As a fervent user of email, I do check my messages nearly every thirty minutes or even less. However, I came across an email that I thought was important to share since it gives us a lot to learn from as Small Business owners.
Due to the financial limitations of many start-up entrepreneurs, there is usually a need to improvise when it comes to attending to the different aspects of the business. As the founder, you’re probably the Marketing Manager, Operations Manager as well as Customer Service Representative.
In this regard, I received an email from a one Frank that read as follows (Copied verbatim):
Subject: Hello Beloved
My name is Frank and i am the CEO of Happi-Tech Enterprises , An uprising IT srervice providing Enterprise. we do operate under the following caompanies,
* happi-Tech computer center
This company focuses on sell of laptops and computers for both individual and computer maintenance plus repair.
-It security and information privacy.
-Development of systems.
*happi-Tech cyber academy
-Training in Information Technology .
We aree always willing to serve you at the best of our ability. Contact us on +256752XXXXXX for more information
There is a lot we can learn from this email about, How not to market using Email. These are the flaws I noticed in the communication:
“Hello Beloved” is the subject he used. The minute I see such a subject, I suspect one of the following;
- A religious email from someone I know or
- A con man’s email like the Nigerian 419 scam mails
Quickly, I looked at the sender’s name and realised that it was unfamiliar. This immediately led me to regard it as spam.
Lesson – A business marketing email cannot be addressed with such a subject. There are better subjects like “Introducing Happi-Tech Group of Companies”
Frank went ahead to put his entire email list in the To field of the email thereby making it visible to every recipient of the email. This is an abuse of the privacy of his recipients. First of all, we do not know each other as the recipients. Secondly, I do not know the sender. Thirdly, he gives an opportunity to a spammer to harvest our addresses and use them to send us useless content.
Lesson – Respect the people you are marketing to by being conscious about their privacy. If you can’t send personalised and tailored emails, at least put their email addresses in the Bcc (Blind Carbon Copy) field of the email. The recipients shall only see the sender’s email address.
Did you see the kind of English used? Right from spellings to punctuation and grammar. There were lots of issues. It is hard to believe that a CEO authored that email.
Lesson – If you choose to use English, write good English. However good your services may be, the fact that your english was written poorly turns off any potential customer like me.
What is the focus of the email? He wrote the names of the three companies they operate as and outlined the services offered by each. Did he expect all recipients to understand these services as listed?
Even technical people would have a challenge because some of the areas listed can be broad. Take the example of, Training in Information Technology.
Lesson – Any Marketing email should have a very specific focus in order not to lose the plot. If you have many things you want to convey, probably provide an internet link that details that information instead of trying to put all of it in an email.
Right from the name and email address used, the Subject as well as the information written, there was nothing much to show that it was a legitimate email. I read it till the end in a hesitant manner and it is only the fact that the sender put his mobile phone number that I thought, Maybe!!!
Lesson – An operation involving a group of companies like this one cannot merely be run using a gmail address. It waters down a lot of what you are trying to achieve as an entrepreneur. It is most likely to end up in the SPAM folder of someone’s email. In fact, I wonder how it escaped mine.
Call to Action
What action does he want to be taken by the recipient after reading the email? He wants me to call, but for what? I hardly understand exactly what they do considering that most of what was listed were just highlights of potentially broad service areas. I saw no justifiable reason to call him in case I already have a provider of similar services.
Lesson – If you focus your email well, it becomes easier to come up with a call to action that the recipients can act upon. Calls may come through out of need or curiosity and that implies that you should be ready for the next stage of selling.
Identity – From the email, it seems like the company is Frank and vice versa. This is not a good sign especially if he wants to tap big customers who prefer to rely on a provider that is sizeable enough to take on the heavy load of work. One man entities are usually feared since any harm that comes upon the individual could mean disaster for the service recipients.
Lesson – It is important to brand your business independently of you the individual. This gives it a life of its own to the extent that as you grow and get more staff, they too can comfortably execute work without your direct presence.
Now that we have seen what went wrong with Frank’s email pitch, below is a proposal that I came up with. Just maybe, by comparing, you shall be in a better position to tell the difference and which of the two emails would yield better results.
Subject: Introducing Happitech Group
Dear Mr. Oribadri
I am reaching out to you from Happi-Tech Group of companies to establish if I can have a discussion with you or someone at Oribadri Technologies regarding our Information Technology (IT) Services.
At Happi-Tech, we have had the opportunity to work with some of the leading brands in East Africa to design, deploy and maintain various IT services and products.
Some of the notable challenges we have been able to address include among others;
- The lack of organisational IT Security Policies
- The need for secure corporate networks
- The lack of skills in: Cyber Security, Social Media use, Desktop publishing and Online content management.
Does your organisation experience some of these challenges? Do you anticipate any of them in the near future?
If you do, kindly let me know whether you’re open to setting up an appointment to discuss this further.
Kindly revert on the email address used or call me up on 0756XXXXXX.
Many thanks for taking time to read this email.
Happi-Tech Group of Companies
Happy Email marketing. Feel free to share even better ways of handling email marketing for start-ups.
James Wire is a Business and Technology Consultant based in Kampala, Uganda
Follow @wirejames on Twitter.
Email lunghabo [at] gmail [dot] com