The Internet is a jungle, especially for businesses. If you’re running a company that is blessed with a fair amount of online customers, or even just regular ones who like to connect with you on the Web there are some strict guidelines you do not want to cross.
Among them are specific emails to avoid sending. We could go into incredible depth by also covering proper social media use, how communicate online, branding, and so much more, but only the business killing emails are going to be addressed here.
Emails to avoid at all costs are:
- The Snooze Buttons
- I Didn’t Mean To’s
- Better’n You Emails
- ID Theft Waiting to Happen!
- Ranty Political Junk
Let us tackle them one at a time.
1. The Snooze Buttons
Your blog, messages, and everything else you do needs to be interesting. There are so many businesses that simply bore their customers to sleep because they are boring.
A fantastic example of this was TreePressPaper, which made paper. While paper is a product of yesteryear in the 21st Century this company took it a step closer to obsolescence by having the lowest prices, the best industrial record, and the most boring way of conveying that.
At one point they had a Twitter following of roughly 96,000, and an active blog, but they removed the blog, and the Twitter account was shut down last year.
Had this company been more engaging the result could have been that the 220 jobs it supported would still being in place.
2. I Didn’t Mean To’s
We all make mistakes, and it is good to own them, but some companies have been making the fatal mistake of purposely messing something up, and then following it up with a bargain in response.
One example was a flier that was mailed out from a Scandinavian music group called The Cardigans. In 1995 this group did a direct mail marketing of a B-side song they wanted to force onto the charts. They sent a flier to 30,000 homes with the wrong information! Then two days later they sent another piece of mail apologizing, and offering a coupon to get the cassette tape for free with a mail-in rebate form.
Aside from the fact that many people don’t like junk mail, they particularly do not want bad junk mail. This was a complete failure, and the result was that sales of a free product were very low.
3. Better’n You Emails
People love a great deal, but what they want more than anything else is respect.
There are examples around the web of customers receiving messages where they are being demeaned as though they are nothing but an annoyance.
This is not something a business can recover from. Customers have power in their purses, and they can take their money and spend it elsewhere, particularly with the Web at their fingertips. It might have been at one time that a business in certain communities would be able to get away with treating people badly, but not only do people have other places they can shop; they can also put that company blast.
One such example is a property management firm in Jacksonville, NC called Advantage Gold. The Yelp ratings for this company are 90% negative, making the positive reviews suspect.
Just 10 years ago this company could have gotten away with their consistent flaws of “being rude” and “absolutely the worst,” but property owners today in this area can see that they won’t be taken care of, and that they will be “treated like trash.”
4. ID Theft Waiting to Happen!
The very worst thing you can do is reveal private information on accident. This could occur by mistakenly releasing information on employees, or by communicating with someone regarding a personal matter with an unencrypted message.
ID theft is very serious, and the results of a simple slip could be years of pain and heartache for a customer whose only mistake was thinking that they would be okay shopping through your site.
Thankfully, Outlook has a means by which emails with certain information will be caught prior to being sent out. It could occur because of a bank account number, Social Security Number, or other crucial data that must be protected.
5. Ranty Political Junk
Lastly, but certainly not least, our top 5 here contains the need to stress that no business (unless this is their industry) should be going political. Customers are generally politically under-informed, and they take their beliefs very seriously. Additionally, many simply do not want to hear about it.
People want to know what you can do for them – through your great business that they need something from – and not what you think of a particular President’s [insert latest thing], or the First Lady’s [slow-news-cycle-fake-drama].
There are relevant things one can say that is political, and those should be embraced. For example, after the Wall Street Bailout many banks were proud to say they didn’t need government money to stay afloat because they had been responsible. That is good marketing. Another great example would be if during the healthcare debate the American Legion let their community know that they will fight to make sure Veterans Hospitals remain unaffected, which they have, and they can only do so with the support of “members like you. So if you’re not a member…”
The point is that when you cross the line into partisan politics you become a troll to many people. Again, this only applies if you are not in the business of politics.
Being able to safely recognize these email traps will help you run your company well. Marketing is too important for big mistakes, because big mistakes cost money, and lost revenue equates to less employment.
You can prevent this from happening by being a good steward of your email practices, which is a way to serve your customers as well as the employees who count on you.
Guest article written by: Helen Cartwright, www.helencartwright.com
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