What Not To Email

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By Sean Dowdall, LCI

Zoom has become a household word during the pandemic.  It went from one of the many web video meeting platforms available to a mainstay of many of our remote work lives and even personal lives.  For the most part, Zoom has performed well for me – once I learned the quirks of scheduling a meeting and to anticipate as normal that somebody’s screen may freeze during a meeting.

I suppose that marketing for Zoom has been easy to grow its customer base.  However, I have not seen marketing to keep its customers or encourage us to use their platform more.

In fact, the first retention marketing communication I recall seeing from Zoom is the email below.  My first response was YIKES!  Here’s the email, and I’ll explain below all of the problems with it. It is an unprofessional email and a good example of what not to send.  I put numbers by each line to match my notes below:

SUBJECT:  Zoom Account – (1) Love Month Promotion

Hi Sean,




During this pandemic a lot of businesses and even individuals turned to Zoom to keep them connected to their clients, employees, friends and relatives.  

(3) This became very challenging for us to cater to everyone.

We’d like to make sure you’re properly supported with whatever needs you may have in (4) terms of communication stack.

You can reach out to me for any inquiries (5 and 6) until such time I warmly endorse you to your permanent account executive.

Let me know if you have any questions or concern.

Happy Zooming!

Here is my critique:

  1. What is the Love Month Promotion? I received this email in late February, so assume that February is love month, but then why get this email at the end of the month?  Also, I haven’t seen any other mention from Zoom that they have a Love Month Promotion.  What is the promotion?
  2. There are spacing issues that you don’t see here because I took out the salutation. The sender had hit return at least three times, so the “Hi Sean,” was way at the top and the body of the email was almost at the scroll point on the screen.
  3. What is with that second sentence? The pandemic-driven increase in Zoom activity was very challenging for them?  So what?  First, don’t say that if most of your customers don’t care as long as issues were fixed in a timely way.  Secondly, if you are going to say that, then follow up with what you did about it.
  4. “In terms of communication stack” – what??? I think I know what the sender means, but this isn’t written correctly.  Also, if you are going to imply that you can help with other communications tools, then at least give me a few examples.
  5. Needs to be two sentences.
  6. What an odd way to say this and certainly usage of the wrong words.

I’m sure that Zoom is seeing its volume go down as other virtual meeting platforms are getting their marketing acts together.  This email certainly doesn’t help Zoom.

Look for my next blog where I rewrite this email to provide an example of what it should have been.

Happy e-mailing!


Got a comment? Comment below or email me at [email protected].


Related Articles:

Washington Post: The three worst things about email, and how to fix them

The Motley Fool: Zoom Just Added More Than 60,000 Business Customers in a Single Quarter

Recode: The pandemic was great for Zoom. What happens when there’s a vaccine?


5 thoughts on “What Not To Email

  1. Sean: Thank you! My biggest pet peeve is that most people don’t know how to write – or proof – anymore. Are schools still teaching grammar? I hope so, but the business world often proves otherwise. Cheers, David

  2. As you rightly point out, Sean, there’s so much that’s wrong with this email. But beyond the particulars, I can’t even tell why they sent it. What did they want you to do? It’s not thanking you for your business, nor explicitly asking for more of your business, nor making you an offer. On top of being incoherent, it’s just confusing – definitely not what you want to be doing to your customers!

  3. Google “reply-all horror stories.” Email is a necessary, but as dangerous/advantageous to your brand as a Super Bowl commercial. In the business world, it’s important to treat all communications vehicles as brand extensions.

  4. How you present yourself, in-person and online, is incredibly important when representing a brand or even yourself. This email is riddled with errors, and it reflects poorly not only on the writer but also Zoom. Thanks for sharing, Sean!

  5. Thanks Sean, enjoyed reading that.. “until such time I warmly endorse you to your permanent account executive.” LOL! This email comes across as spam more than anything, really poorly written and presented. A low-lying piece of fruit in terms of highlighting bad grammar and ridiculous jargon (“communications stack”) but what a huge missed opportunity for Zoom – hopefully they are re-thinking this strategy.

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