There is a growing epidemic among us. If you are someone who sends email for a living, you should be very afraid. This seems to be the season of the botched email. In my 10+ years in the online marketing world, I don’t remember seeing so many blatant mistakes. I know what the problem is, and the solution is, thankfully, pretty simple. We need more process. Simple as that.
I know what you may be thinking: process is a dirty word, code for red tape. Not true, I say. Process should be the best friend of all online marketers. Earlier this year, I wrote an article that appeared in Marketing Profs and I discussed the importance of process. If you’re so inclined, check it out.
The most important part of the process is QA checks and balances. Thanks to some really great email tools, the process of authoring and sending email has become much simpler. In many cases, the same person is reponsible for multiple steps. Just like proofreading one of your own papers in college, the process of QA should be done by at least one other person, and if you’re lucky, several.
Think about it. When you’re writing something, your mind plays tricks on you. It compensates for your typos, your omissions, etc. Sentences that you think make sense can be a jumbled mess. You know what you meant to say, but that doesn’t always translate to paper. It’s the same way with an email you send out.
Here’s the latest example I have received that contains a glaring lack of QA. Viviti is a Web site building tool that targets small businesses, bloggers, and Web designers. Here is a screenshot of the email that I received from Viviti on Saturday.
What’s wrong with this email?
- No subject line. A classic sign that the email process is broken.
- What does Viviti do? I am signed up for a lot of Web accounts. The email is almost over before they mention “website builder” or anything that gives me any clue what this is about.
- The Call To Action is buried at the bottom.
- Where is the unsubscribe link? The company is based in Canada, so maybe that’s the excuse for the lack of information. CAN-SPAM required information is some pretty basic good common sense content to add, especially if you are going to do business with customers in the United States. We Americans like our CAN-SPAM footer.
I like the Viviti Web site. I haven’t used the software yet, but it is on my to do list. The site is clean and encouraging. There are example sites built with the tool, that make me feel like I too can build something beautiful.
Email is a great way to communicate with potential customers. If you do it right, you can be very successful. When you do it wrong, you call things into question that shouldn’t be an issue for you. People start to wonder if they will encounter these issues with other areas of the product or service.
Give the email person a break and have a QA party! You’ll be amazed at what you might learn.