The big marketing blunder that’s endemic

When was the last time you emailed your past customers? I ask only because I was gobsmacked by a message that entered my inbox yesterday afternoon. It was from a company called BlogFlux and started with:

You are receiving this email because you had signed up at some time over the past 9 years.

I don’t specifically recall signing up with this site, but I did try adding blogs to various blog directories years ago. And in the years since I evidently signed up with this site, how many messages did they send me? Well, I don’t remember receiving any – before this week.

Now I can understand why, in the days of snail mail, companies were wary throwing a stamp and printing at a free user like me (I can’t work out whether their business has a revenue stream). But when email is so cheap, I’m amazed that this firm didn’t try to retain my interest. It hardly needs an MBA to realise that if you’re running a directory of blogs, you ought to be trying to flog the members with services related to blogging.

Their marketing blunder is, however, widespread. Businesspeople often worry about annoying customers by sending them too many emails or direct mail letters. Most send far too few. Often well-intentioned plans to email once a month morph into a message every two years. This is hopeless, because the people who have already bought from you and like your product are likely to buy again.

And even if they don’t themselves need your product a second time, they can become useful ambassadors for your firm. Part of the business I run involves providing training, and at first I assumed that once people had been trained, that would be that.

In fact, what happens is that they forward on my marketing to their colleagues and friends, or they tell me that want to collaborate in different ways. While I like to think of myself as unforgettable, the reality is that others live busy lives.

If you don’t make the effort, they’ll forget that you’re around.

Alex Singleton is a public relations trainer and consultant.

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