When should a web app send marketing emails?

I know this has been happening for a while but I’ve recently started to notice this quite a bit.

Web apps, usually with SAAS based business models send out recurring marketing emails to active and inactive users. These emails hit your inbox like clockwork. Usually asking you to restart using their product, purchase a paid plan, try out a new feature etc.

Sometimes the frequency of these marketing emails can be smart, driven by user activity, nevertheless the emails remain unsolicited and purely marketing / advertising in purpose.

However I can’t remember when was the last time GitHub sent me a pure marketing email. Or Google, or any other trustworthy internet brand doing the same. Then why should your web app do so?

Of course being an app founder / creator myself — Review19 — I can understand the urge. You want engagement, you want your registered users to come back. You want to help them understand and use the app better. Bottom line, you want more traction.

But isn’t your email inbox your personal space. Should you take advantage of the trust your users have placed in you in sharing their email addresses?

Out of respect, Review19 wouldn’t send you an marketing emails (Disclaimer: Some team collaboration features on Review19 do trigger notifications).

What’s required is probably a balance. You don’t want to send out a lot of these emails as people are more internet savvy, likely to ignore / mark as spam, and you really risk hurting your brand.

If you’re in it for the long run, it’s critical to win trust and sending out too many marketing emails is one of the quicker ways to lose user trust.

What do you think? What’s the acceptable etiquette for this

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