I received an email asking me to provide feedback on a blouse that I ordered a few weeks ago — only I had returned it the same day I received it. My sister was sent a thank you email for participating in a webinar — that she did not attend. I was asked to write a review on a book I ordered online — the day after it arrived. (I’m a fast reader, but not that fast!)

Contrast those messages with another email my sister received, also from a webinar that she signed up for but did not attend live. Instead of the incorrect “Thank you for joining us!” it read: “Sorry we missed you! Couldn’t make it to today’s webinar. That’s okay. We’ll send you the recording soon. In the meantime, you can access the presentation and resources that were shared — Check it out.” How much more inspiring is that?

The first set of examples exemplify the non-personal nature of the communication — it’s obvious that it was sent automatically and it leads you to believe that no one will care if you ignore them. But the second email highlights that someone (even if it’s an algorithm) noticed that you weren’t there and they still want you to connect. People who receive that probably would feel much more compelled to interact with the recording or content.

Technology is a great tool that allows organizations to tailor messages to specific audiences — but failure to link the communication with other steps in the process is a waste of effort. If you think creating an email campaign is simple, you haven’t thought about it enough.

Thanks, Meg!

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