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Archive for April, 2010

Thank youI think the vast majority of us are sticklers for politeness and most people’s biggest bugbear is bad manners.  My daughter is a very verbal young toddler who is just getting old enough to make demands such as ‘more!’ and ‘biscuit!’, so we’ve spent a considerable amount of time encouraging her to say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘pardon me’ at the appropriate moment, and now she’s getting really good at asking for things and following it up shortly afterwards with a – now almost unprompted – ‘please’. Gawd bless ‘er.

Anyway what I’m trying to say is that there’s nothing more pleasing than a child with good manners, just as there’s nothing better than being rewarded and thanked for loyal custom.  I have been a very good customer of a major high street fashion store with a catalogue directory for some 10 years now, spending literally thousands of pounds on goods ranging from clothes, to shoes, to household products.  Having made another order last week (and to be fair, the order process is always excellent and the goods are always delivered immediately) it struck me that in all the years I’d been a customer, I’ve never actually been rewarded in any way other than ‘encourage your friends to receive a directory and receive some vouchers’…  I’d quite like to have had some acknowledgement that my custom actually matters and has been recognised by receiving some money off, or some great new offers – or even a loyalty gift.  But no, not a sausage.  Pretty poor if you ask me.

Saying ‘thank you’ is one of the easiest, cheapest and yet most valuable marketing tactics and extending this courtesy into the market place goes a long way towards forging closer and more loyal relationships with your customers.  You must, however, ensure your message is sincere though, and not just a thinly veiled sales pitch.  You can say ‘thank you’ in a number of ways via email as follows:

Thank you for…

• …signing up to our newsletter
• …[new client] for making a purchase
• …[existing client] for continuing to place business with us
• …to whoever referred my company to someone else
• ….for visiting our website
• …for downloading something from our website or registering for something online
• ….for the business call or meeting
• …to a business partner or colleague for a job well done
• …for simply being nice and showing kindness

The power of thank you should therefore never be underestimated – we all know how nice it is to be appreciated.  You’d be severely hacked off if you shopped in-store, bought a product and the sales assistant serving you failed to acknowledge you or your purchase with a suitable pleasantry, so why should email be any different?

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A man and his wife had the good fortune to possess a goose which laid a golden egg every day. Lucky though they were, they soon began to think they were not getting rich fast enough, and, imagining the bird must be made of gold inside, they decided to kill it. Then, they thought, they could obtain the whole store of precious metal at once; however, upon cutting the goose open, they found its innards to be like that of any other goose.

And thus they had no source of gold anymore ..! This Aesop fable I believe sums up the progress of many data focused companies in the email marketing industry over the last ten years, and indeed the naivety of many well intended companies who are sitting on ‘golden eggs’ in the form of their own customer data lists. Today, with recession statistics still flooding the news, the differentiator between those companies who are still collecting their golden eggs and those who are looking disconsolately at their sorry pile of duck entrails, is quite simple.

Direct marketing guru Dan Kennedy said; ‘When a business sacrifices product or service quality, financial controls, or integrity in favour of growth, it mortgages its future for immediate gratification, not unlike making a faustian bargain’ (pact with the devil).

The same principle applies to email marketing at the most basic level. In the rampant rush to fat profits, invaluable customer data is sacrificed by poor investment in delivery technology, poor service quality in the form of poor targeting or advertising quality, and poor financial controls in the form of over-serving your brand in an effort to squeeze out those few extra clicks. This pact with the devil thinking results in effectively mortgaging loyal customers or interested prospects for a few extra pennies meaning many potentially great companies staring at a festering pile of goo, wondering what next.

So this Easter despite the gloom of a recession, look after your golden eggs, and feed your hard pressed goose some well earned, delicious Easter chocolate. That’s if you don’t get there first of course.

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