You Emailed What!!!?
By Jeffrey Dobkin
Yes, I got your email yesterday.
I get everyone’s email, at least that’s the way it seems.
300 Messages a day. Including low mortgage rates, sex from Russian women who are lonely, free money from the Prime Minister of Nigeria, Via*ra stores, a whole barrage of messages in Spanish which I don’t speak, and now in alphabets I can’t decipher.
Yes, I’m sure I received the email from you, but just refresh me – what was it about?
Isn’t it the same on your computer? Thousands of pieces of information showing up in electronically charged ions every day? When do you get free time to read it all? Answer: You don’t.
So, here’s the problem:
Computer overload. Too much information. Everyone is taking precise aim right at my CRT (whoa – cathode ray tubes, remember them? Or am I dating myself – which wouldn’t be a bad thing as at least I’d have something to do this Friday night). Frankly, I’m out of computer screen time. Until I figure out a way to get my computer into the bathroom, it’s likely to stay that way.
But there’s good news, too. You don’t have to send everything by email.
Because you can send your prospects, clients and customers a letter. Remember them? Letters are always well received and nice letters are really, really well received.
Email = ugh not another one! How fast can get it off my screen!
Letter = hey – I got a letter!
Come on, admit it – you like to get letters, too. Nice letters can sit on your desk, you can read and reread them at your leisure and smile. Go on – take one into the bathroom, I’ll wait.
Sure, email is great if you need to supply a fast quote by the end of the day. It’s an emergency vehicle. But if it’s that important, your brief email should be followed up by a real letter. Yea, a real USPS-delivered letter.
You see, emails, websites, searches and results; everything on the web is a victim of your limited time of staring at it on your computer screen. And after the briefest of looks, it’s gone from your screen, gone from sight, and — out of sight out of mind.
But a letter? A real letter? Wow. I can send you a letter and it can sit on your desk for days (or around here, weeks or months). All the while reminding you how much I care about you as a client and a friend. Reminding you I took the trouble to sit down and compose it and actually write something intelligent out, in proper English and using capitals, no typos (OK minimal typos) find an envelope and a stamp – no simple task around here, either; address it and finally charge down to the post office to send it to you. Yea, it was that important.
When you get right down to it, an email is a brief note that is always a nanosecond away from the delete button. A letter is a permanent work of passion: writing and art wrapped into an air of permanence.
Help the ailing post office out – write a letter. It’s something that can stick around forever. The only time an email does that is when you’ve said something you shouldn’t have.
A letter can be your showpiece of fine linen stationary, handsome logo and well thought out, well phrased wording that has the permanence an email always lacks. Traditional letters are always ready to be passed around the office, shown to colleagues – for them to touch and see. It’s a real document, with your personal signature – right there on the face of it.
Unlike emails, when a letter is filed away it’s always at hand. I’ll bet you 2 to 1 that you can put your hands on an old letter you received 6 months ago. Yes, even though it wasn’t that important when you received it, it plunged into an easy-to-find filing system – which I actually believe was developed by the gods 4,000 years ago. But that email you got last week? That’s different. Where is it now? I’ll tell you:
Where old messages go to die:
I have this huge file on my computer called older mail. That’s where old messages go to die. On a good day, most emails receive the briefest of looks, on a bad day, even less – too bad I wasn’t ready to deal with the matter at hand at that time. Then, 500 more emails came in.
On a bad day they all went to directly to the spam file unopened or the “Older Mail” to be viewed sometimes between later and never and just wound up trashed with all the other messages facing similar fate: death by distraction. Someday I’ll look through them all again. All ten million of them. Yea, right. Do you keep telling yourself that, too?
Does your communications strategy match your customer’s expectations? Because today that’s just not good enough, is it? In today’s tough selling environment – it should exceed expectations. Don’t you think you should strive for a more lasting impression than a brief email?
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