Use Louis C.K. as your email marketing guide

How many times has a cashier asked you, “What’s your email address?”

You don’t hear, “Would you like to be put on our mailing list?” because the answer to that is an easy and polite, “No, thank you.” It’s asked in a way that you’re so caught off guard you can’t even think to respond with something like,

I know this approach isn’t the employee’s idea. I didn’t spring forth into my career without doing some time in retail. I know there’s a certain script they have to follow. If a secret shopper comes in and you haven’t demanded that person’s email address upon check-out, you’ll get written up. And you can be sure this goes on your permanent record, which means you’ll never get into a good school and you’ll never find a job where you don’t have to insist on an email address from everyone you encounter.

And is that how businesses want to obtain personal access to their customers? By force? It just doesn’t seem the best route. That’s just asking for a frantic “unsubscribe” after the first email hits the inbox.

Louis C.K.

Louis CK email
Louis C.K.’s email sign-up form.


Constant contact had a post about Louis CK and how awesome he is at email marketing (he’s pretty awesome at most things, too). He doesn’t automatically sign you up for his emails just because you’re making a purchase from his website. He actually has it default to, “No, leave me alone forever, you fat idiot.” He wants you to want to hear from him. And I was so excited when I finally did!

Check Your Frequency

Constant Contact asked 1,400 customers why they opt-out of email subscriptions and 69% said they receive too many emails from the organization.

Papa John’s

Papa Johns email
Papa John’s has a few too many friendly pizza reminders.

As you can see from my inbox, Papa John’s believes a pizza offer every day is reasonable. (I have since unsubscribed.) I haven’t ordered from them in over a year. Maybe they think I forgot pizza exists.

If a customer is generous enough to allow you access to their email address, show them your appreciation by sending them well-timed, worthwhile emails. Give customers offers they can’t receive anywhere else, advance access to sales, and show some personality. Do not hound them to order pizzas, day in-day out.

Give Customer’s Great Offers

If the offers are good enough, I’m willing to give up all kinds of personal information. Take Walgreens for example. They probably know more about my bodily functions than I do thanks to their Balance Rewards card. I accept that because the deals I get with the card are awesome!

I asked our resident email expert Jami Sinclair for a few things that are important to her while she’s laying out an email.

  1. Content Hierarchy

Giving your email a clear purpose gives your subscriber a clear call-to-action.

  1. Screen Optimization

Optimize your email for all screen sizes. Use large fonts, big buttons, simple layout and streamlined content.

A lot of things go into keeping our clients on everyone’s opt-in list. At SA, we look at things from every angle. We don’t just focus on how nice something is going to look, but how well it will perform and what and the expected ROI. We strive to create emails with a mindset like Louis CK. We want to send something useful that people look forward to receiving.

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