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How Not To Inspire Confidence In Your Customers

When you’re a Web 2.0 startup, it’s difficult to build your customer base and fight for legitimacy in the face of more established, entrenched tech companies. But there are certainly things you can avoid to make things easier for yourself.
Recently, a company/service called BlogRush launched to lots of buzz on the internet, not all of it positive. On its face, BlogRush seems like a great way to drive traffic to your website: You display other people’s links in a widget on your blog and in return, get your articles displayed on other people’s websites. Despite almost unbelievable hype, many blogs have been skeptical about the company’s potential.

Although I don’t personally use BlogRush, a friend of mine does and he recently forwarded me an e-mail from their president, John Reese. Before I continue, let me just say that Reese is apparently a well-known marketing personality and clearly has shown significant initiative in starting a company like BlogRush, not to mention his other ventures. Nonetheless, his e-mail isn’t exactly a confidence-booster in the company. Here is an excerpt, preserved exactly as Reese wrote it:

ARE YOU READY? Because *everything* is about to change. Forget
everything else up until now…
PREPARE FOR *BIG* CHANGES! (TWO MAJOR CHANGES ARE NOW LIVE.)
BlogRush CAN’T EXIST if we’re not sending you a lot of ongoing,
targeted traffic. We fully recognize this and that’s why this is our
ONLY FOCUS.
The BlogRush team has been hard at work making major improvements for
you and we won’t rest until BlogRush is running 100% smoothly and
sending you tons of targeted traffic! This is OUR MISSION. Please
know that our entire team is working around-the-clock to make
improvements and fix any problems AS FAST AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

Without even reading the text, you can see that the bombastic capital letters are striking, in a bad way. For a company trying to break out of the gate, with users potentially already doubting the product’s utility, having your e-mail read like that of a high school student might not be the best strategy.
When you have customers or users, your best bet is to play it safe in your communications. Make your e-mails sound professional, like you’re communicating with your boss, a colleague, or even a potential employer. Eliminate all the typos in your text and keep colloquial idioms to a minimum. It might be boring, but people aren’t reading your e-mails to be entertained; they’re reading because they want information about your company and your product, and to know that you’re heading in the right direction. Do your best to inspire their confidence, not their laughter.

 How Not To Inspire Confidence In Your Customers

Cameron Olthuis

 How Not To Inspire Confidence In Your Customers

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6 thoughts on “How Not To Inspire Confidence In Your Customers

  1. I think this post was rather helpful and brings to the point the startups have a chance but need to be professional! Thanks for this post!

  2. Is it just me or isn’t it true that all “internet marketers” use this ALL CAPS method (or liberal use of bold). You know the web pages I am talking about… the ones that go on for 14 miles and have like 10 bonus offers and 30 testimonials and titles like…
    “How this lonely lawyer turned a death threat into SIX MILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!!!”
    Sad part is I have to disagree with you, that type of copy writing has its place, and it works well with the type of people he is targeting.

  3. I stopped using BlogRush 2 days after starting due to the massive amount of spam. I still see a LOT of spam appearing on the widget. They have a long way to go…

  4. I’m not going to claim that Reese is always right, but he has made a million dollars in a single day, THREE times. He kind of knows what he is doing when it comes to Internet marketing.
    Another example is landing pages (squeeze pages, funnels, whatever you want to call them) I *never* thought they would work, because I bounce back whenever I encounter one.
    Well guess what? I set one up, and I get a 33% conversion rate. If I had encountered the landing page, I would have bounced as I always do, but the conversion rate is HUNDREDS of times higher than my regular page, which, if I was interested in the subject matter, I would be much more inclined to use.
    It does look like he is back peddling a bit here, but I still think you’re missing the point a little. He is keeping in front of his customers, promising to do his upmost to fix these issues which they undoubtedly already know about. That is far more important than his use of caps.
    But even his use of caps isn’t all bad, how else do you emphasize in plain text emails? Without reading it again, tell me what parts of the email you remember, then tell me the caps are amateur.

  5. I too got that immature message, and now that you’ve mentioned it, I think I removed the BlogRush widget from my blog after reading that email. And anyway, they sound very arrogant whenever you visit their website.