“First, do no harm” is a great phrase. You’ll most likely have heard it quoted as part of the Hippocratic Oath, though its exact origin isn’t certain, the gist is - don't just be good, actively don’t be bad. Two lines into reading this, you’re probably thinking, “Why is a marketer from a compression software company talking to me about oaths, promises and bits of old Latin, has he lost it?” Well, before you take my keyboard away and call for the men in white coats, hear me out....
Last week I did, in fact ‘lose it’ a bit. Just like all of you, I get cold emails offering me this or that (I’m all stocked up on male virility pills for now thanks). Rarely do I open one and even more rarely do I respond. But one person pushed my buttons enough to get two separate replies from me.
The first email I received hardly registered. It was a personal message explaining that I had been picked out from Linkedin as someone who might be interested in their sales and marketing tool to provide ‘lead scoring’ - a way of prioritizing potential customers. It was generic but nicely worded, had links to their website and a couple of case studies. It was relevant to me, polite and to the point, the only bit that bugged me was the subject ‘Neuxpower’, concealing what the message was about. On balance, OK I guess.
The following two emails came shortly after; “Hi Paul, I just saw I didn't get a reply…” and then “Are you still digital marketing manager at Neuxpower?”. I responded explaining that I’m all sorted for lead scoring and that I had little faith in a company providing lead scoring who’d scored me highly enough to annoy three times (sometimes I can be snarky, not my best quality). My spleen sufficiently vented, I got on with my day.
The next email was unexpected; “I am happy to take your expert advice concerning email marketing... seriously”. At this point I felt bad, I didn’t need to send a snarky response before. Now, I was being given a chance to make things better, so I replied.
I explained how three emails felt like being chased. How it was ironic that while pitching a sales tool to qualify leads, they’d alienated one. That just because someone opens an email doesn't mean they are interested, they may have read and ruled you out. I estimated that the first three emails I received were templates, possibly sent personally but more likely automated, either way they felt impersonal and a bit lazy. I said that an ‘Opt-in’ communication with a prospect is always going to be better than cold contacting. And finally, a quick visit to our site to look at our code would have revealed that we have a ‘lead scoring’ tool like theirs, so I was already sold on it’s benefits. A bit more effort in looking at who you’re emailing first would mean more good conversations and fewer hostile people like me.
Feeling great about myself and the wonderful treatise on marketing that I’d written, I hit send. Then I started to wonder, am I just as bad? Do I annoy people regularly? Are there thousands of people out there one email away from a snarky response? Cue the promise…
We, the marketing team of Neuxpower, do solemnly swear, to never annoy, to try our very best to be relevant, and to leave you well alone should you prefer it.
At Neuxpower we have tried to keep to this from the very start, but it bears being said publicly. We want to keep having good conversations with you, in the way you’d prefer to have them. Our company is built on a ethos of ‘disproportionate value’ and that goes right through our products, our support, our sales and our marketing. We hope that not just our emails, but every interaction we have with you has some value. We want to get things right, but we acknowledge that we might lack perspective sometimes, perspective that you can help give us. In order to ‘do no harm’ we have to be proactive at identifying it.
So, if you’re feeling in any way hostile to us, like you’d prefer not to hear from us, or that we’re talking to you in the wrong way, let us know and we absolutely promise to fix it. Here’s my personal email - firstname.lastname@example.org - drop me a message any time and I’ll see to it that we listen and change whenever possible to suite you better. But please, no cold marketing emails.