I'm Scottish and therefore I've been following the Independence Referendum closely. In case you weren't aware, the results came in on the 19th September and we ended up staying with the rest of the United Kingdom.
So, I was pretty surprised to see this email arrive on the same day from Made.com:
Wow. So were the news reports wrong and Scotland had in fact become an independent country?
Ah. Nope - the marketing department at Made had just made a huge blooper. Phew.
To be fair, within an hour they had sent out an email containing this message to try and recover the situation:
So, What Can We Learn Here?
The thing is that Made.com are an established business and they can probably get away with the odd mistake like this. However, if you are just getting your own small business off the ground, do you think you'll be afforded the same luxury?
Sadly, I think that if a new small business was to send out an email campaign like this, their credibility would take a huge hit. And if you don't have any previous experience with the recipients to help temper the blow, it might be one that you can't recover from.
So, if there's one thing that we should take away from the above, it's this:
- Simple really - make sure you check absolutely everything twice before you 'hit send'. Even triple check it or get someone else to have a look for you
- Also, think about how your email comes across in general - more on that below
I mean, have a look at the messages above - they really are terrible. And I don't just mean the fact that it mad no sense whatsoever in the wider context of the Independence Referendum.
Here are a few other points to think about:
- The second email said 'Scotland, it's great to have you back!'. Really? We didn't go anywhere in the first place
- The voucher code 'AUCHAYE' was obviously trying to appeal to Scots - a quick Google search would have shown that, while 'Auch aye' is used very, very rarely, it's probably a misspelling and that 'Och aye' is the correct spelling to use
- Think about the main premise of the email. The subject header was 'NEWS: Made.com opens in another country'. Really? After checking this, they don't have a fixed premises here, so aren't they really just delivering up here as they always have done?
Taken as a whole, I think the above combine to leave a really bad taste in the mouth.
To me, the whole email campaign was just really badly planned and executed. I'm sure you can do much better for your small business - in fact, I'd say you'd just have to. The average new business simply won't get away with this type of performance.
If you want to see a couple of examples of emails working properly, here are a few posts to help you out:
And here is a general email marketing checklist to help you cover everything off before you 'hit send' too quickly and make the same mistakes as above.
Thanks for reading,
By Alan MacDougall
Got a nagging marketing question? Ask me here.
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Revenue Builder is a small business marketing strategy advice blog, written to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.