A Friend In Need

Please don't do what a company in Indiana did over the weekend. They sent me an email. It was unsolicited and I've never given them permission to email me. In fact, I've never heard of the company. Because they sell a specialized service (custom photo printing), I know they probably got my email address from a photography association or someone I've bought from in the past since I am an active amateur photographer.

Now I understand this company is trying to create new business. But, they took their one shot at interrupting me with a very poorly written letter and no reason to do anything but put them on my blocked senders' list. I know the people who hang out at The Water Cooler would never send something like this. But, sometimes we send things before we think them through so I'll share some of this with you.

The letter started, "Hello customers and friends." I and probably most of the people receiving this email are neither one. The very next sentence said they are the best secret in the industry because they don't have a marketing budget. I kid you not. That's what it said. My first thought was, "You desperately need to have one!"

This guy is bragging he doesn't do marketing and then says no marketing has worked as a strategy as he has grown every year since founding 4 years ago. I guess it's not working anymore.

The letter outlined a half-dozen points that were all "me too" and did not differentiate them from any other color lab. The only thing they tried to communicate that sets them apart is they will be on a first name basis with you if you are a customer because they are a "friendly lab."

Running a color printing lab is a difficult business. Since everyone (including the labs) are all digital the competition has increased dramatically. Spamming me and telling me you're a friendly lab is not only incongruous with that message but woefully lacking in any kind of Unique Selling Proposition.

The last thing he leaves me with isn't a call to action but a paragraph stating "We don't even know what state you are in." I guess that is supposed to make me feel good about something.

He then finishes by telling me that his email list is just a list of emails with no names or addresses.

I thought I was a Customer or Friend.

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Selling To The Four Personality Types

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