Devil in the Details

This morning, I received an automated business email from an organization that a colleague had once referred me to, as a source of a potential project.  After reaching out to the CEO – a good friend of my colleague’s –  several times about this opportunity and never hearing back from him, I simply dismissed the whole thing as something that was just not meant to be.  No harm, no foul.

However, I had been placed on the company’s mailing list, but since I get roughly 8 zillion emails a day, I didn’t bother to remove myself from it.  Who knows, maybe the project opportunity I was seeking might rear its head again.

So this morning, I noticed the email from this company.  They recently modified their business name, and started utilizing a spiffy new email application to communicate with their audience.  Since email marketing is one of the services I provide, I opened the email to see what how they were doing with it.

Now, the whole reason that email marketing applications like Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc. have a process for “personalizing” the email greeting is that, on a psychological level, recipients feel a little more comfortable receiving and reading an email when it is addressed to them by name.  It gives the impression, or illusion, that there is a relationship of sorts between the emailer and the emailee.

However, this warm & fuzzy illusion is completely blown, right from the get-go, when your email begins “Dear Dennis, Chuck,”.  My name is not Dennis, Chuck.  No one calls me Dennis, Chuck – at least not anyone who knows me.  Certainly, our mutual friend does not refer to me as Dennis, Chuck.  If this sounds like I am just being grumpy about having my name messed up, that misses the point.  I really don’t care about that.  But as a businessperson who has chosen to utilize electronic communications to engage his customers and prospects, this CEO should care a lot about this.  And you should, too.

Too many businesses shoot themselves in the foot by overlooking or dismissing details like this.  Your mailing list is one of your business’ most precious assets; it warrants your attention to detail.  It should be reviewed for accuracy and formatting.  If it is not, it sends the message, loud and clear, that your business does not care OR it is simply incompetent when it comes to communicating with its intended audience.  Neither impression inspires customer confidence.

— Chuck Dennis

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