As more and more businesses use mass e-mail as a marketing tool, we are seeing more and more stuff ups which put a serious dent in the sender’s credibility.
For example, about one year ago, a local law firm sent me a bulk e-mail with every one of their contacts visible in the “cc” field. To make matters worse, the recipients were identified by their relationship to the law firm, as in “Client – James Deck.”
Virgin Blue committed a major snafu last Friday. They sent an e-mail to a large number of their customers saying that because they were so close to reaching the airlines “Gold” status, they have been given a complimentary upgrade to “Gold.”
Hours later, Virgin Blue sent a second e-mail retracting the original e-mail, blaming Friday the 13th. While the e-mail offered the apologies of Virgin Blue, there was no further compensation.
All weekend, writers for new sites, blog sites, and Twitter have been afire with posts ranging from humorous to downright angry.
Yesterday at technology news site Gizmodo, Nick Broughall admits he is “unsure whether or not [to] be bemused or outraged at the mixup,” and asks readers “to suggest an emotion” for him to take towards the incident.
This week I would like to know:
What's your opinion on how Virgin Blue should have handled their huge mass e-mail stuff up?
Do you think they should have honored the offer? Do you think that customers should forgive them, because “everyone makes mistakes?”
Please visit the comments section on this blog post to share your opinion, and read what others have to say.
How do we prevent embarrassing mass email sins in our business?
Every week I receive e-mail newsletters that clearly originated in Microsoft Outlook. Indeed, the law firm mentioned at the beginning of this article used Outlook.
Using Outlook has several major drawbacks. The two biggest are:
1) The likelihood that you or your staff will eventually inadvertently cc: your mailing list instead of bcc:
2) In Australia there is anti-spam law that legally requires things like “double opt-in” and easy methods of unsubscribing. Outlook may not satisfy the anti-spam regulations.
The solution is very simple, and in many cases, free for small businesses!
There are a number of mass email providers that allow you to lodge your emails via a website, providing features like list management (covering all the anti-spam requirements), detailed statistics, sign up forms for your website, and send scheduling.
At 1300 Web Pro, we use Mailchimp. Mailchimp is free for databases of up to 500 subscribers. It is a very powerful platform and very easy to use. We have recommended it to other businesses, such as Star Gardentown Café, who also have great things to say about it now.
I look forward to reading the responses to my question – what would you do if you were the Virgin Blue CEO? Remember to visit the comment section and share your opinion.
If you send mass e-mail to your customers, please consider using a tool like Mailchimp.
If you don’t send mass e-mail to your customers, it might be a good thing to start thinking about…
1300 Web Pro
Image credit: Nick Broughall's article at Gizmodo