How to Earn Business
Posted by Becky Carroll on February 1, 2007
We are in the run up to the Superbowl here in the USA, and, unlike Mack Collier, I don’t have advertisers knocking on my (virtual) door to have me blog about their upcoming ads. Mack wrote a great post today on the lazy, ineffective emails he has been receiving this week from companies (and their PR firms) to try and pitch him on blogging about their ads. Annoyances ranged from companies using the wrong name for him to asking him to annoy his blogging friends.
One of the main ideas that struck me while reading the post was how similar this is to companies who execute poor email /direct mail marketing. Problems we are probably all familiar with include the following:
- Lack of, or incorrect, personalization (ex: the wrong name is used, it is misspelled, or “Mr.” is used when it should have been “Mrs.”)
- There is an assumed trust relationship that hasn’t yet been built (ex: asking for referrals)
- The communication is so generic it is painful (ex: my Coldwater Creek example from their customer service team
- There is little to no knowledge of the customer and their needs (ex: Drew McLellan’s post on charity mailing labels)
Some of the “problems” mentioned above might seem small from the company’s perspective. They are huge from the customer’s perspective!
Of course, there are great examples of how one should communicate with customers. Mack’s brilliant observations continue as he remembers an effective pitch from the past. He sums it up as follows:
She looked at the pitch from MY point of view. As a result, I posted about every ad she emailed me about. In fact the methods she used stood out so much from the others that I started emailing HER to ask if she had any additional client initiatives that I could promote!
At the end of the day, this is all about people. Customers want to be noticed and treated with respect. Show me you have learned something, anything, from my past interactions with you. If you know something about me, use it appropriately to make buying from you more convenient. Make me feel like I matter to you (if I do). If I don’t really matter, don’t try and make it look like I do; it feels insincere. Send me the kind of communications you would want to receive, and you will most likely stand out from your competitors.
Do it right, and you have my business. And maybe even the business of my friends.