I just found myself in a situation. A business that is not a client of ours, is trying to automate their business to:
- Aid with growth
- Reduce physical human workload
- Help reduce the need to employ more staff
I appreciate that they are doing this. There are GREAT ways to help achieve this, BUT there are also bad ways as well. This article talks about one example: ‘sending bulk email’… and when not to.
The premise of this article and a good general rule is:
Do NOT send sensitive and critical information to your clients using bulk email. To me this is common sense. As you read this right now, you are probably thinking the same. I was surprised when I got told what the business in question has been trying to do… which I only found out today.
They have been using bulk-email to send really critical info to their clients… info that should be communicated via the phone, Zoom, Skype or at least, a personalized individual email sent from their email program, not a bulk mailing list program like MailChimp or the many other software programs on the market.
This article is not about ‘customer service 101’. There are thousands of blog posts and videos you can find on Google and YouTube about that… PLUS it is common sense.
This article is about using automation in the WRONG way and why it does not replace customer service.
If you have not heard of h2h (human to human) it is a term I first heard mentioned at the DMDU 3 day conference in 2019. It refers to ensuring all businesses who want to stay successful retain highly personalised customer service and focus on human to human relationship building, NOT just relying on automation, which has perilous consequences if it becomes out of balance and over-used compared to h2h.
By using h2h, you are aiding in achieving growth.
There are many people in the world atm who are craving better quality human to human customer service. By identifying that you are putting your business at a huge advantage.
Marketing techniques due to the internet and the way we are ‘connected via the internet’ may have changed, but human nature and human needs have not. Think of all the lonely people in this world because of what the internet has done over the years.
Please note: I’m not ‘anti the internet’. I am far from it. I am though an advocate of using the internet for successful growth, human benefits and betterment, not a detriment.
Great personalised customer service is key!
NOTHING will ever beat good old fashioned customer service!
I know most of you reading this have digitally transformed your business years ago, and are evolving and keeping up with strategic advancements/advantages. After all ‘digital marketing’ and ‘digital automation’ is nothing new.
You’ve probably noted that I write a lot of articles on this site for those who haven’t; as in, I write a lot for the ‘late adopters’. There are reasons for that… mainly to assist them. I’ll write about why I do this another day or on one of our new websites coming soon.
Additional key takeaways of this blog post:
I won’t go into detail about the business who is trying to automate atm, to protect their reputation (I am a honest and trusted professional). I will say though that trying to use a bulk mail email programs to send vitally important information to individual customers is NOT the way to go. That is NOT the thing to automate. Using mailing list bulk mail programs is key, but is to be used in other ways… like online sales funnels, general news, marketing promotions, fire-sales, etc.
H2h is hugely important right now and has been for years… AND will be for years and years to come!
If you are using eNewsletters to send out information to your customers, leads, potential customers, suppliers, associates, etc, I applaud your efforts! It works great when done well. We utilise this in our own business and help client’s utilize it the right ways in their businesses too.
Here are some tips to be aware of though:
Like you, we all receive a LOT of emails. The first rule of marketing is: “put yourselves in the shoes of the person (or people) you are marketing to”. When sending our eNewsletters ALWAYS remember that:
- We are all time-poor.
- Many people in small businesses are checking their own emails. They don’t have a VA (Virtual Assistant) doing it or an Executive Assistant doing this for them. They don’t have much time.
- Many of us do not have time to read an eNewsletter in full. Some of us barely get time to skim read them. Keep them short!
- People are tired of SO much automation, they have well and truly woken up to it (it’s been around for so long … especially with email). For best growth, the personal touch is what leads to lasting growth.
- eNewsletters don’t substitute sending important information to specific clients or arranging a catch-up meeting (even via Zoom or Skype) every 2, 3, 6 or 12 months with your clients (or more regularly if you have a retainer arrangement or some other arrangement – eg. regular coaching, mentoring, etc)
I also supplied the business I mentioned above with this additional feedback today:
- eNewsletters have a low open rate. There are ways to help improve this but it requires strategy, tech skills, advanced marketing nonce, etc.
