Friday, January 9, 2009

Can You Believe Organizations Still Push Direct Email Campaigns Like This One?!

I recently received a email blast from the Worcester Chamber of Commerce.

As you can see, the banner is virtually unreadable, crammed full of messages from sponsors. The email below it isn't much better. It's a scroll through poorly designed announcements, conflicting logos, clashing fonts and dueling events. It's amateurish. It's a weapon of mass distraction.

Sadly, I've come to expect stuff like this from the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, as they try to squeeze every penny out of their increasingly disgruntled (and diminishing) membership base.

Setting aside the Balkans-like morass of the struggles between Central Massachusetts Chambers of Commerce, suffice it to say that the Worcester Chamber of Commerce has enjoyed more prosperous times.

But in terms of marketing and communications, this direct email campaign (if you can call it that) represents a new low in the Worcester Chamber of Commerce's outreach efforts. From this utterly abysmal piece I can only conclude that the head of the Chamber just isn't familiar with "new" direct email techniques.

So here's some free direct email marketing advice for the "powers that be" at the Worcester Chamber of Commerce (and for those of you in the profession who haven't yet grasped these fundamental lessons):

* Keep it simple: One message. One call to action.

* Keep the most important information above the fold: Surveys show that scroll down rates diminish precipitously, even as open rates decline. Keep your most important information (see "keep it simple") above the fold and immediately readable.

* Make it easy for people to act: One call to action (see "keep it simple") makes it easy for people to act. Give them a plethora of options and they'll generally choose to do nothing. Don't overwhelm your target audience. It's the quickest way to alienate them and turn them into "unsubs."

* Herd your target audience to your website: Use direct email to leverage your target audience. Entice them to click through to your website (although in the case of the Chamber's website this isn't a good idea) where you can capture their contact information and truly influence them.

This direct email campaign from the Worcester Chamber of Commerce fails on so many levels it's shameful. The Chamber's website is a shambles; a hodgepodge of information with no semblance of order.

On the whole, the email and the website reflect dismally on what purports to be the largest Chamber in New England.


Unknown said...

I like a man that can use "morass" in a coherent sentence. ;)

Very good points - agreed.

Unknown said...

Do you believe Generic Website is real? Generic Website.