Wednesday, 23 March 2011

When e-marketing goes wrong!

As I'm always extolling the virtues of a structured and well put together e-marketing plan I thought I'd share a recent example of how NOT to do e-marketing.

A few months ago a new restaurant opened up in town so my wife and I went along to check it out. First of all I made the booking on their shiny new website that promptly threw an error once I submitted the booking. I emailed them straight away to let them know and asked for confirmation of my booking but didn't get a response. As I hadn't had anything back and was passing a couple of days later I popped in to double check. They had received the booking so all was well and a few days later we went and had a lovely meal in lovely surroundings.

A couple of weeks after that I recieved a marketing email from them. Not only had I not signed up for this but it came in the form of a 4MB JPG attachment with every other member of their email marketing list openly CC'd. I obviously emailed them about this and politely pointed out the error of their ways along with an offer of help but got no reply.

About another week later I received another similar email and this time responded asking to be removed from their mailing list (incidentally no emails had options or instructions of how to unsubscribe).

Another couple of weeks passed and I got a blank message from them with the subject of "please can you email your birthday to us".

Two days later I received another similar email but this time the email was all in CAPS, contained typos and asked me to email my birthday to them to be included in their birthday promotion.

I responded again pointing out the error of their ways and again asking that I be removed from their email marketing list.

About two weeks later I then received yet another blank message apart from a JPG attachment with another "offer" that this time also included a photography offer (bearing in mind they are a restaurant!)

Three days later I received exactly the same email again which was the last straw and I reported them to the ICO.

The above just shows how you alienate a happy customer who would have returned again and again (this restaurant is a stones throw from our office and would have been great for entertaining clients) into someone who will never step foot in the premises again. Not only that but the number of other local people who know this story can't be good for business!

So the moral of the story...

It's better not to do it at all if you don't know what you're doing as you'll only end up doing more damage than good! If you're going to run an e-marketing campaign then plan it properly, know the laws, do some testing, and use a proper outbound marketing system so you can measure the results for comparison on future campaigns. If you don't have the skills or experience to do all of these things then please get some outside help.

Hope this helps