This weekend, when I was in dire need of a good scallops recipe, I went onto FoodNetwork.com to see what looked good. Over the past year, they’ve become my website of choice for recipes because their site is so easy to use, and their user comments section helps me decide whether or not to try a certain recipe. FoodNetwork does a great job of making the whole on-site user experience very pleasant and interactive. (Stay with me here, I promise there’s a point to this.)
So after all of this time using the site, I finally decided to create an account on the site so that I could make use of their ‘save to my recipe box’ function. What I found so interesting was what appeared in my Inbox as a result of my new registration:
Subject line: New User
my email address here
Thank you for registering with FoodNetwork.com.
Your new membership will enable you to enjoy all the great features available on FoodNetwork.com.
The FoodNetwork.com Membership Team
No links, no ‘check out our latest dessert recipes here’, no graphics, no description of ‘all the great features,’ no ‘please add us to your address book’, no meaningful subject line, no ‘here’s how you can contact us.’ The whole thing struck me as quite odd. Food Network has a very impressive website; and they’ve made some steps toward the whole social media scene so there’s obviously some thought going into their online presence (though note the last login date on that MySpace page…)
Now your website probably isn’t registering users so that they can save recipes. But there’s a good chance your agency has a form or two that, once the visitor hits the submit button, triggers an automatic e-mail response. Does that response reflect how your agency wants to communicate with your constituents?
So my question for the larger group is this. If one of our main goals in engaging in Web 2.0 technologies to better connect and communicate with the folks who are need information from us or are simply interested in something we’re talking about, should we first go back to some of our 1.0 resources and make sure that they’re up to speed? I imagine that Food Network’s registration email autoresponder is one of those things that’s just been overlooked or forgotten over the months or the years–what other aspects of our communication may be running on autopilot that need an overhaul? And can we use these autoresponse emails as a way to introduce and drive traffic back to our more cutting-edge Web offerings?