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There’s almost nothing more frustrating than receiving a business email that says, “Please do not reply to this message as replies to this email address are not read,” but offers no other options for those who want to respond:

“If it’s important enough for you to send to me,” says best selling marketing author, Seth Godin, “it may be important enough for me to write back.”

Of course we all recognise that wading through email takes time and money, however, like any point of contact each response represents a valuable opportunity to engage your customers. At any time but especially in a time of recession, each contact is a golden opportunity to prove to your customers and potential customers why they should use you.

Itís too short sighted to lose a customer because they canít get in touch with you, so create a dedicated reply address that goes to a real person who can respond to the question or comment. Alternatively, add a web address at the bottom of your message where customers can fill in an online form to feedback directly.

The first step when using email marketing is to ensure your list is valid so your permission-based message is anticipated and welcome.

If youíre not a believer in permission based email then lookout, just because you have access to an address doesnít mean itís a wise choice to mail it. You can email a million people in a heartbeat, costing the recipients time (and thus money) and you not much of either. The recipient knows this, and feels exploited or cheated. It’s not fair, and can backfire. The very ease of interruption makes the interruption more annoying. Itís not free marketing, it can also cost you customers who no longer trust you or your product and will spend their money elsewhere.

So ensure you use a permission based list, you’ll cut down on annoyed replies if your list is receptive to communication.

An interesting point Godin makes is that email is really the only medium where the Ďhuman voiceí appears the same whether itís live or recorded. There is also the expectation through our constant email communications both social and business that all interactions are 2 way.

Like Hollywood stars who complain about the media but are happy to use the media to promote themselves, marketeers are essentially communicators and, like it or lump it, communication is a 2-way street. So if you donít want to get email, donít send email.

source: Seth Godin

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