Someone at Sainsburys pressed the send button early!

Ouch!  We all know the feeling – you hit the send button them instantly regret it.  But what if you are sending on behalf of one of the UKs largest retailers?  Double ouch!

So I get a message from Alchemy Worx this morning and open it expecting it to be their regular newsletter.  It’s got an odd subject line, but maybe they are trying something different.  What I saw in my email is this:

sainsbury1

But when I open the email I get this:

sainsbury2

 

  1. The yellow highlighting is me.  But the rest is very much down to Sainsburys and their email sender.
  2. The subject line must be an internal reference.
  3. The sending email address is the default one for Alchemy Worx, who I assume are the sending agent for Sainsburys.
  4. The second worst bit for me is the mailmerge failure in salutation.

The worst bit took some hard work to capture for you, but see if you can see what is wrong with the email if you finally get to the bottom…

sainsbury3

Bit too long maybe???

Just to add insult to… well, more insult, I replied to the email saying maybe they had let a test loose into the wild – gone feral 🙂  but the email bounced straight back to me.  wonder how the conversation with the Alchemy Worx account manager and the Sainsburys Marketing Director will go…!

 

Two MS Dynamics CRM books worth a look

We’ve been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM for 3 years now as the backbone to our business.  It stores all the contacts for our email marketing campaigns, integrates to our email sending system and provides the system by which we do all our telephone follow up.  So to say it’s an important part of our business is an understatement!

We therefore need a good “expert user” competence in MS CRM in order to be able to meet various client requirements of our systems and to be able to drive our business forward.  Two books that I have found useful recently are:

cookbookMicrosoft Dynamics CRM 2011: Dashboards Cookbook

Dashboards are a growing feature of MS CRM.  They allow data from all over the system to be pulled together into one place.  We’ve seen various examples of dashboards before and thought “that would be good” and using this book, we now know how to build our own elegant dashboards.

Unusually, this book is written in the form of “recipies” that you can dip into and out of as you wish, taking the particular bit of knowledge you were looking for.

Chapter 3 took us through the whole process of creating a dashboard from start to finish with great results.  We now know what we are doing with dashboards!

Great book, well worth it if you want to know how to use dashboards in MS CRM.

 

 

 

scriptingMicrosoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Scripting Cookbook

Now, I’m not a programmer of any variety, so the idea of me writing JavaScript is not a comfortable thought!  However… this book take you through the basis of JavaScript and how to use it within MS CRM so that even I feel like it is possible!

I’ve tried a few of the more basic “recipies” within the book and had good results.  So this is something that I am starting to feel comfortable with and definitely will be doing more JavaScript for our CRM in the future.

However I can see that that if you are a CRM developer, this book would be invaluable.

Who’s reading your email?

ThiefWithLaptopThere has been a major shift over the last few years away from local ISP based email towards the likes of Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.  These services give easy access to your email wherever you are, on your phone, at work and at home.

We certainly notice with our email marketing campaigns that there are lots more email addresses ending @gmail.com, etc…

And there are many companies taking advantage of Googlemail’s ability to assign their own domain name to a group of gmail accounts and effectively use googlemail as their corporate email server.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, since the NSA came clean about Prism last week, it’s now clear that the US Government and possibly the UK Government too has been snooping on email from all these main Internet Service Providers with pretty much unfettered access to our email.

I don’t know how you feel, but I’d prefer that my business email remains unread by anyone but the recipient and myself.  As soon as open access is offered, it inevitably gets abused way beyond the initial remit.  In this case the fight against global terrorism.

So, what to do?  For a business, either set up your own email server, or far better use a specialist email hosting provider based in the UK and using a UK data centre.  For an individual, find a UK based ISP and use their email – plus.net are pretty good, but others work well too.

Recent article from the Institute of Sales & Marketing Managers (ISMM)

ISMM article featuring Carl Wheatley

6-8 Smarter Selling

Why the RAC failed in this email

I receive a well laid out, well written email from The RAC today.  So why is it a total fail?

