What Not to Say When e-Marketing
Here’s a great example. This was the beginning sentence of an e-mail from a marketing firm trying to sell me something. What they were trying to sell was not entirely clear from the e-mail.
“I was reviewing a variety of information regarding (your company’s) solutions and I’m interested in learning more about the ROI and TCO initiatives within your group.”
So, in other words, she is interested in using my time to educate her without any real promise of value to me? She lost me right there.
I was listening to a marketing webinar the other day where the speaker said the age of the consultative sale is pretty much over. That’s paraphrasing, of course, but I listen to a lot of these. If I could remember who it was I was listening to, I’d go back, quote the source, and get it right.
I didn’t think much about the statement at the time, but the speaker’s point hit me when I read the first line of this e-mail. Today’s buyers do not have time to spend educating you on their business so you can uncover some need that you can sell to.
To be sure, you should be looking for unrealized pains that your services can address, but with as busy as people are these days, you have to go in with an answer even before you know the question.
I know this is antithetical to the way many of us were educated in sales and marketing! But, as we compete for attention in an increasingly frantic world, your value proposition needs to resonate immediately with your target audience. More than ever, you have to prove in the first communication that you have the answer.
The e-mail continued, “…our firm has a great deal of experience in quantifying the value of ERP solutions using ROI justification. I would like to share some of that knowledge with you and your team.”
That sounds so nice, doesn’t it? But if she wanted to share that knowledge she could have done so by linking to a white paper or a webinar within the body of the e-mail. Had I downloaded it, she would have had the added advantage of knowing that her message resonated with me.
“(our company) enables technology companies to quantify the economic business impact of their solutions using third-party validation. Our team develops custom ROI and TCO business value sales and marketing tools for every stage of the selling process from lead generation to close.”
I assumed from her interest in my ROI and TCO initiatives that their firm offered something along these lines. I’m less interested in their “great deal of experience” than I am in what they have accomplished during that time. If they focus on ROI and TCO practices they should understand how important ROI is to any prospective buyer. How about some examples of value provided?
I went to the website more out of curiosity than any real interest in her poorly stated value proposition. The web site was far stronger than this introductory e-mail and had plenty of content they could have linked to. She could have added value to me and improved her chance of adding me as a customer. Today’s best practices in e-mail marketing are a win-win for both seller and prospect.
I deleted all references to the company sending the e-mail since it’s not my intent to embarrass anyone. If this marketer reads my blog, hopefully she will forgive me for using her as a sample of what not to do. In the end, I hope this example can make all of us better at adding value to our prospects lives and reaching our future customers.
All the best!