Here’s a quick task for you: go through your inbox and find some emails from the employees of companies you are in contact with. They may be messages from technical support people, or perhaps receipts from the accounts department, maybe something from an executive or two. Now take a close look at those emails and see how much opportunity has been taken by the business sending the email.
Have they, for instance, used the opportunity of sending you an email to deepen their relationship with you, perhaps by suggesting connecting via Facebook or Twitter? Or, have they used the opportunity to provide you with a discount on any future purchase by adding a coupon code to the email? Similarly, have they taken the opportunity to seek information from you, perhaps in a poll or survey?
The chances are none of these things have happened. I took a look at 50 different emails from various businesses in my inbox from the last couple of weeks. Only two had any form of additional information in the email which could have either led to extending the relationship or selling me anything.
An email signature is not enough – after all, it usually only contains the address and phone number of the company and their logo. Businesses see that as important in terms of branding, forgetting that the only people who really care about the corporate logo are the internal “branding police”. The rest of us couldn’t give a fig. Having the logo at the bottom of the email is not important to us – but knowing how we might extend our relationship with the business is much more valuable. Or being offered a “voucher” for future purchases is also more interesting than a standard email signature.
Every email a business sends is an opportunity to entice customers or potential clients to get closer to the company in some way. Yet few businesses use this opportunity in any real, practical or useful way. It means having personalised additional information at the end of each email that is sent out by a business. It means taking a moment or two extra time to include a useful piece of additional material that could lead to an extended relationship or even a purchase.
If you don’t take that time to go beyond what the email is about you are missing an opportunity. McDonalds never misses the “upsell” of “Do you want fries with that?”, yet so many businesses that use email fail to consider getting more from the reader in any way. So, if your technical support team answer queries via email, for instance, they may need some kind of system that will help them add something, such as a voucher, to their technical emails. Or you may need to establish a series of online polls that can be automatically added to every customer service email.
But whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity an email provides to get closer to your customers or to offer them items they may want to buy from you. A standard signature is not enough – personalised, relevant additional material will engage people and will thereby increase your customer connections.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+