Thursday, August 7, 2008

Webmasters' tip learned from TypePad: Treat your visitors like your life depends on them

While developing FoxRecord, a need arose to test it on TypePad.
"Sure thing!". http://typepad.com/ in awesome bar and let's go.
Truth came crashing down unexpectedly. TypePad is a payed blogging service.
I mean, come on? Payed blogging service? When there are WordPress and BlogSpot out there?
Whatever. While I prefer not to shop online, TypePad offers a free 14-day trial - more than enough to test the embed widget api, and have a look at what TypePad has in its arsenal.
If only my visa credit card wasn't gathering dust at home, while I tried this trick at work (please don't demote me, I did it on a lunch break, I swear).
So, the result was "oh well".
Until a few days later I receive this e-mail:

Was it something we said?

We noticed that you started to register for a TypePad account, but didn’t complete it.

Maybe the doorbell rang. Maybe you were late for a meeting.

Or maybe it was us.

Whatever the reason, we want the chance to show you that we’re quite simply the best hosted blogging service on the market. Just follow this link and enter code REG*** for a special 10% discount and a 14-day free trial.

We hope to see you again soon.

The TypePad Team


And on a sidebar:

Why Choose TypePad?

Design: You'll look good

Mobile Blogging: You can blog on the go

SEO: You'll stand out

Connect to Others: Be the center of attention


Working in corporate environments and using sites like LinkedIn, I receive plenty of e-mails per day. Yet I have never seen an e-mail written as good as this one.
Why this e-mail message is good:
  1. Taking the blame and full responsibility. Right in the message subject.
    People tend to be forgiving. Especially for something that you didn't do.
  2. Being short and to the point.
    Most people are not amused by amount of graphics you put into your e-mail message. And a lot of people also value their time enough to send the message directly into trash if it looks like 3 pages of justified text, when they already know what this message will be about.
  3. Offering something (in this case, a discount).
    While I consider tricks like 'If you register until midnight today, you will get a special discount, and also this, this and this', at least they offer something in a non-annoying form to a visitor that could never be back. (Instead of selfish 'Please fill this 10 pages survey why you didn't like the product, and go the hell outa here, our robot will read it. One day.')
  4. Providing links to immediate actions.
    "Check out our designs", "Check out how we will work to SEO your blog" - everything a considering customer might want to check - everything is there, in the right sidebar of the message.
  5. Automatic feedback.
    All links in the message go through a redirect - this way, if someone clicks on a link in the message, they know which exactly customer responded to their e-mail and which action did he took.
  6. "Unsubscribe" link.
    If an automatically generated e-mail from services like this does not contain this sort of link - this is a first "red" signal.
    It takes one click to unsubscribe from this sort of e-mails from TypePad. Compare it to Photobucket:
    There is an option to unsubscribe from Photobucket Newsletters in the Personal Information section of your Account Options. All other email from Photobucket cannot be disabled. Most email from Photobucket after the original registration of your account is in direct response to requests from you (account information, email address updates, etc.). The only way to remove
    your email address from the Photobucket site is to request that your account be deleted.
    The only feeling that I have after reading this Photobucket e-mail - I don't want to see photobucket ever again.
    While after unsubscription from TypePad (to test how it works) I even felt sorry.


Morale: treat your visitors the way you want to be treated yourself. A kind e-mail from TypePad made me write this article linking to them. Outrageous behavior of photobucket made me setup an auto-responder with two simple words: "fuck you" to all their e-mails a filter to send every message from them directly to trash.
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1 comments:

dcloud said...

Gary, that is one awesome e-mail. I know what you mean about photobucket. I had something similar happen the other day with Facebook.

I couldn't figure out why my name was not appearing next to a photo I uploaded in one of the groups I belong to, so I used Facebook's contact form and asked them what the deal was.

The first response was like reading the Help FAQ right off their site, and it did not even address my question. I wrote them again and asked them to please answer my question. Again, I received another canned response and they still did not answer my question.

I guess maybe I should ask the wall in my apartment.

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