Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Journalism

Sales and PR Folk: Think About Timing With Marketing Emails!

If you work in sales or public relations and your job involves sending marketing emails to newsrooms, please think about what’s happening in the news before you send!

I’ve lost track of how many marketing emails I’ve received at work this week that have nothing to do with a hurricane.

Granted, talking about a hurricane probably isn’t first on people’s minds if they don’t live somewhere in the projected path of one.

But if you happen to be located in a place that happens to fall into the “forecast zone,” you focus on that.

You think about your family, their safety, and your property. And if you work in the news business, on top of that, you think about how you can help keep people informed as quickly as possible.

For some people, after all, those of us in journalism are the direct link they need to potentially life-saving information before, during and after a major storm.

We have to take that seriously. We do take it seriously.

People who send an endless string of marketing emails need to do so as well.

Here’s the thing: When I’m focused on covering a hurricane, I truly have no interest in the next great product you’re trying to get me interested in. To be honest, I can’t afford to invest interest in it. My focus has to be the safety of my audience.

So maybe you can understand my frustration when I receive an email from someone trying to sell me on some project management system. The first email asked if I had “a few minutes” for a “quick call” to talk about it.

With a Category 4 hurricane headed in my general direction, even a few days out, I don’t have that time.

The next day, there was a follow-up email, telling me he’s sure I’m swamped, although he makes no mention of the hurricane, which leads me to believe it’s a generic follow-up note. Instead of the call, which he said he’d still love to set up at my convenience, he sent me a quick video describing the product.

I ignored the first email. I started to respond multiple times to the second. But I didn’t have time to actually craft a reply.

That’s probably for the best. It might have seemed somewhat less than professional on my part.

It’s really not that difficult to have heard about Hurricane Florence. (That goes for any other major disaster that happens hereafter.) If you know a hurricane that big is threatening the Carolinas, perhaps common sense might suggest that you put a temporary hold on emailing any potential customers in the Carolinas.

If not common sense, maybe a little bit of care and courtesy would otherwise tell you to stand down for a few days.

If you’re sending us “business as usual” emails at a time when things clearly aren’t business as usual, it’s only going to make you look bad. In fact, it’ll make you look inconsiderate and rude.

You can’t expect someone to be willing to do business with you that way.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.