In the past several months, I’ve noticed quite a few overly-aggressive companies making some elementary mistakes that resulting in their losing my interest and my willingness to continue receiving material from them. They spent much time and money drawing me in, capturing my interest with good information, building a relationship that could lead to future sales… only to blow it.
What are the three mistakes they made? And are you guilty of any of them?
1. Sending too many emails
Once you have built a newsletter or mailing list, it’s really easy to bang out a new email every day or two. Why not blanket all those customers with information on what you have to sell, or remind them two or three (or more) times about an upcoming sale or a product you have on special?
Unless each email is carefully written, compelling, and useful, customers will quickly tire of seeing your name in their inboxes. First they will quit opening your emails. Then they will start to delete them unread, or set a filter to drop them into a junk folder automatically. In the worst case, they’ll start pushing the SPAM button when they see yet another “Come to my big sale on Saturday!!!!” from you. And too many SPAM markings, as you know, will cause problems with your email service provider.
Don’t annoy your customers. Send no more than once per week. Make sure that each email is informative and individually written (no copy and paste from last week’s broadcast). Most of all, make sure that each email provides some incentive for your customer to open and read it — information on new products, perhaps a free project they can create or a coupon good for a limited time. Make your newsletters something they look forward to instead of rolling eyes and hitting “delete.”
2. Sending the wrong emails
Late last year I joined a particular professional organization which offered a private membership site with information not available to the public. There were other benefits, such as monthly teleclasses and a print magazine. Joining this organization automatically put me on the “send regular updates” mailing list, and they did a good job of it — informative, timely emails, not too frequent, well-written and interesting.
Then, in midsummer…. The Mistake.
Perhaps this group purchased a list from somewhere else, or perhaps they compiled a list of prominent names interested in their particular topic. They made the unforgivable mistake of not checking this new list against their current subscriber list.
I began getting frequent solicitations to join the same organization of which I was already a member. Each succeeding email offered a better deal for joining, until the final one that offered a year’s membership at approximately half of what I had paid.
Up until that point, I had been reading the solicitations with a mixed sense of annoyance and amusement — how long will this mistake continue? When are they going to cross-check their lists?
With that final email, though, the amusement vanished. I unsubscribed to the regular membership list, I deleted the membership bookmark from my favorites, and I vowed never to darken their doors again. Mine was only one response to their marketing snafu — how many others did as I did and refused to consider renewing?
Cross-check your mailing lists before you start to solicit new customers, especially if you are going to offer deep secret discounts that will make your current customers feel as though they’ve been taken advantage of.
3. Take care in setting up surveys
In another mailing list, which sends informative and interesting technological news updates biweekly, I received a request to fill out a survey to help them decide audience interest and future editorial direction. I was willing to do that, so I clicked through and started the survey.
Dear magazine: I already told you I don’t subscribe; don’t annoy me with follow-up questions that I can’t even skip. If the answer is No, bypass all the questions that pertain only to Yes.
To make things worse for them, this annoyed me enough to go to the most recent biweekly email and click the “unsubscribe” button. Not only did they lose a potential subscriber; they unsold me to the point that I am no longer interested in receiving their free information.
What are you doing to unsell those you’ve already sold? Take a look at your marketing practices and be sure you aren’t driving away potential customers with elementary mistakes like these.