Archive for month: September, 2012

Don't Make Breaking Up Hard To Do

21 Sep
September 21, 2012

I called time on an awful lot of relationships this week.

In some cases it was easy. They didn’t ask questions, just a final goodbye and good luck – and made the break up painless.

Others wanted me to be sure before I walked away, and tried to convince me that maybe I’d made a mistake.

One even wouldn’t take no for an answer, like that woman who George tried to break up with in Seinfeld that wouldn’t believe it was over.

Of course, I’m talking about breaking off relationships with brands and businesses.

I unsubscribed from about 12 different email lists, and unliked about the same number of brand pages on Facebook.

Why Is It So Hard To Do?

When I say hard to do, I don’t mean the decision to remove myself from the lists. I mean the actual process of removing myself from them, and specifically, the email lists.

If people have decided that they have heard enough of what you have to say, taking themselves off your list should be a 1 click exercise.

You should not put barriers in their way. When you make it easy to add themselves, but hard to get off, it damages your relationship even more.

Two of the things that caught my eye this week were the “has this been a mistake?”, followed by a confirmation button that they want to leave the list.

Look at where the link to unsubscribe is on your email. Unless it is right next to a link to valuable content (which it won’t be), then there is no error. Typically, an unsubscribe link sits alone at the bottom of the email, for the very purpose of making people go looking for it to take action.

The other thing that makes unsubscribing difficult is asking people to re-enter their details (as above). It’s an unnessecary step – you know their address, you already have it. For people like myself too, who have multiple email addresses, having to go back to find which one it was sent to is another relationship damaging piece of the puzzle.

I also had a problem last week of still receiving daily emails (ironically from a newsletter deemed ‘quarterly’), despite no longer being subscribed. To find this out though, I had to sign into the site with my login and check my communications preferences – again, one step too far.

Leaving your database should be the path of least resistance – one click.

Making it easy to leave makes it easier for people to reconsider coming back – the last experience was a positive one.

When "Opinions of Your Own" Can Be Dangerous

03 Sep
September 3, 2012

Something that has become somewhat of a necessary addition to many bio and profiles online is the disclaimer of “opinions are my own and not that of my employer”. I even have it on mine.

It’s a way of employees carving out some own space to say what they want, without impacting their employers brand, reputation, or at worst, bottom line.

Or so many people think.

If I can sum up in one line what I am about to talk about, it is this:


I get new followers on Twitter all the time, and I decide on following back based on the bio, so I read every one of them (if you mention the word MLM, forget it). And last week I got a cracker from a guy called Gene (or the best I can tell from his bio).

He is a rep for a clothing line, also a pharmaceutical tech, and a barber (I know, what the…?). He even adds his employers URL to his bio, and his direct email address.

Wild bio aside, he then gets into his even wilder, barely legible tweeting.

Here’s a sample – a tweet about how “gay” the car he is driving, references to his friends in derogatory racial terms, something about smoking a bong – and so on. And then, to cap it off, he says “doin’ what I do, don’t give a f*** if they approve”.

In this case, Gene hasn’t made the statement of “views are my own” (probably because he’d have to drop barber from his resume to fit it in), so for all intents and purposes, the company has employed a racist stoner homophobe to represent their brand online (and I know that is a very simplistic way of looking at it, but it’s a first impression you get).

If you do add a disclaimer though, what real difference does it make?

If someone’s values and attitude are so out of whack with those of a companies that they claim a link to online – are they the right person for the job? And not necessarily just a social related job – anything that claims a link back to your organisation.

For businesses, you need to decide – if you want your employees to be tweeting, or indeed on social media in general, how much link do you want back to your company? If they are going to be on there, and you have more concerns than not, should part of your policy be that they not claim they work for you?

For individuals, understand that everything you do online from a social perspective has the potential to impact on your employer. Even if you disclaim it. If you feel that anything you post has the potential to affect your employment with a business, or the business at all, consider what you are sending out. If your opinions are so different to that of your company – are you in the right job?

Interested to hear other points of view.

PHOTO – The|G|