Add More Value to That Automated Email

We take a great deal of trouble over certain emails. In particular, scheduled promotional emails receive plenty of attention. They are written carefully and with a clear purpose in mind.

But what about those automated emails? What about the welcome and thank-you emails generated in response to customer actions at your site?

Who wrote those emails? When were they last reviewed and updated or improved?

Take a look at the welcome emails from your site. Those are the emails that go out when someone registers, signs up for a newsletter, or makes a first purchase. Dig out the very first emails that your new customers and prospects receive.

Now ask those questions again: Who wrote them? When were they last updated?

Many “automated” emails aren’t accorded much attention and were written by people with no briefing, few qualifications, or little training.

This is a bad thing…

The moment your customers receive that very first email communication from your company is a key moment in the relationship.

It is in their inboxes that you receive the highest quality of attention. Your customers or prospects are opening your email at a moment when they expect and want it. They have just taken an action at your site and are receptive to hearing from you.

So at this key moment, when you have their attention, when a first impression is about to be made, what do you say?

As an example, here’s what you receive — from beginning to end — if you sign up for the newsletter: —- This is an auto-responder —-

You have been added to the mailing list. If you want to discontinue this subscription, please email us at with REMOVE as the subject. If you need to email us, please go to the contact us page in our site. The leader in discounted cellular and PCS accessories There’s a huge missed opportunity here. Compare that response to the email sent out by Park Seed when you sign up for its newsletter. It’s long but worth reproducing here, because it does such a great job: Dear Gardener:

I’m so pleased you’ve subscribed to our email newsletter. I know you’re going to find it timely and useful. If you’re like me, you always want to know what’s new, what works, and how you can improve your results, and that’s exactly what the newsletter is for.

We’ll let you know about new varieties of flowers and vegetables, like our Painted Daisies Gold Stick Hybrids that just don’t know how to stop blooming, and our “black bowling ball” Everglade Hybrid seedless watermelon that’s extra-succulent.

We’ll let you know what works in your hardiness zone, and tell you about the favorites of gardeners across the country, such as our luscious Ruby Nectar Hybrid Tomato, the winner in our taste test two years running.

We’ll keep you on top of new products, give you great gardening tips, and alert you to special bargains you’ll only find on the Web, many exclusively for our subscribers.

You’ll receive the next newsletter as soon as it comes out. In the meantime, if you have questions related to gardening, don’t hesitate to email us at anytime. We’re here to help.

Thank you again,

Karen Park Jennings

P.S. You’ll receive $5 off your Internet order of $75 for signing up to receive our exciting E-garden newsletter. Your discount code is M1Az62 — simply enter it into the discount line of your shopping cart when you place your order. Only one discount code may be used per order.

Hurry, this code expires October 15, 2001. That’s a near-perfect response to a new prospect showing interest through the Park Seeds site. The email is written in a human voice, from the company owner. It tells you what kind of information and value you can expect from upcoming newsletters. It rewards you for your attention and interest with a $5 discount. (Although it might have helped to have a few relevant links back to the site.)

With the Park Seeds email, my first instinct is to spend that $5. The company made me feel welcome. It made me feel good.

With, the only value it offered was an easy way to unsubscribe. Which I was very quick to do.

These examples relate to newsletters. But in the online experience there are many other points at which customers raise their hands to say, “I’m interested, talk to me.”

When that happens, don’t send out a lifeless blurb. Welcome people, make them feel that you care about them. Make them feel that they are valued — and let them know what you’ll be doing for them next.

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