Reputation Matters

One thing I’ve learned in life is that your reputation follows you. Once tarnished, it is difficult to repair. United Airlines is one business that has destroyed what was once a great reputation (yes, at one time it was wonderful to fly with them).

USA Today recently ran an article about the decline in service quality in the airline industry. The article recounts story after story of small missteps that have built into a major reputation crisis for the industry. I was interviewed for the article:

“There were days in the not-too-distant past when United’s service was fantastic, especially if you were an elite flier,” says Jordan Ayan, CEO of a Chicago high-tech firm.

A million-mile United flier, he used to buy Christmas gifts for his favorite United agents at Chicago O’Hare. “Boy, have times changed.”

The lesson is the same for email marketers: protect your reputation by following the best practices of the industry. Don’t try to take short cuts that can damage or tarnish either your mailing reputation (your mail won’t be delivered) or worse, your brand reputation (your customers will leave and prospects won’t buy).

The basics are simple: keep your list clean, don’t pre-check opt-in boxes, honor unsubscribes, don’t email too often, remove bounces and comply with CAN-SPAM. It’s like anything that impacts reputation in a relationship, put yourself on the other side, and if a practice is distasteful to you, don’t do it. If United’s executives had done this, we might all have cleaner planes, nicer agents, on-time flights and a better time traveling.

—Jordan Ayan