VistaPrint provides blueprint for how to irritate your customers via email

It’s not a good idea to say, “Dear God…no!” when you open your inbox, is it? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

A few weeks ago, I ordered some new business cards and needed them quickly and pretty inexpensively. I found VistaPrint which is an online resource for all kinds of things for people in my situation.  I got the cards quickly and was very happy with the process…until I started getting emails from them.

But it wasn’t just one email, but a steady stream of one per day. It’s ridiculous and email abuse. Before I finally lay the ‘unsubscribe’ smack down in a few minutes, I wanted to take you a bit inside of what I’ve been getting:

-Friday, 9/26: ‘Everything Must Go FREE – 24 Hours Left!’
This was an offer for a bunch of free items like postcards and rubber stamps. While the email didn’t say if there was a purchase required, it’s to be assumed. Warning to marketers: sometimes the word ‘free’ is perceived as ‘cheap’ by consumers.

VistaPrint wanted to make sure I knew about their offers...every day!

VistaPrint wanted to make sure I knew about their offers...every day!

-Saturday, 9/27: ‘Congratulations Josh, Today is your Lucky Day!’
Oh, it is? Don’t send me a marketing email on Saturday…just don’t. I was invited to play the Lucky Sales Event. Man, I really am blessed. Free items one day, my lucky day the next. Gosh, I’m glad I bought those business cards!

-Monday, 9/29: ‘Huge Blowout – Everything FREE including Shipping!’
Thankfully, they gave my inbox a break on Sunday, but were right back at it on Monday. If someone was enticed to buy on Friday, wouldn’t they need a break on Saturday, Monday, etc.? Vice versa, if I wasn’t interested, what are the odds these repeated blasts to the ‘box are going to change my mind?

-Tuesday, 9/30: ‘F-R-E-E!’
Dear God…make it stop.

-Wednesday, 10/1: ‘Hello Josh’
The straw that broke the email camel’s back. This free Red Hot Inventory Sales Spectacular pushed me over the edge.

There is no reason to email your customers every single day…N-O-N-E. This is probably as major a violation against building trust with an email list as I’ve ever seen or experienced and I’d be hard-pressed to recommend VistaPrint to anyone in the future because of it. There’s being cute with offers and then, there is  being irritating.



7 responses to “VistaPrint provides blueprint for how to irritate your customers via email

  1. Josh,

    I actually think that VistaPrint has numerous compaints on the BBB for their emails. See general complaint below regarding VistaPrint.
    “BBB processed a total of 415 complaint(s) about this business in the last 36 months”
    Their emails drive me up a WALL.


  2. That is a ton! They provide a great service…why can’t they figure this out?

  3. I’ve been the victim of this too. Got a feeling their email strategy is segmented & we’ve fallen into an aggressive acquisition bucket labelled: “these guys are never going to buy – fire on all cylinders!”

  4. I use Vistaprint for a lot of stuff, but I too hate their mass mailings…drives me nuts.

  5. I work for a data/lead company…VistaPrint wanted to test our data/leads…the test was limited to analytical testing per a written agreement…VistaPrint literally stole the data and used it in their marketing w/o paying…once they received the data (to test only) they would never return our calls…unethical folks for sure.

  6. Michael Muscarella

    Let’s see, 415 complaints in 36 months. They add about 1.2 million new names to file each quarter.

    I would say if they lose a few hundred or so due to complaints and maybe 10,000 more who just drift away, why would they care.

    What they are doing works. Some would call the email list management there as turn and burn. as long as the new customer funnel is filling quicker than it is emptying, why not?

    • Michael – define ‘works’. You realize that any spam complaints are bad for overall list health and thus, are an issue for keeping clean MTAs. The idea behind email marketing isn’t to assume you’re going to irritate a group of people, but to offer value that insures they won’t consider arrivals to the inbox as spam. You will definitely have people unsubscribe, but if they’re having that many spam complaints, that’s a problem.

      An email a day is too much, plain and simple.

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