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
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.