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Archive for January, 2012

Even worse than using clichés …

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

… Is mixing up your clichés! A couple of years ago I was rewriting some web copy for a client (who shall remain nameless) and couldn’t stop smiling when I got to the existing ‘About us’ page. The company had created a brief biography for each staff member and one man was described as “really coming out of the box to help you”.

It was so endearing, I was tempted to leave it in. But seeing as the company wasn’t an undertakers and didn’t make ventriloquists’ dummies, it didn’t really work.

Have you come across anything unintentionally funny on a website?


[Image courtesy of AkaraKingdoms.]

Are you a delegate-list spammer?

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

I love meeting new people and learning about their businesses. Networking events can be rich with potential customers, open doors and exciting opportunities. Sometimes you can’t beat swapping knowledge and business cards over a Malted Milk biscuit … and many events allow you to meet face to face with a quantity of interesting people it might take you months to visit individually.

But one thing that winds me up about networking events? When people scrape the list of delegates afterwards and use it to send unsolicited marketing emails.

Don’t get me wrong. I welcome little “hello” emails, the “sorry I didn’t get to speak to you, but I notice you supply …” sort-of missives, where the sender has taken the trouble to personalise their message. These people are often good networkers: the ones not hellbent on making a quick sale, but interested in building mutually beneficial relationships. That’s great.

But I dislike blanket, send-all emails that show no thought or imagination. Sometimes they show no respect for the recipient, either. I once found several megabytes of brochure weighing down my inbox, from a company that makes building components. I doubt they would’ve been willing to spend money on sending literature to a business like mine, which has no need for drainage systems, but just because it cost nothing didn’t mean it was a good idea. In fact, it could have cost them a lot more: damaged credibility.

Am I being harsh? Marketing is difficult, and we are trading in difficult times. These are small businesses and start-ups, who are often told by business advisers to get themselves ‘out there’ as much as they can. So maybe they should be forgiven for jumping on a current, juicy list of people with which they have something in common (the event) and using it to showcase their business.

But I do think people should get more creative and personal in their approach - or hire someone who can be creative and personal for them.

These cheeky delegate-list spammers are not breaking the law. (There are laws surrounding email marketing, but generally they protect consumers, not businesses.) But I don’t think it’s good practice.

What do you think?

Stop spam sign

Happy 2012 (and be nice to your readers)

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Happy new year from Good As Gold! My Facebook newsfeed this morning is filled with complaints about sleeping badly, the miserable weather or returning to work (or all three). I hope you’re feeling more positive than the majority of my friends … although I suspect their updates may represent the mood of the nation at large.

One of my 2012 business resolutions is to blog more, so I thought I’d kick off with something that I tucked away this time last year.

Imagine my delight when, on 5 January, I received an unsolicited email newsletter from a leadership management company, with this opening:

Ahhhh the start of another year and all those New Year resolutions have probably already been broken. Back in the same old groove after just 5 days are we? Fancy a change? Fancy something new? Want to try something different? It will take more than a promise to yourself at midnight on New Years Eve after a couple of glasses of shampoo!!

Not only is this badly written, but - worse - it’s patronising, makes assumptions about the reader, and … well, it’s a teeny bit rude. I’d been to the gym that day! I’d eaten my five portions of fruit and veg! I even resisted that enormous slab of Christmas cake at lunchtime.

OK, I’m lying about the cake - but I hope you get my point. Be friendly. Be self-deprecating. Even be personal. Never insult your reader.

Here’s to an Olympic year ahead.

New Year 2012

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