Email vs Face-to-Face. And the Winner Is…

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Community involvement by small business merchants is a service I feel very strongly can be used to attract customers and then convert them into being brand ambassadors. Fund-raisers are a prime example. Your store helps promote the bowl-a-thon for the local kids’ club. Parents then support you back with their patronage and positive word of mouth.

But how do you best reach those people?

In today’s 2.0 world, email is the accepted method of contact. Faster, less expensive than letters, flyers and brochures. But, a recent study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, indicates that the 1.0 world of face-to-face gets better results.

What?

Forty-five participants were each required to ask 10 strangers (total sample 450 people) to complete a brief survey. The constant was that each made the same request sticking to the same script; the variable was that half of the participants made requests by email, while the other half went direct with the face-to-face approach.

Survey Results

According to Vanessa K. Bohns, who conducted the survey with Mahdi Roghanizad of Western University, “face-to-face requests were 34 times more effective than emailed ones.”

She explained “In our studies, participants were highly attuned to their own trustworthiness and the legitimacy of the action they were asking others to take when they sent their emails. Anchored on this information, they failed to anticipate what the recipients of their emails were likely to see: an untrustworthy email asking them to click on a suspicious link.”

The convenience and cost saving on your end does not balance against the comfort zone encroachment of the community member being solicited for funding.

Want your community project to be a success?

As techie as we may want to be, in this case old-fashioned face-to-face would be the best way to successfully mobilize people to contribute and support.

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Technology Giveth & Taketh Away

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Delete ButtonGmail’s “undo send” button just got electronic sand kicked in its face with the arrival of Dmail— this is a new Google Chrome plugin, which puts real power in the hands of the sender with complete control over how long the recipient can view the email.

Ananya Bhattacharya writing in 7/24/15 edition of CNNMoney explains that the “undo send button only works for up to 30 seconds. Dmail gives you as much time as you like. You can preset timing such as ‘in 1 hour’ or ‘in 1 week’ and the message will self-destruct accordingly.”

As Sarah Perez writes in TechCrunch (7/23/15 edition) “What’s clever about Dmail is that, unlike some other secure messaging products, recipients don’t have to use the service themselves in order for it to work. When a user sends a Dmail, the body of that email is encrypted locally on the user’s machine.”

This means you could also code it “never,” leaving yourself the option to revoke it at some future point, be it one day or one year later.

Point is, your small business emails may out of necessity contain confidential info and proprietary designs as you struggle to make friends, gain trust and forge relationships during the critical first three years of operations. With email hacking on the rise, wouldn’t you like to know that your info now won’t just be sitting in some office computer waiting to be ripped off?

For procedural and technical specifics about Dmail, click the links to the above two referenced articles.

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)