There are two problems:

1) The RAC don’t have my permission to email me on my personal email account.  So this is not only SPAM, but it’s also against the law!  Oops…

2) There is also a requirement for the Unsubscribe function to work.  So, even if they did have my permission to send me this email, it would still not be compliant with UK email law as the unsubscribe link highlighted in yellow above simply takes me to a landing page on their website that tries to sell me RAC breakdown.  Nice 🙂

Looks like the RAC have had a breakdown!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How not to do your Happy Christmas email

Amazing!!  I receive an email from someone who has added me to their marketing list and feels they know me well enough to send me Christmas Greetings… But what do they send?  a big blue box!

I wonder how that has developed my relationship with this business?

 

 

What’s in it for me?

So, I open up my email this morning and work through the 20 or so messages that have arrived overnight – deleting most of them.  Then I start my days work but forget to close me email.

At about 9.30 ! receive this message.  Full marks to the email marketeer for delivering it at a time when I’m interruptible and therefore likely to review the message.

Big fail on the content!  I click on Outlook with the message highlighted and what do I see?  An empty blue box…

Now, I know that I can go to the top bar and download images, but I know I’m just going to be presented with a big company image and probably a photo of the person sending me the message.

This marketer has failed to answer the basic question “What’s in it for me?” in the first two seconds of me reviewing the message – DELETE!

So, learn from this… if you want to put your company logo in your marketing emails (why would you?) at least put  it at the bottom of your email below the signature.  And please, please don’t put a bloody great photo of you, your product or anything else at the top of the message.

I want to know what you are saying to me, not how great you are.  It’s easy to get my attention: tell me what I will get from reading your message.  I may not want what you are offering, but at least you’ve given yourself the opportunity of being heard.

Rant over…!

Great service isn’t dead in Mobile phone companies…

I’ve never thought too much about our mobile phones.  Every 2 years we get new handsets and a new contract from Vodafone (it’s the only network that works in rural Wiltshire!).  The bills are not too high, so whilst I’ve checked alternatives before renewing, we’ve never found anything worth switching to.

But this time it was different… we came across a company called Sunrise.  They seem to specialise in smaller businesses so took the time to talk with us and actually listen to our needs.  It was a bit of a shock!

They then came back with a deal that was similar to dealing direct with Vodafone in the first year but they were willing to give us new handsets or a kit fund to buy the handsets ourselves.  The £360 per line that we got as a kit fund was sufficient to get new handsets.

Whilst we are on a two year contact, we get a new kit fund again next year!  Yes, in 12 months…  we need to renew the contract for a further 2 years, but this kit fund will pay for the whole cost of next years phone contacts.  So now we’re really reducing the cost of our mobile phones.

We’re pretty happy with that but Sunrise isn’t finished yet.  They then go on to talk about how by consolidating other telecoms services, we can reduce costs in other areas and reduce administration too.  Next we are going to get them to integrate our broadband, line rental and fixed line phones.

Not only will this reduce our costs further, but it will also allow us to use mobile handsets as office extensions and route direct lines to mobiles, etc, etc.  So we can work more effectively whilst saving money.

The moral of this story is that technology is moving very fast in the telephony market, not with new products, but by integrating existing services together to make everything work better.  And companies like Sunrise can help businesses to work smarter and save money at the same time.

Drop me a message if you want an introduction or check out their website: www.sunrise-uk.co.uk

The perils of segmenting your database…

We have long been advocates of segmenting your database and then sending different messages to different parts of the database.  Makes sense… and allows you to target different parts of the database with different offers.

But care is needed.  What if the same person is in two parts of your database?  Would they get two conflicting messages?  Or would the messages be complimentary?

Unlikely! I hear you say.  Well… I like the email marketing from Crew Clothing, but getting two messages from them today one offering a 15% discount and the other a 20% discount makes me ask “why am I not in the 40% discount group?”

So, take care with segmented offers to your database.

The dangers of automated emails

When I raise a support request, I do expect a degree of automation, if just to make sure that requests are dealt with.  But avoid the perils of pre-formatting email replies so that an operator typed response goes into standard text like this one I received today.