Want to really piss off your customers and prospects?
Try implementing a DoNotReply @ or NoReply @ from-address for your email marketing and customer communications.
Marketing has been shifting away from loud self-promotion toward individual conversations for a while now.
Even if you’re not (effectively) using marketing automation, I’m sure you’ve seen the evidence: the proliferation of website sales and support chat apps, sales teams moving from hard sale tactics to a consultative approach, and business development teams dedicated to engaging prospects in a conversation, just to name a few.
As a result, marketers are no longer responsible for just brand awareness. They are responsible for generating interest in a conversation.
With this trend clearly in place, it is amazing that businesses still utilize the NoReply @ from address (or a variation thereof).
What better way to make it clear to your prospects or customers that you cannot be bothered to help them than the use of an email address that bounces upon reply?
I received the following email from a certain accounting software company that claims to be fast, of whom I am a current paying customer.
Not an awful email on its own. It’s brief, to the point, and gives them a reason to follow-up in the future without promising that they won’t, even if you select the “not now” option.
On the downside, “checking in” is possibly the weakest attention grabber / pseudo-CTA there is, and there isn’t a means to say “hey, I actually would like to team up with you and give you my hard-earned money,” but that’s a topic for later.
Being a current, paying customer of this Online accounting software, I thought I’d do them a favor and let them know that I am an existing customer so they could update their records and not waste active contacts or the equivalent on sending me prospect marketing.
And so I did, not paying attention to the reply-to address as I do so. Guess who replied… Your friend and mine, good old mailer-daemon.
“Yeah… we know we literally just tried to earn your business with that email, but we really don’t have interest in actually talking to you…”
Had I actually been looking for new accounting software, this would have really had me heated. As I mentioned earlier, there was no “I want to buy now” option, or any other helpful link aside from “don’t bother me for X months.”
The only relevant link in their email is their logo, which takes you to a page that touts 50% off the price of a subscription (50% lower than what I am currently paying them). So now they have not only proven they don’t care enough to keep track of me as a customer but that I am also overpaying for their services.
Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.
Perhaps they run a very lean organization and are trying to funnel all sales inquiries into a select few channels.
An auto-responder indicating that this mailbox is not monitored, but providing contact details/instructions for sales, support, etc., would have had the same effect, with a much more proactive and favorable impression left on the customer or prospect.
What have we learned?
What have we learned from this not-as-intuitive-as-the-parent-company’s-name-would-have-you-believe marketing folly?
You want the conversation.
The conversation is the key to the sale.
If you want to earn (or keep) someone’s business, don’t shy away from the conversation.
You have competitors who will be more than willing to have a conversation with your prospects and customers if you won’t.
This is not a new concept. However, it still may not yet be applied to your sales and marketing processes in full.
Before sending out an email, assess the end-goal of the campaign.
What are you trying to accomplish here?
How does it fit in with the rest of your sales and marketing strategy?
Does this email lead prospects to your desired outcome(s)?
If your end-goal is to earn a customer, make sure you provide an easy means to do so.
I am paying you $X/mo. Bringing attention to the fact that you love new customers more than existing customers to the tune of 50% off your subscription costs does not make for an overly pleased existing customer.
Have you had similar experiences?
What are your thoughts on killing the DoNotReply @ / NoReply @ address for good?