Businesses Have Messy Emailsby@arthur.tkachenko
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Businesses Have Messy Emails

by ArthurJune 3rd, 2022
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Email sucks. What we can do about it?

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This Slogging thread by Arthur Tkachenko occurred in slogging's official #programming channel, and has been edited for readability.

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 7:44 PM

Businesses have Messy Emails

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 7:45 PM

recently I find a cool infographic called Businesses has messy data.
And this image showed how hard is to operate data in our modern world. especially when you have a big company, with different departments, etc.

I want to create a similar schema, but it's hard!

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 7:48 PM

I'll use this thread to try to organize my notes and move it from my head

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 7:52 PM

Let's start with a thing that 0 people on Earth like in email:

  • long threads with link "Expand"

They are so productive!

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 7:53 PM

yes, we already invented tons of apps optimize emails and ... messengers to chat and replies. But we still have emails as a method to connect online

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 7:57 PM

Let's dive deeper. Emails are still an essential tool for business development.

But how often you are making typo mistakes, trying to reply quickly from your phone? not very professional, right?

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 7:59 PM

or how many email addresses do you have? probably one for personal needs and another one for your work. Or more? hard to remember all addresses, right?
I think I lost around 10 email addresses during my life. While most of them were personal, some of them were related to doing some business. and it means that I lost some precious contacts

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 8:10 PM

And it's not cool if you are doing business and email your prospects.

Imagine this situation: your employee working as a sales manager. And you are a small company and don't have a nice CRM system. Or it's not automated and requires manual input. How will you track it? are you sure that your manager imported all contacts he contacts?

Or how would you manage the tone of those messages? It's important to be professional, even when things get hot.

During my work, I have few strange situations in my life, related to online messaging. I was in chat with some prospects. Crazy dude, he was a rock star before and was running an agency at that time. I was trying to sell him our services, and at some point in our conversation he told me: "Fuck you, Arthur". I was polite and just finish our conversation. But what if I reply not politely, and he makes a screenshot and makes it public? this type of situation can hurt business.

Another story was done by our first sales manager in NetWeight. He was doing his best and wanted to win a client. it was 2014 year, russland had already invaded Ukraine for the first time and he was stressed a lot. Our Ukrainian soccer fans created an idiom about Putin. And he used that idiom in the first message to our client. Yes, he added "Putin is c*** sucker"

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 8:15 PM

I was able to catch it because we have tracking of all messages and I was able to go through the history of messages and be able to catch it. But i'm sure there a lot of businesses that can't manage things like this one.

There is a new profession(5-7 years old), focused on managing the public image of brands online.

Title: "Online Reputation Manager". Basically, the main task is to search the internet and see what people are saying. And if someone makes a bad comment about your brand, like "FU Amazon I hate you" - his person will try to reduce the hurt of this comment. Because bad branding can hurt your business

These services work to ensure that positive news and reviews are the first things customers (and potential leads) see when they search for your business online.

Read more:

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 8:15 PM

Ok, I think i'm slacking off from the topic of this thread.

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 8:31 PM

Case: You have a newsletter signup form. How it was done? You can code it by hand, or use some generator from Mailchimp or other email marketing service provider.

Then you embed this form into your website. Now you need to add some styles to it and play with CSS to make it nicer. If you using some website builder like Wix, Shopify, WordPress or custom made - you'll need to make some code adjustments. or maybe you even use a template from that website builder. Everything is cool and easy? No it's not.

Where does data aka emails get stored after form submission? Is it your main website database? Is it secure or some hacker kid can easily access it after your system gets breached? Security is a huge problem and a lot of businesses struggle here.

In my country, I recall not only small breaches related to personal data. Imagine you are going to the mall and they offer you to do a discount if you share your email/phone/full name in exchange. You want free stuff and you share your personal information. Later, someone offer a few grants to a person working in this mall for leaking a database dump that can be saved on one USB stick. and now your data is sold on some dark web.

We even have leaks from our banks!

