Sunday, 28 March 2010 22:35 Written by Jane Garee
Are you or your company perceived as an Email Buddy or an Email Bully?
Paper newsletters are so passé you can practically hear “dinosaur” being yelled if and when a prospective customer gets their hands on one. Although direct mail is still frequently incorporated into a company’s marketing strategy, for so many businesses, written content is nearly one hundred percent done through online channels.
Want to get the best return on your email “database”? Just remember, that database is full of people! Put yourself in a position so that your emails are at best, welcome and at worst, ignored. Anything beyond that can cause problems. Here are a few things to be aware of:
Sending too many. You know what I mean. You buy Great Aunt Gertie a lovely porcelain figurine for her eighty-fifth birthday and all of a sudden, “Perfect Porcelain Presents” is bombarding you with their newsletters, promotional info and special discounts. First you’re annoyed, then you feel stalked. Soon you’re seething with anger. Not good. Think of this when you are in the “sending position” with your company’s emails. Nobody wants scads of emails, especially when you know your first interaction with this service or company may be your last due to a special occasion or one-time need. Even if they don’t mind getting consistent emails from you, there is a clear boundary between consistent and overly frequent. Do some market research for your industry or product to determine how many is not too many. This can actually vary, so take some time to learn “best practices” in your area of expertise.
Not getting permission from the recipient. You may think at worst, you will just be annoying. Wrong. Welcome to the wonderful new world of online fines and penalties. Email must be permission based. What does that mean? Exactly what it says. You need permission from the intended recipient that it is okay to send them an email. Going to a networking function, collecting a handful of business cards and then emailing them all about your company is not permission based. If you want to email anyone, ask them in person, ask them via email or ask them to sign up but don’t assume if you know their email address, it’s okay to start sending information intended for the masses. You wouldn’t show up at strangers’ houses for dinner unannounced and uninvited just because you saw their address in a directory would you? You get the point.
Encourage and participate in interaction. You’d be surprised how many people will actually answer an email from you personally if you respond positively to their mass email. Nobody is exempt from wanting to know that what they are doing matters, is making a difference or put a smile in your day. If you read something you like on any social media venue or on an email distribution list you signed up to receive, go ahead and email that person and let them know. (Watch this with the social media sites, though. A comment on the site might be better). Be sincere and keep it brief but a genuine compliment or inquiry to find out more about their company is usually welcome. And you never know, they may want to know more about you!