This is not a rumour – email is dangerous..!

We love email and believe itAn apology was issued to 38 British soldiers yesterday because they had mistakenly been told they were to lose their jobs – via email. Getting dismissed by email is not new, of course, but it is no joke when it happens. Equally, some partners have been “dumped” by text message. It seems we find it all to easy to send bad news in writing – after all, it avoids the embarrassment of having to look them in the eye. Worse, though, are the supposed dismissal emails sent as a joke, or the “your wife is having an affair” kind of text message sent “for a laugh”. The problem is that people rarely see the joke; we almost always believe texts and email.

In fact, new research from Ohio State University shows that people are rather gullible when it comes to email. Apparently, content that we would dismiss as nonsense when we see it on a website, or in a Tweet, is just the kind of stuff we believe when it is sent in an email. This effect is increased when the email comes from a friend. If someone you know and trust sends you an email which contains a rumour, or is just blatantly untrue, you actually tend to believe it.

Although this study concentrated on political rumours, the effect it found was significant. Indeed, the researchers went as far as to say that because email is so believable, it is potentially dangerous. People are considerably more likely to believe material from people they know and like – even if it is not true.

However, if you run an online business you can use the believability of email to your advantage. For instance, by developing a relationship with your potential or actual customers your emails will be more trusted. I am not suggesting you should lie, of course. But once you become a “friend” of your contacts, your emails will be more believable than the other marketing emails that come their way.

Similarly, if you can muster a group of “evangelists” for your business to email their contacts about the good you do, then such emails will be considerably believable – more believable than if you sent out messages yourself to the same bunch of recipients.

This study is yet more endorsement for the fact that concentrating on email marketing is essential in building credibility. Your potential customers are more likely to believe your emails than your website, the research suggests. But don’t joke – they may well believe you, or you will have to send out an embarrassing apology like the Ministry of Defence had to do yesterday.

Like this article?

Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on email
Share via email

Other posts that might be of interest

Internet Psychology

Is your brain back to front?

British businesses will spend this weekend on tenterhooks as they wait for Monday’s announcement from the Government about the ending of lockdowns. For the past couple of weeks, the mutterings from 10 Downing Street suggest

Read More »
blank
Internet Psychology

Can you do boring tasks?

Last week, not far from the M25 in Buckinghamshire, the biggest-ever boring machine in the UK started its slow churn through the Chiltern hills to dig a tunnel for the HS2 rail system. It will

Read More »
Fence painting
Online Business

When did you last paint your garden fence?

If you are a “big change” business, then you are like my garden fence. Leaving it unpainted for so long has created much more work, at a higher cost, than if it had been tended to every year. Ignoring reviews of your online activity for long periods also means you make more work for yourself and raise your costs.

Read More »