responding-customer-requestsWe’ve all done it. We want to access a certain website’s user area and we reach the password field. Only… what was that password…?

Think about how many times you’ve clicked the ‘forgotten password’ or ‘forgotten username’ links in such situations. What follows is a unique communication from the company or service in question and one which, often, can be a little drawn out.

Looking at it from the other side – if you’re that company dishing out responses to forgotten username and password requests, it represents a fantastic marketing opportunity.

Firstly, any direct communication from your subscribers is gold dust. If they take the time to get in touch with you, they are clearly engaged. They’re certainly engaged enough to contact you, and not rely on it happening the other way around. Sure, they’re just asking for a piece of information they’ve forgotten, but, while you’re telling them what the answer is, what else can you tell them?

Let’s take a look at an example. This one comes from a rather popular satellite television provider. After clicking the ‘forgotten username’ link, I received an email instantly. That’s a good start, but let’s break it down:

The header:

Email header


We’re seeing this more and more, particularly from big brands – the email looks like a website. Alongside the branding, we’re treated to a menu which could be lifted from any website. I don’t think this is particularly necessary, but it does at least embed some form of consistency across their various platforms.

Although I’m expecting this email, there is certainly no harm in reminding me why I’m receiving it, and they do just that right at the top. I can also see that a web version is available, they’ve offered three links to some of their other services and – rather oddly, given the situation – there’s a link to account sign in.

Next, the meat of the message:

Email body


No messing. Straight away, they’re giving me what I want. The heading answers my question (the one thing you always need to do in email marketing) and there’s no fluff – just the info I want.

They’ve also suggested I may wish to change my password, too, which is a nice touch and shows they take my security seriously.

A nice friendly message. I feel wanted.

So, where does the marketing come in, you may be asking. Good question. Let’s scroll down a little further:

Email marketing messages


The hard and fast sell approach wouldn’t really be appropriate here, given the circumstance (always consider what frame of mind your subscribers will be in when sending an email), so they’ve opted to simply highlight a couple of fairly light yet potentially useful services. Now I know my password, perhaps I’ll sign up – who knows?

Lastly, they’ve gone to town with the footer:

Email footer


Wow. And here’s where things unravel a little. I’m not a big fan of this, I’ll be honest. Firstly, there’s way too many links – I can find all of that stuff on their website. Too much text, too. They may wish to remind me of all the terms and conditions of the services they’ve advertised in the email, but sometimes it’s best to leave that for the landing page.

But what’s the worst mistake they’ve made?

Spot it? Or, rather, not spot it?

I’ve checked the entire email several times and I can’t find an unsubscribe link. That’s really poor show. Even though I’ve asked them to send me a password reminder, there should still be an unsubscribe link. I may have clicked accidentally, or it may have gone to the wrong email address (i.e. not me!).

A single mistake in an otherwise great email. A lesson for us all!


Mark is one of mailingmanager's email experts. His contributions to this blog openly share the tricks, tips and best practices he's learned while running multiple e-marketing campaigns.

Follow me on googleplus Google Plus