how not to write to your customers

This morning I received a newsletter from Zemanta in my inbox. When I opened it to read, I was horrified. It read like a 12 year old was writing me a personal letter as my BFF. It honestly hurt my eyes and my soul so much that I have decided to reprint it here for the rest of humanity to witness in all its glory as, quite possibly, the best example of how NOT to write to your customers (unless they are 12 year old girls that are also your BFFs).


Whats up buttercup!

Long time no hear! I can’t wait to tell you everything we have been up to!

But first, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tilly McLain, and I am the new community manager over here at Zemanta! I am looking forward to getting to know each one of you!

The first big announcement we made last month was our partnership with SixApart! When you upgrade to the new MovableType version 4.32, Zemanta comes along for the ride by default! I would like to welcome all of our new MovableType bloggers to the Zemanta network!

The next big news comes from the developer side of Zemanta. With their minds on quicker load times, and more relevant content, the crew released our new, and much faster Zemanta engine and API! Visit our new Zemanta tech blog for more API details, and developer news!

And the Zemanta gang headed out to fabulous Las Vegas last month to attend the BlogWorld/New Media Expo! The team had a blast talking to everyone, our booth was packed the entire time! Thank you to everybody who stopped by to say hi!

I also want to send out a huge thanks to the team over at Mashery for allowing us to be a part of their penthouse lounge at the Web 2.0 Summit! We had a lovely time sipping “Mash”aritas and hanging out with everyone.

And that’s only the beginning! The gang at Zemanta HQ is always working on making things faster/easier/more relevant and of course more fun! Look forward to hearing from us soon with more big news to come!

Drop me a line anytime if you need anything at all, or just to say hi 😀

Later Gator!
Tilly McLain
Community Manager, Zemanta

In case you didn’t catch why this hurts my brain so much, let me point out a few things.

  1. The blatant overuse of !!!exclamation points!!! in this post literally make my eyes bleed.  There are approximately 2 sentences in that entire update that use a period.  I’m sure that Tilly thinks that everything that Zemanta does is SUPER EXCITING!!!  but to me, the customer, it really isn’t that exciting and the use of exclamation marks does not get me excited either.
  2. What’s up buttercup? – You are not my friend.  I do not know you, nor do I want to after you have zero respect for your customers to address them in this way.
  3. Long time no hear? – Yes, like MY ENTIRE LIFE.  You do not know me.
  4. Later gator? – Seriously.  Are you 10?
  5. XOXO – No comment.

I might be being a bit harsh on poor Tilly, but this is the most unprofessional newsletter that I have ever received.  It makes Zemanta look like a bunch of teenagers trying to run a company for teenagers.  Hardly something that I would expect from a company that has raised over $2m from reputable VCs and angels.

A few words of advice for companies and their community managers.  Please find the appropriate voice for your business.  There is a huge difference between being friendly and being friends.  You are, first and foremost, a business and should remain professional, but still have fun.  It is a fine line and, unfortunately, Zemanta has crossed it and annoyed me in the meantime.

Later gator! XOXO!