What do you do when a marketing campaign goes terribly wrong? Are you prepared to address a campaign that hurts your reputation instead of enhances it? Have you ever thought that something as boring and mundane as a "Just Sold" postcard could be a disaster for your reputation?
We hear constantly about being careful about Facebook posts, be ever so careful about what you post online as it could come back to haunt you. I just shared an article on LinkedIn and Twitter this morning about some of the great mistakes that can be made when posting property on the MLS. Spell check can be an evil thing with a wicked sense of humor sometimes (Kuddo’s to Gwen Banta for a great write up on MLS bloopers http://activerain.com/blogsview/3658727/-come-enjoy-mature-hilarious-mls-bloopers-that-never-grow-old).
However, we never think that something as old school as sending out a postcard could go terribly wrong.
So here is my story of an old school marketing campaign leaving me to wonder how to fix my reputation.....
I sold a condo last month and my sellers were very happy with the results. Like many real estate agents, I looked at this as a chance to talk about my recent sales success as a way to generate interest from potential sellers in my area. I had concrete examples of how large the crowds were at the open house, a large number of offers and an extremely quick closing well above the asking price. Are these not the kind of details a potential seller would want to know when evaluating an agent? I thought they were and I put together a "Just Sold" postcard with a company that I work with for mailing campaigns. I approved the proofs and was eagerly looking forward to the mailing going out.
Then I get this strange email over the weekend from someone asking me why I sent them a postcard saying I had just sold their house? OMG! What had happened? I asked them if they could kindly send me a picture of the postcard. Yes, it was the card I had approved but with the wrong "Just Sold" address. Was this a fluke or had something gone terribly wrong?
Unfortunately this was not a fluke the printers had made a horrific mistake in how they set up the printing for the postcards. They somehow set up the “send to” address as the “sold address”. Why this was not standard text on the postcard I do not know, but everyone that was sent the postcard got a card that said I had "Just Sold" their house! Yikes!
So my phone has been ringing and the email has been arriving with a strong desire to know why I sent them a postcard telling them that I just sold their house!
To all of those people who realized it was nothing more than human error, thank you for letting me know about the problem, whether you were the first or the 50th call I received I appreciated you letting me know.
For those of you that had empathy for what an embarrassing situation this was for me and made little jokes to make me feel better, bless you. I spent most of yesterday and today holding back my tears and your kindness gave me faith in the goodness of others.
For those of you that got very upset, I understand your anger. This error looked like it could have been a deliberate sleazy and really dishonest marketing campaign. It was just the kind of underhanded and sleazy thing that real estate agents have the reputation of doing. Oh how I understand your disgust at receiving this postcard.
So what is next?
The printers will send out a note acknowledging their error. I appreciate that, we are all human, I actually feel very sorry for the person at the company who accidently did this, and I know they must feel really awful as well.
I am practicing sending love and compassion into the universe right now and hoping that it is returned to me. This has been a very humbling experience and I am truly sorry it has happened.