15 years ago someone from the police in russia sold the whole database of people recorded there. And you can go to some local flea market and buy a few CDs with that data for like $100

There can be other cases, for sure. For example you forget to pay for your hosting. And they blocked your website and wiped out all the data from it. Do you think everybody making data dumps very often? I dont think so

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 8:32 PM

Or can you easily export that data? or you need to buzz your developer to do a database dump for you? and he is sending you a CSV file that you dont know how to open?

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 8:51 PM

Case 2: How many email lists do you have in your company?

  • You probably have a list of users that is using your online product.
  • You probably have a list of newsletter subscribers
  • You probably have a list of your clients
  • You probably have a list of your prospects

Questions to you:

  • Can you easily access that data? Like in one click?
  • Does that data update frequently?
  • Did you clean up those lists?
  • is it secured at least by a password?
  • Your lists can be located in different places, and different services, can you easily export them?

I can add another 20 questions easily ))

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 8:58 PM

Can you confirm that your business contact book is managed properly?

I remember another funny story: A huge outsourcing company. They have like over 300 people inside. Employees used the whole database of inner contacts when they need to sell something. Like when someone needs to sell a used MacBook, they used

wildcard and send this spam to everyone.

Do you think their CEO was happy about it?

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 9:04 PM

Another situation that I often face. HR managers use Linkedin to hire new employees. They add new people to their network, chat, and try to hire new people to the team. Business owner is paying them for their time. When this person is change the company - the database of people also migrates to the new company too. I'm not judging, but in terms of doing business, it's probably better to own that profiles, if you want to prevent this kind of situations

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 9:20 PM

Case 3: You are running a few newsletters. They are separated by some category.

For example one of my clients sends weekly emails with recipes with different types of recipes inside. Recipes for a family with kids differ from meals for couples that can eat some pizza or eat in a restaurant on Fridays. Some recipes are gluten-free, and others are for people with diabetes. Data is different, pulled from a bad database(her project was growing in years and DB expanded a lot). It's SaaS, her recipes are under a paywall and content is copyrighted.

Now she wants to create a newsletter archive. Export all emails that was sent during the last 7 years, update the template and make it a separate website that can be indexed by google. It's a very hard task to do. Most of the emails were sent programmatically, by using some service like SendGrid or MailGun. She didn't plan to do it, so most of the work must be done manually.

Plus she switched services, so some data is already gone. Ok, let's assume that we can get a dump of those completed campaigns. But even replacing a template or updating some links that can be broken is a task for some custom Python script

A similar situation can be faced by businesses that used Mailchimp/Linkedin/Twitter/Substack for sending their emails and now migrating to other service providers.

The best advice that I can give: after sending all campaigns you are going to do an HTML export and save it at some place. And do a few copies. Laptops can be stolen, you might cancel your Google Drive, or your home server can be damaged by a broken water pipe. Later you might thank me.

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 9:27 PM

Case 4: do you want to migrate from Mailchimp/Linkedin/Twitter/Substack?
Don't forget to export stuff from it. Otherwise, your data will be deleted and you will lose everything

Don't forget that when you don't have a custom email marketing setup you don't own that data. Read their Terms of Services. If you have an Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/YouTube account - all your followers might go in 1 day if you violate some terms.

At the same time, if you have a huge list of contacts on your USB stick, even if you die tomorrow(sorry for bringing it here) - your family still can use it.

Arthur TkachenkoJun 2, 2022, 9:37 PM

Let's go back to subscription forms.
You have a form on your main website. is everything working fine? Are you sure? Are you sure? If it's integrated into your main codebase - you are in trouble.

  1. you cant move this form to another website easily.
  2. what if you decide to run an A/B test in order to increase rates? it's not easy to do and will require some manual work.
  3. what if your form has a few steps(as usual).
  4. what if you have users from around the world - can tell me that you follow all the laws of different countries. Like The EU General Data Protection Regulation law for example.
  5. Your sales team decide to run a marketing campaign, used some service like Unbounce, created a landing page, created another separate subscription form with Lead Magnet, put some advertising money and drive traffic to that page. after completion of that campaign, they export data and forget about that page. but that page gets indexed by Google and people still subscribe there. at this point, you are losing money. Nobody notified the developer about that page - because he is from another department and he didn't create a redirect to a proper page