You may not know it, but your e-mail marketing team and customer service reps are actually honorary members of your PR team. Are they ready for this role? They need to be, because whether you like it or not, every e-mail you send is being evaluated in three ways: as a service statement, a marketing message, and a PR statement about your company.
Every e-mail sent to your customers is actually a lifelong statement about your brand. For this reason, words and phrases in your e-mail must be chosen carefully. Even more so, timing is critical.
In the last hour, I searched for "top email marketing news." Surprisingly, the top result wasn't news about an e-mail service provider, ISP, or even a services company that showed up. Instead, it was a link to an e-mail from a technology company advising customers that a product they ordered was being delayed until summer.
Normally, product delay e-mails are a standard part of business and not many make it to a "top news" type of story categorization on Google. However, in this case, a few outside factors moved this e-mail into the spotlight. These factors included:
These factors took a service oriented e-mail and turned it into a potential PR scandal. After reading this e-mail, people are asking: Will the product ever come out? What is the cause for the delays? Should I give up and go get a competitor's product in a few weeks? Buzz growing around this product delay is fast and furious. And it all started from a simple service oriented e-mail.
Copy points in the e-mail included:
Looking at this e-mail in each of the three ways mentioned above will give you a very interesting perspective. From a customer service standpoint, you would expect to get this e-mail from a customer service rep that you'd speak to with general product dissatisfaction, not the CEO.
From a marketing standpoint, this e-mail fails to reinforce the brand's benefits. Nor does this e-mail reinforce the customers' "good choice" in choosing to be one of the first customers of the product.
And, from a PR standpoint, this e-mail opens up the door for tremendous speculation on what's going wrong with this company.
If you have not done so yet, review a recent e-mail your company sent to your customers. Read it from these three perspectives. Does it communicate the message and intent you really are trying to convey? If not, try some basic copy changes and see if it impacts results. You might just be surprised to see what happens to your company's bottom line.
Jeanniey Mullen is global executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Zinio, the world's foremost digital publishing products and services company, and home of the largest newsstand. She holds the same roles concurrently for VIVmag, the world's first exclusively digital luxury women's magazine. Renowned as a pioneer in e-mail marketing — the nascent stage of the digital marketing revolution — Mullen has employed her penchant for building active and engaged communities by architecting processes and systems for delivering exceptional customer service and relevant content across multiple media. She is widely credited for her pivotal role in ushering in a new era of digital marketing communications.
Founder and current executive director of the Email Experience Council, Jeanniey has broadened her reach to master the social, mobile, and digital publishing and advertising industries. Today, she brings this extensive experience to bear in her role as the public face of Zinio and VIVmag, defining and implementing strategies to build partnerships with publishers, brands, and consumers. These initiatives command monumental growth for both companies. She is an accomplished author with two books to her credit, as well as a regular columnist for ClickZ. Mullen is a frequent and highly sought-after speaker at digital marketing, e-tail, and publishing events around the world.
May 22, 2013
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June 5, 2013
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