Email Subscriptions Gone Wrong

Email is still the most common way of digitally communicating with people and therefore your email list is gold. But email overwhelms some people. It can be daunting to come back from vacation and see over 100 emails in your Inbox. Yikes! And recently, in a newsletter I told you about an awesome new app I found that helps me manage my email ( However, despite my new found love for this app, it could never solve this problem I was about to encounter.

Somehow, I signed up for Mediapost while I was doing research on baby Boomers. Do you know who Mediapost is? Reconsider subscribing to them if you value your InBox. Why? Because they have 68 email segments. So when you sign up for one, you actually sign up for multiples. Every day I was getting an email and unsubscribing from it, yet it seemed like it wasn’t working. I couldn’t understand it because I was getting the confirmation page that said I had been unsubscribed. So I thought maybe there was a lag. But after two weeks, I was done. And to their credit, although each email looked different and was tailored to a different audience, I still didn’t want to receive them –especially daily! Still there was no “unsubscribe from all” button and no digest option. How annoying is that since they are the ones that subscribed me to multiple lists? In a word: very.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in segmenting your email and your social media into useful lists so you can properly market relevant content. However, 68 lists? And your system auto subscribes me to other relevant lists? Not cool. Plus, talk about lack of organization. For example, do they not think that “Engage: Sports” and “Marketing: Men” lists could not be combined? Seems like a no-brainer.

Finally, I bit the bullet and tried to login and settle this once and for all. I needed to unsubscribe from ALL. I eventually manage to log in and click my settings and this is what I see and virtually every box was checked. I can assure you I did not sign up for 68 emails:


Are you kidding me???

This is a classic example of no structure in the marketing team. It seems like every time someone new comes along and suggests an email segment, voila – they create one without asking any questions. Instead, they should be asking, ‘Does this fit into any other list we have?‘ and error on the side of the 80/20 rule; which is that if 80% of people would fit into a category, stick them in that category. Trying to optimize for every person on the planet is not only not feasible, it’s not scalable.

You know what Mediapost needs? They need a BPI (business process improvement) specialist to come in and streamline this email process. (If they read this post and are interested, I highly recommend a former client’s book: The BPI Blueprint).

Bottom line:¬†Whether it’s email, social media, or any process, people like structure. They need structure. In a world of information overload, we’re all trying to cut down on email. Plus, having this many email segments dilutes the brand.


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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.