In fairness, it’s always easier to write a blog post that points out why something is wrong than to come up with a list of compelling reasons as to why something is right, or better yet, how to do it right. That said, I got a glaring example last night of how email marketing can all but assure you won’t get business from a company on your “targeted list”.
Second, I would add that this “big pile of fail” I’m about to describe isn’t relegated specifically to email marketing. It’s a tactic that’s used when folks are wandering around filling out Contact Us forms on websites as well. Which is actually even worse, since you can’t be sure exactly who is going to read it, anymore than you can if you mass email to service@ or sales@ addresses.
The Content of the Offending Email
And I quote:
Think about it: how much of your business’ expense is wasted. You hire highly skilled workers in key areas such as IT, ad writing, telemarketing — but don’t use them full time. Why not hire them on an as-needed basis, paying for them as you use them? It’s what we are all about. Email us and we’ll tell you more.
You’ll note the company name isn’t mentioned. And the reply to email address was a Gmail account. So it’s likely a firm that’s outsourcing lead generation. About outsourcing. Like looking into a mirror through a mirror through a mirror….
What’s the Problem?
So, why is it a bad idea to send such a sales pitch through a blind email or a Contact Us form? Simple. In a lot of cases, the party reading that email is going to be the one you JUST SAID probably doesn’t need to be a full time employee.
There’s tons of things wrong with that. And absolutely ZERO right.
At a small company, who’s going to be reading that first? Likely, it’s marketing (ad writing), the “web guy” (IT), or Inside Sales (telemarketing). Think they’ll forward that along to the boss for you? I’m going with no.
If it IS the decision maker opening that contact, I hope their first response is “we’re not using them full time?” I can think of very few small businesses (or medium sized businesses) where a lot of the folks mentioned either aren’t working MORE than full time, or perhaps in fact wear 2 or all 3 of the hats listed.
Now, if the target is big business, or Upper Middle (is that a classification now?), it’s entirely possible there’s some floaters that aren’t working full time. Larger organizations are harder to manage, so it follows that there would be more “free time”, as it were.
But if the target was larger businesses, they are emailing the wrong ones, including mine. There’s a lot to be said for doing a little research, and properly segmenting an email campaign.
To Sum Up
With email marketing, Contact form “harvesting”, and all outbound marketing efforts, knowing your INTENDED audience, as well as the electronic gate keepers is critical. It used to be that the admin at the front desk was blocking you from the decision maker, but now it can be almost anyone.
Shared duties and responsibilities, including checking the catch all email accounts, are prevalent in these “lean and mean hiring” times. And that’s exactly the message that this email was trying to get across. It was simply horrible execution.
How Do We Fix This?
It’s not easy. Sales isn’t simple. (Don’t tell any of our sales people I said that.) Some bullet points on a better approach:
- Identify the decision maker, and reach out to her/him directly. E-mail, phone call, whatever.
- If you’re going to email blind, use a positive tone and discuss benefits. Don’t alienate 2/3rds of the company.
- Just don’t email blind. Period. Ever. KNOW THE RECIPIENT.
I’m sure we could come up with a huge list of ways to improve upon this email. Maybe number 3 above sums it up nicely. What do you think?