Is Your Email Viral or Vile?

Viral tegument

Viral tegument (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An old adage says that happy customers tell three people. Unhappy customers tell 11 people. Viral marketing depends on using word-of-mouth, social networks (in-person or online) and email to spread ideas and information. And, in this age of social media, email marketing failures can spread faster than ever.

As in the real world, viruses can be helpful, or downright nasty. Remember that statistic? Three people if you’re happy; 11 if you’re not. Here’s what happened and how to avoid this email marketing mistake.

Is this email viral? Or is it vile?

A friend got a holiday email from a client a few months ago, which she forwarded to me.

It was addressed “Dear [name of company]  friend,”

It thanked her for being part of their family of customers, partners, and friends. Then, it directed her to a link. The link led to their web site, where holiday music played and the background showed all their offices worldwide.

It wasn’t personalized. Don’t you greet your friends and family by name?  Personalizing your emails make them more, well personal, more human.  Personalizing isn’t hard to do.  It’s just adding a simple field in your email form.

Are you being human and helpful? Or annoying?

But, this email wasn’t really about human connections.  It was all about the company sending it.

There was nothing to interact with except to see more… about them. How many offices they have, the number of people they employ.

It was entirely self-focused.  In fact, the only thing remarkable about it is how bad it was. The only reason I kept clicking was “for science.”

Is your email about you? Or about your customers?

Was it supposed to be viral? Make people care? Feel good about the company?

Is that the right way to interact with your customers? And make them feel good about being your customers in the first place?

I don’t know how many people saw this email, or if my friend sent it to other people as well, but I do know I’d never hire this company.

What do you think? How could they have done better?