Marketing Automation Emails We Love to Hate

Meghan Keaney Anderson
Meghan Keaney Anderson



folderofshameAt HubSpot, we've started a practice of passing around the best and worst examples of marketing automation that find their way into our over-crowded inboxes. Typically, marketing automation emails result from some sort of event you attended or a form you filled out. The good emails we receive get studied, lauded, and -- every once in awhile -- given a proud and rousing slow-clap. The bad ones? They go into the email folder of shame. This month, we thought you'd like to join in.   


Have you gotten some horrific emails as part of a marketing automation campaign? Forward the good, the bad, and the ugly to us at: We'll anonymize them and feature them here. Make sure you tell us why you think they're good or bad and if you want us to include your name and Twitter handle.

The Folder of Shame

The following are some anonymized samples from a few of the doozies we've gotten recently. 

First Line Fails

"It was great to meet you last week at [Event 1] and/or [Event 2]."

If you can't actually remember where you met me, I'm definitely not going to remember your product. Be specific or don't mention it at all.  

"Hello Mike, I trust you are doing great."

Forced sincerity is one of the biggest giveaways that an email is going to be irrelevant. It's fine to show that you care about the recipient's well-being, but the first line should grab the reader's attention, not make him/her wonder who you are and why you are so confident that things are going great. 

Irrelevant Offers

"If you’re in the market for an enterprise telephone system, this comparison guide 
will make your job much easier."

As inbound marketers, we're fans of content offers. If we were in the market for enterprise phone systems, a comparison guide could, in fact, be helpful. The trouble is, Karen -- the HubSpotter who received this email -- got on their mailing list by expressing interest in something completely different. In her words, "I've never been in the market for an enterprise telephone system in my life." Just because someone has converted on one content offer, doesn't mean they should immediately be opted in to all. Make sure your offers match the topics in which your leads have demonstrated a clear interest. 

An Email We Loved

Now, onto the good stuff.  The following is an email from a company that we think got it right. 


Here's why we love this email: 

  • A direct response from the CEO with a way to contact him: In a world of, it's nice to get an email from an individual every once in a while. It shows that the CEO really cares about individual customer satisfaction
  • Humor and genuine personality: This email manages to be personal and endearing without ever saying things like: "I trust you're doing great."
  • Behavior-based emails: This email was clearly a response to an action that Kirsten took. It was tied to her history as a customer (or non-customer). And it worked. Slow-clap, Rue La La, slow-clap

Now it's your turn. Show us marketing automation emails that made you cheer or shutter. Email us at


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