“I” disease

I received a strange email today.  I liked it and didn’t like it at the same time!  Here it is, what do you think?

I like this email because it’s plain and simple.  No silly images to distract from the message.  However I don’t like this message because:

  • It’s “all about us”.  Look at the times it says “I, us, we, our” compared to you & your.  This is the email equivalent of shouting at someone from 6 inches away!
  • Variable size fonts.  I’m sure this is not deliberate, but look at the size of the font through the email.
  • Typos & language.  Didn’t read well – in fact I had to read it 3 times to understand it.
  • There was no fluency of message.  It does not take me, the reader on a journey from problem to solution so I’ve no idea what issue is being solved for me.

Anyway, hope you find this useful.  And if you want me to take a look over your emails before you send, just let me know – no charge!!

waving your member(ship)

Our pet hate is the email that starts “I…” or “We…” and then carries on for 3 paragraphs to say why they are so great and what they have been up to.

So What?  What’s in this email for me, the recipient?

Here is the text from a great (bad) example I received today (***** replaces the company):

The ******* Link – April 2011

March was a really strong month for ***** Bristol and a great way to round off what has been a really encouraging first quarter – we’ve already written 40% of the new business that we wrote in the whole of last year.

Your referrals are keeping us busy and the pipeline is still looking healthy – thank you for your support.

I’d also like to thank those of you who came along to our wine tasting event on the 12th April. It was a great turn-out for a ‘school night’ and, judging by the number of thank you emails we have received, everyone had a good time. We have further events planned, so watch this space!

March was quite a month for ***** Financial Services – in fact, a record breaking one! We beat our previous best on just about every key measure, notably:

  • A new monthly record of 170 deals
  • A record breaking month for debts factored! Just under £400m
  • Advances reached a new high of £327m

In addition to these fantastic results the latest ABFA stats show some extremely positive findings in which **FS once again outstripped growth within the market in 2010.

Highlights from the ABFA Report revealed that…

  • **FS increased domestic market share from 14% to 16.7% in the space of just 12 months

In terms of factoring client numbers we have also outperformed the market. We have increased our position from 10% to 17.3% in 2010

Looking at total client numbers we have increased our market share by around 1 percentage point over the last 12 months from 8.1% to 9.2% and have almost doubled it in the past 3 years.

I hope that these results firmly demonstrate that **FS are open for business and committed to supporting small businesses in a difficult lending environment.

Are you on the plane?

A few seats on the plane to Prague have been secured but there are plenty left. This trip is not to be missed!

Just 3 deals will ensure your place!

If you’d like more information about our Prague incentive or have a client to refer to us please contact your local Regional Manager or call me directly on 07834 ******.

Feeling motivated to do anything other than reply with a big UNSUBSCRIBE?  It amazes me how many businesses are willing to put their membership at risk by sending blatant self promoting rubbish to their recipients in the belief that they care.

It comes all the way back to our first comment of “give your recipients something of value to them”.  It’s their inbox, not yours.  Ignore this at your peril!


Image only emails – why???

I’ve received two emails in quick succession today that left me wondering if I’m out of step with the rest of the world…

Do you receive emails that look like this:

where you are clearly expected to download their images – otherwise you can’t see the message.  Or this one that has lots of images:

Clearly the sender is expecting me to download the images in order to read their sales message.  But why would I?

The format of the email immediately marks it to me as a promotional message that does not even have the courtesy of explaining what it’s all about before I have to take action to read it.  Forget it – DELETE!

This is part of a wider concern over the sender’s views being paramount when considering communication.  In both these instances the sender is most concerned that their emails look “great” and so have failed to grasp that 80% to 90% of their audience are going to see what I showed you above.  If they had paused to consider their transmission medium and audience, they would have realised that a large part of their message should be text that is displayed whether the recipient downloads images or not…

I further advocate putting images on the right hand side of the email or at the bottom so that if they are not displayed, the email is still legible and the message gets across to the 40% to 50%  of their audience who read the email in the preview pane but don’t download their images.

I prefer to get my message read over showing off my design skills.  One brings me business, the other… !

I hate this…

There is nothing that makes me mad more than someone telling me that they are “allowed” to send me email because… This is a good (or bad) example:

Maybe they are legally allowed to send me an email – but why rub my nose in it?

And to make matters worse, I know I’m not in their address book and there is no way that anyone will have recommended me to them.  They’ve found my email address by using a “bot” to trawl the web automatically and grab it from a “contact us” page.  I know this because that’s the only place this email address is used.

So, what to learn from this email:

lesson 1: Don’t lie to potential customer in your email.  No one wants to deal with liars!

Lesson 2: This email was the equivalent of an advert beside the road.  Boring, bland general and talking about the advertiser.  Don’t do any of these things.  Talk about the recipient, their challenges and give them knowledge that can help them.  Don’t know what their challenges are or what knowledge can help them?  Don’t email them till you do!