- Appears you are using MailChimp to send eNewsletters. A good % of your list you send to, may not even see your eNewsletters. They may go to their junk folder or may even be blocked at the email server. There are things that can be set up to help improve this. A few are listed here. There are also many others.
- There are also known ways to further aid delivery of eNewsletters: Not including URL’s in them is one of these things… instead create hyperlinks. I train on this with clients that want best results. There are also videos and information on the internet about this topic.
- Recipients who know how eNewsletters are sent, know they are ‘bulk mail’. They expect info in them to be of ‘general level of value and benefit’, not things like REALLY important dates and other key info related to their h2h working relationships.
- Some people set up ‘rules’ in their email programs so that certain eNewsletter go straight to a folder, rather than the inbox. Particularly those who get a lot of email and/or try and keep their inbox clean. Some of these people never look at the emails that go to these other folders.
- Some people block certain eNewsletters.
- The longer the eNewsletter, the less likely people will be to read it. They may either see it as a ‘wall of text’ and not read it, or decide they can only allocate 30 secs (or less) or maybe up to 2 mins (maybe more if they are not busy) to it… means they will only skim read it vs reading and absorbing it. If you want important info to be read, send a nice and short separate eNewsletter in between your other monthly ones (or bi-monthly or whatever your schedule is). Make sure the subject line is very clear and that it stands out.
- By shortening ALL eNewsletters you: A/ gain more reads. B/ Gain more authority for your website (and more traffic) and therefore more business growth. You do this by turning long sub-headed topics in your eNewsletters into blog articles on your websites… and remove them from your eNewsletter before sending. Replace each with ‘excerpts’ in your eNewsletters with ‘read more’ links to the relevant blog articles. It takes a little longer to do, but you will get WAY more of your content in your eNewsletters read, more value to those you send it to, and more value/benefit/growth/success in your business.
- Ensure you have a short 3 – 6 word sentence at the top of your e-newsletters telling people the most important thing about this eNewsletter. People read this first.
For best results with eNewsletter’s, have professionals like us audit your eNewsletter methods. During the audit, we document and write a written report that also includes recommendations and feedback so your efforts achieve best result.
Always remember: A business who is trying to DIY everything, will not yield anywhere the level of success of a competitor business who is allied with (and working with) a professional (and highly experienced/ proven) branding and digital marketing team.
Also always remember that the key to business success is not rocket-science. You do not have to ‘re-invent the wheel’ to figure it out. The key is: ‘Build authority, because authority leads to demand for what you sell. Demand leads to profits. Profits lead to scaling. Scaling leads to even more profit’. Don’t let anyone ever try and over-complicate business growth’.
There is a right way and a wrong way to do anything. Make sure you seek advice from expert professionals so you only do things the right way. You’ll save money, save time and avoid harmful mistakes.
Additional tip: Send out a survey asking your list to answer questions about your eNewsletter (for feedback and improvement to your processes) and also ask for additional general feedback. Then collate all the data you receive.
Post comments below with further tips, questions or thoughts.
Marketing automation is about using automated systems (via funnel, mailing list and CRM software) to help attract new potential customers (leads) to become customers. it is to help ‘automate’ this process to reach a FAR greater and WAY more targeted market size vs trying to cold-call or send snail-mail letters and/or wasting money trying to use other old-school ‘push marketing techniques’ that don’t work well anymore.
You may argue that online sales funnels are a saturated strategy and no longer effective. To that, I say you need to delve deeper into the advanced methods that make them work REALLY well. Plus you need to have great offers, great products and a very good online advertising strategy and implementation ability. Best to work with experts!
Marketing automation is about setting up online sales funnel systems the right way to automatically convert leads into customers, so that REAL-world h2h relationships can then be built. It is not about sending customer critical information via ‘bulk-email’.