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Big Email Fail (and 7 ways to avoid it)!

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I'm sharing my "fall-flat" moment to keep you from doing the same.

The big relief is that I didn't fail a client. I just managed to leave a really bad impression of my own business.

Do you ever get overwhelmed with your business? Happens to me. About once a day, most days. Sooooo much to do. It's not possible to do it all.

I host my most popular teleclass, "Building Blocks of a Winning Proposal," a couple times a year. I love the difference it makes for every business owner who attends!

Last month I got behind on promoting it. I was stressed. I really wanted my community to know all the fantastic things they could get from this class, and give them discounts and bonuses...and I ran out of time to call everyone and do those follow up emails.

So, I needed help, right? Delegate. Outsource. 

I engaged one of my favorite people, a specialist who had brought my clients great success on their lead generation calls. She's got just the right energy, she's professional and enthusiastic, and I was thrilled that she was available. When I work with a client in support of a call program, the client and I review every one of the communication pieces before they ever reaches a prospect. I got the call list ready for her, briefed her on what I needed, and she was all set.

Oh, and could she put together a follow-up email to support the calls? Absolutely! I mentioned about all the great benefits of the course, and the bonuses and even the money-back special offer. She had it all.

Initial feedback was terrific. "Your people are lovely," she said. "Everyone I talked to was glad to hear from me, and really appreciate you," Whew. Problem solved. I could let go of this one.

Except that I'd missed a step. In fact, a couple of them.

A few days later, I got an email from a business owner I'd been hoping would consider engaging me. I saw the chilling subject line, "Fwd: Fantastic Fed Biz Opportunities", and a cover note, "Are you aware of this?"

Oh, no. I thought. Please tell me I didn't let this go out without seeing it.

Oh, yes, I most certainly did.

I forced myself to read the whole thing, to get the full brunt of the communication that I had given full authority for someone to send on my behalf.

I was mortified.

People I had nurtured relationships with, people I wanted to show that I care about them and their businesses, got an email that showed them exactly the opposite impression I wanted to deliver. I had been so distracted by things that mattered to me that I had lost my focus in my communications on things that mattered to my community.

Email disaster mop up

  • I thanked my friend who forwarded me the email I would not have seen otherwise.
  • I apologized to my team member for failing to provide her draft with the review and support she deserved to make the impression we both wanted to give my community. I take full responsibility for that.
  • I also owe my email recipients and apology and explanation, and hope that they allow me to make amends for my carelessness. I'm hoping it's a teachable moment.

Email campaign checklist for next time

  1. Review the email my team is sending before it goes.
  2. Give my team an email account from my domain and a full signature block
  3. Pick a thoughtful subject line related to something the recipient cares about
  4. Limit each email to one topic or feature and one call to action. If I want to write about more topics or features, I'll create an email sequence.
  5. Plan the campaign in time to launch at least a month of lead time ahead of the event.
  6. Use short sentences.
  7. Keep the email short, too.

If want to see the before-and-after versions of the email as I work on it, let me know. Better still, if you're interested in "Building Blocks of a Winning Proposal" (and all the yummy bonuses), here's details on the next one! Do you have time to get the early bird bonus?


Judy Bradt, CEO of Summit Insight, gives federal contractors the competitive analysis and sales strategy you need to grow your federal business. Need lead generation programs or communication support? She's got your back. Call her at (703) 627-1074 or email her at judy.bradt@summitinsight.com.

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 5:35pm

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