Why is it Important to Air on the Side of Caution If Your Email Campaigns Discuss Tragedies?

Apple and Microsoft, two of the biggest technology players in the world, are currently taking heat for what some believe to be an insensitive approach to marketing. You also have other brands that took similar approaches, but got much better results. Microsoft ended up issuing a public apology for its mistake, and this is an example of how important it is to exercise caution when leveraging tragedy in your marketing. If this is the route you choose to travel, there are steps you will need to take in order to come out on top.

Avoid Promotions

It seems as if Microsoft had good intentions, but things didn’t go 100% as planned. Through Bing, the software giant asked users to retweet a link to a community page dedicated to showing people how they could help in the relief efforts of the recent Japan earthquake, offering to donate up to $100,000 for their participation. Well, many observers viewed this as tasteless marketing designed to push Bing further in the spotlight. Microsoft’s backlash originated in the social realm, but the same thing could easily occur in the email domain. If you want an easy way to spark outrage, blatantly using tragedy for business gain is certainly it. This could crumble your campaign regardless of your intentions.

Showcase Your Efforts

As horrible as it may sound, tragedies can be great marketing opportunities, particularly from an awareness standpoint. For example, if your organization is involved in helping clean up after a huge storm or something of that nature, sharing this knowledge with your readers could cause them to form a more positive opinion of your brand. Explaining how they can help is also a way to demonstrate the kind of personality consumers appreciate. This is what Microsoft was aiming for, but failed to fully accomplish by trying to promote its search engine in the process. When such sensitive matters are involved, how your intentions are perceived can make all the difference.

Be Sincere in Your Approach

Copywriting and tone are crucial when even mentioning tragedies in your email campaigns. These are often touchy subjects, and if you come off as cruel or a marketer with a hidden agenda, you could suffer some serious backlash. Readers want to see that you are sincere with what you’re saying. Spammers try to take advantage of unfortunate situations all the time, so if your message lacks sincerity, you’ll be viewed as one of them. If you can’t express the tone that gets readers to feel your message, you’re better off leaving well enough alone.

Using tragedies in your email campaigns is a risky endeavor no matter how you look at it. Even when backlash is not the result, there will always be those who question your motives. However, history has shown us that catastrophe can benefit marketing. The campaigns that are so subtle in their approach that few pick up on the underlying promotional aspects are usually the most successful.