Lazy email marketing: Classmates.com

Anyone who has read more than a couple of the blog posts here knows that I often point out when I think someone is doing a great job: Sidebar, Clever Corporate Team Pages, artists like Vania Zouravliov and so forth. I have also at times pointed out where I think companies have failed, such as Facebook’s Friend Verifier app and Bath & Body Works’ lack of research…Today’s post is from the latter group, and concerns Classmates.com.

To be honest, I havent accessed my Classmates profile in YEARS….probably not since my high school reunion 6 years ago, and I had forgotten I even had an account. But when I closed down my old Yahoo email a few months back, all those emails started coming here, to my current email, and among them were the weekly promo emails from Classmates.

Well, instead of weekly, I should probably say WEAKly.

Now understand, I’m not speaking out of turn here….I have been building marketing emails for almost a decade now, so I know whereof I speak.

Classmates call to action these past few months, seems to be along the lines of “Hey, come check out all the folks from school that have recently joined! Remember {insert name}???”

On its surface, this is a great idea, since the whole idea of Classmates is to re-join you with folks from your past…sort of like Facebook, but with the folks from 11th grade History II that you forgot even existed.

The problem is, I havent once remembered a single person they claim I should

Its NOT because age has dulled my memory, its simply because there is little chance that I even crossed paths with the people Classmates is trying to get me to remember. Classmates recommends people, that by all rights, you probably never would have known.

EXAMPLE: Here is the email that they sent me today:

Classmates.com promo email

Classmates.com promo email

In this email (I’ve blurred out the years since I dont even KNOW these folks) Brenda R and David C graduated two years BEFORE me, and Lynda G and Eddie P graduated three years BEFORE of me. And I’ve gotten emails with folks who graduated as much as FIVE years before or after me. FIVE. We wouldn’t even have been in the same high school at the same time.

Now, although it’s not inconceivable that I, as a budding freshman, may have made friends with a senior or two in my first year at high school, statistically, its less likely than say someone a year ahead or behind me….which is what Classmates always fails to show me. I have not, not even once, seen a “Do you remember….?” email from Classmates containing a person from either the year before, the year of, or the year after I graduated, in the months I have been getting these emails.

Has Classmates, a site that purportedly knows High School better than anyone else forgotten what it was like to BE in high school? The vast majority of the people you knew were in your own grade….simply because…try and follow me
here: THEY WERE IN YOUR OWN GRADE.

I point this out because it is honestly wasted potential. If I, a person who spends 90% of his waking hours connected to the net, cannot find a reason to click on your email….how are you going to grab the attention of the casual viewer? Especially when you’re running a paid service where attention equals revenue?

Perhaps Classmates would be better served to point out the new services they have added since my last login, or a coupon for discounted membership, or a list of hot features.

Because, asking me to come and pay my money to reconnect with people I never knew? That’s not very effective. And it’s not going to make your company very much money.

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