My wife Rona owns a small real estate agency. The people who try to market to her continually amaze her–and not in a good way. I told you before about the phone solicitor who lied to her and the email marketer who never told her the truth. Here’s the story of a bank that failed to earn her interest.
“We just lowered our rates and are now offering a special discount for purchases and New Clients,” the bank’s email said. “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you or your clients.”
Now, Rona had never done business with this bank before. This was the bank’s first contact with her: its equivalent of a cold call.
Rona gets twenty of these marketing emails a week. Most of them, she deletes unread. This one, she sent to me as an example of poor communications...and then deleted it. Why?
- The message wasn’t personal. The bank could have sent the very same message to a hundred realtors (and probably did).
- They hadn’t done their homework. A buyer’s agent like Rona prides herself on service. She wants to recommend banks who do the same, not necessarily the ones with the lowest rates that day.
- They hadn’t built a relationship with her and didn’t try to. The email was quick offer, in and out, wham, bam, thank you ma’am. (And the person who sent it was supposedly a Senior Relationship Manager!)
Sure, the tone of the email was polite, and it expressed an offer to help…but the “help” would benefit the bank more than it did Rona or her clients. You can’t put lipstick on a pig, even if the pig is a bank.
Whether you’re a bank, a business, or a nonprofit, if you’re sending out email like this to people and expect them to respond, it’s a waste of time. What should you do instead?
- Personalize it. At minimum, use the name of the person you’re supposed to be speaking to! But it’s much better if you can tailor your message to that person’s interests. And that means…
- Know your audience. At very least, segment your list into groups that have something in common and write a message that will appeal specifically to them. And even better…
- Take the time to build trust. Anybody can blast emails. Only a few will make themselves stand out. Take the time to be one of those.