How to waste your e-mail marketing budget in 2 seconds?

We have people who talk about effective email marketing, ineffective email marketing, and spamming. Today I received an email from "iAgora team". I don't have any reasons to believe this is spam, because I did remembered the brand name, as some time back I used their website for getting some information.
But the question is about "how effective their email campaign was?"

Subject line: Merry Christmas. Win an iPod

Hmmmm.. Not bad. It does not rhyme or "go together" (Christmas & iPod?), but it did captured my attention. Nice job.

Dear Mr. [My Name],
As you know iAgora is about international mobility but there are many things we can't offer directly on the site. So we are going to expand our services with special offers from our international partners.
The first offer is an iPod Nano, so you can enjoy your international experiences even more! Read below to participate.

All the best,
The iAgora Team

First thing is "I didn't know iAgora is about international mobility". How did you assume that I know it? Apart from that, the message is precise and clean. The best part is "Read below to participate". That leads the reader for some engagement with their brand (iAgora), and encourage some action to the reader. (Action: Read below!)

Now, when I hear "Read below to participate", I "EXPECT" some more details about things like; what this competition is all about?, who can take part?, how the winners are selected?, am I eligible?, more and more questions. (If I am not interested, then there’s no problem at all. I will just delete it. Problem is, I’m interested in their deal!).

Now, the iAgora team has done all the hard part, of grabbing my attention and arousing my interest of “reading below”, I then scrolled down the email to see more details on "how to participate".

And this is what I had, when I "read below" (as they’v instructed me to do)

Travel the World with your iPod Nano

Enjoy your favourite music and carry bits of home with you anywhere you are.

The ideal companion for your international adventures.

Now that, after getting my precious attention on their offer, what iAgora pushing me to do is "Click here if you don't want to participate or receive other offers "

Funny, isn’t it?

Remember, they said "Read below to participate". And when I "read below", what I see is what I have to do, IF I DON"T WANT TO PARTICIPATE.

There's no any other link on the email, to read "more details about the competition". The one and only link posted on the mail is for "unsubscribing". There's no even a link to the official home page of

I followed that "one and only link" in hope of finding some information about the deal. And this is what I found. Again, the only thing that I could do on their website is "unsubscribing" from their mailing list!

Where's the most important part of an email marketing campaign? Call to action. Is iAgora's desired response for this email campaign is "unsubscribing”? Where are the information you promised me? You said, "Read below to participate"!

If what they are after is encouraging me to unsubscribe, this is a good example of a successful email marketing campaign.

Key learning points

If you make a promise to your reader, in an email marketing message, never forget to deliver what you've promised. Worst thing that you can do is, promising one thing and delivering completely the opposite side (as iAgora did here. Promise information on how to participate and delivering, what you have to do if you don't want to participate).

Use your message positively. Don't show your reader the way for negative responses (Like unsubscribing). Remember you pay a lot of money, to your email-marketing agency, to do all these stuff. You pay that, to get a positive reaction from the receivers. Not, to invite them for unsubscribing from your mailing list.

The hard part is to get your reader to click on a link in your mail. But, after doing that hard part, if the only option you reader is having is the “unsubscribe” button, then you have done something seriously wrong.

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