credit: 20th Century Fox


We’re pretty sure the world today has all it can handle, no matter how amazing your subject lines may be.


10) A pet

Some animals are jerks. Choosing an animal without first vetting its personality is a dodgy proposition at best. For that reason alone, selling pets via marketing email, a concept which on the surface seems to hold much promise, will probably never pay off.


So, for anyone looking to maximise the email marketing potential of any of the millions of products and services not included in this list, give us a call, and find out how Phrasee can help you do it better. To those looking to unload some human organs or potato salad (or both), we bid you a hearty “Good day!”.

Image credit: 20th Century Fox



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