Jan 132012

You’re a high profile actress and one day a journalist gets on the phone and questions you about your relationship with your boyfriend and whether it’s true that he is trying to patch things up with you.  Annoyed and flustered you quickly end the call. How could the journalist know that things are rocky in your relationship?

Your phone’s been hacked.

Leaves you feeling kind of invaded, uncomfortable and definitly increases your distrust of journaliist and media types.

This was the experience of many British celebrities during the now infamous News of the World phone hacking scandal. Voicemail messages on the phones of newsworthy folk were intercepted in pursuit of hot scoops.

Now we may not all be celebrities but we can all empathise with that feeling of invasion and mistrust.

Email tracking – could it be a trust buster with your customers?
Maintaining trust with your customers is crucial if you are to sustain long term relationships with those that put food on your table.

Email marketing software like Mail Chimp, Market Mailer, Aweber, and others use a device called email tracking. It tracks the recipient’s activity. It means the sender can see which recipients opened the email and who clicked on which links. A more technical explanation of how email marketing and tracking works is here.

What are the benefits of email tracking?
Email tracking allows the sender to monitor the popularity and effectiveness of campaigns by seeing how many recipients respond and in what way. This allows businesses and marketers to be more targeted with future email campaigns by following up only selected subscribers and providing more articles or offers that are popular with their subscribers.

Used ethically and intelligently it benefits both the subscriber and the business. Rather than a scatter gun approach, the business can make more tailored offerings to its customers and potential customers.

So do you tell your subscribers that your e-news and email campaigns use email tracking?
In the end, that’s your call.

This has come up for me because I run workshops on email marketing and e-newsletter strategy in which delegates have come across this information about email tracking for the first time. Some have raised queries. One delegate commented that email tracking is “one step away from phone hacking”. Another didn’t like the idea of being watched, she felt there was something underhand about it. In both cases, it was an issue of trust.

So I felt that I need to be transparent about this with my list. I’ve now amended the details on my sign up page and this article is airing this issue with you all.

This is what it now says on my sign up page:

Important information
Most professional email marketing programmes use email tracking which means that the sender can see which recipients opened the email and which links within the email were clicked. I use such a programme to help me track which articles are most well received so that I can keep my content relevant and useful. I don't share any of your details with others, ever and of course you can unsubscribe at any time.

I know that some people feel uncomfortable with the idea of email tracking, particularly because they did not realise this is common practice. So the point of flagging this up to you, is to be transparent. My aim is to help you, not make you uneasy. So if you'd rather not sign up because of this, then you can keep in touch by going and liking my Facebook page or you can follow me on Twitter instead.

Of course, you won't get the free e-book valued at £12.99, articles direct to your inbox and personal notifications of workshops and products if you don't subscribe. but it's your choice.

Whether  you declare this to your list will depend on you. Consider that consumers are increasingly savvy about when they are being sold to and no one likes to have the wool pulled over their eyes.

How to be transparent
A formal way of staying transparent without overtly drawing attention to the tracking tools is to state that you may utilize tracking devices in your company privacy policy. This is similar to phone based customer service centers declaring that they may record your call for training purposes. Or you may choose to be more overt and have a note in your email footer or on your sign up page.

What is your feeling on this issue? Have you had any negative feedback from customers? How do you use the information you get from email tracking? How do you feel about people tracking your own responses to emails?

Please add your stories and experiences below.








Juliet Fay.

© Juliet Fay 2011, author, speaker, trainer, marketing consultant, sales writer Wales, UK

Helping rural businesses make more from doing what they love by helping improve their sales writing, marketing campaigns and Twitter use. Email me for a quote.

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Funding available to UPSKILL the Welsh Food Industry

 Funding available to UPSKILL the Welsh Food Industry  Food producers  Comments Off on Funding available to UPSKILL the Welsh Food Industry
Jan 102012

I'm always interested in resources that can help those in the sustainable food and farming sector. If you run a food business in West Wales or the Valleys you may be entitled to funding towards a foundation degree. Here's some details:

The University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC) School of Heath Sciences has launched a new programme of study through its Collaborative Provision partnership which includes Bridgend College.  Employees who work in the private food sector who live and/or work in West Wales and the Valleys, could be entitled to a fully or partly-funded place on the programme – subject to conditions.

The Foundation Degree in Food Science & Technology will help employees working in the Food Sector to enhance their skills and their prospects.

The programme has been developed to engage fully with the food industry of Wales providing a unique opportunity for development of strategic staff. All the modules have been mapped against the Sector Skills Council (IMPROVE) occupational standards to ensure the needs of the food industry are met.

Read more.

Juliet Fay is a farm based enterpreneur helping micro businesses create raving fans by learning to write better sales messages.

Want to read more articles? Take a look at my site. Feedback welcome, just email me.