Offering people something and letting them down is always worse than not offering anything at all.

A little while ago in a couple of posts I relayed the story of how the garage that sold me my car offered to reduce its emissions with a software tweak free of charge.

I took my car in, waited twice as long as they had suggested and was then told, sorry it didn’t work.  Since then I have heard nothing.  It left me feeling far more negative than if they had not made the offer in the first place.

Curiously I’ve now had another example of how a lack of thought can leave a customer feeling worse than if nothing had happened at all.

The Guardian newspaper emailed me and asked me to do a questionnaire.  Since the Guardian is the paper I read (please don’t hold that against me), I agreed to do the survey.

I completed five questions, but then on answering that I never did any of the puzzles, quizzes or crosswords in the paper, I got the message “We are sorry but you do not qualify for this survey. Thank you for your participation.”

OK, I wasn’t actually utterly miffed, but I was frustrated. Why on earth didn’t they make it clear at the start that they only wanted people who did their crossword, etc, to answer the questionnaire?

Now this is hardly a big deal, but when we advertise we work hard to get our potential customers thinking good things about us. And both the Guardian and Mercedes actions show how readily this can be undone.

If the Guardian had said “this is only for people who do puzzles” in big letters at the start, and if Mercedes and only written to me subsequently and told me what was happening, probably I wouldn’t have thought any more about it.  But they didn’t.

I believe this “need to think” about the reader’s reaction is prime if you want to maximise your advertising effectiveness.  And it is something that worries me a lot as advertisements move from the email to the website.

It is all part of my view that we need to take a lot of time to see our advertisements as the reader sees them – as the outsider.  Which is why Schools.co.uk always offers to take a look at emails for teachers and give our thoughts.

In doing a review we see the advert afresh, as outsiders, and so notice is anything does not follow through smoothly from email to website.  For this is, in my view, the single biggest reason for some advertisements not maximising their potential.

If you would like us to have a look at an email, without any charge, just drop a note to Stephen@schools.co.uk along with a copy of the advert and we’ll send you back our written review.  Absolutely no commitment on your part.

And if you are ready to book in your advertisements for the new term, our 4 Email campaign facility is of course up and running, giving you emails at very low prices aimed directly at the teachers that you wish to reach

Four emails to primary schools will cost a total of £289, while four to secondary, nursery or special schools will cost just £215 in total, with the emails directed to the personal email address of the teachers of your choice.

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