I’ve mentioned a couple of times on this blog that I am not a fan of professional service firms using canned messages in their marketing. They tend to be unremarkable, do little to foster relationship building, and in some cases, can even be damaging to a relationship.

In her post, Beware of Canned Emails: Another reason why simply copying marketing doesn’t work, Allison Shields gives a great example of what this looks like from the recipients side of the inbox. This paragraph from Allison’s post says it all:

“Not only was the email canned, but it was a complete waste of my time, with all of the clicking, waiting and useless animation. If it was meant to make me feel ‘special’ or remembered, it had the opposite effect because it was so obviously canned and directed indiscriminately to the senders’ entire mailing list. And it provided nothing whatsoever of value.”

(Read Allison’s complete post here)

Have you had an experience similar to Allison’s? Chances are you have because many marketers focus on using technology to be efficient rather than being effective. We focus on using automation to address our needs and time constraints without paying enough attention to the time and needs of the people receiving our email blasts.

If we consider using these canned “relationship building” techniques in our personal lives, we recognize them immediately as ridiculous. It would be more efficient to send an assistant to date night with your wife or husband, wouldn’t it? Would you like a copy of my form letter for wishing your kids a happy birthday? I have “personalized” letters for pre-teen, teens, and young adults.

To be more effective, use your database to store more than just your contacts email address. Store dates that are important to them, notes from previous conversations, family member names, hobbies, food and drink preferences, information about who they would like to meet, etc. You know, relationship stuff.

Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant