A quick email fix for nicknames. Bob or Robert? Liz or Elizabeth?

By February 23, 2016Strategy, Uncategorized

A quick email fix for people with nicknames. 

Are you a Bob or a Robert? A Dick or Richard?

Beth. Bill. Bob. Dick. Drew. Gene. Jerry. Lainie. Liz. Ted. Tori.

Good marketing values clear communication.  It makes it easy for clients and prospects to find and reach you. Sometimes email can interfere, particularly for people with nicknames that differ significantly from the formal name, like Ted and Edward.Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 12.43.27 AM

If a firm has a standard convention of FirstInitialLastName@FirmName.com (e.g. RFishman@FishmanMarketing.com), what do you do with your old friend Bob? Does the firm’s email system consider him a Bob or a Robert?  Is he a “B” or an “R?”

Is Tori (born “Victoria”) a “T” or a “V?”

And why should it be the client’s job to figure it out?

If we’re trying to facilitate communication with clients, why not just have both work?  Pick one as the primary email address, but set up the alternate to work as well, to simply bounce the secondary one to the main one.  It should take your IT department two minutes to do that.

But it seems that few firms bother.  It’s not intentional, just neglectful.

“Bills” should validate both BSmith@firmname.com and WSmith@firmname.com.  Why the heck do so many people who have always been called “Bill” use the formal “William” as their email address? Because there’s subtle pressure to use more formal names when you’re a lawyer, particularly when you’re young and just starting out. (Using unnecessary middle initials is another example.) Over time, it becomes hard to change.

I’d recommend that people named Bob should use both the Bob and Robert variations of their email address.

And Gene and Eugene, and Beth and Elizabeth….  Don’t make the clients figure out which one you use with an “Undeliverable” bounce-back, especially since it’s so easy to use both.

And while we’re on the subject, don’t make me figure out if you’re Kathy with a “C” or “K.”

Or a Jerry with a “J” or “G.”

Go nuts.  Use both.

It’s free.

 

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • David Boylan says:

    Great Idea! Elegant solution.

    Wonderful advice, Ross. It’s one of those, “Duh!” moments with an open palm smack to the forehead. When a new employee fills out their paperwork, there should be questions about what nick names do they use. What do friends, family and business associates call them? At business meetings and at parties, when they extend their hand to shake…what is the name they intorduce themselves with?

    That’s all good information gathering. But, the next step is as important. The HR department or the IT department or whoever creates the new employee’s email address has to follow through and create the extra pass through accounts. With a little bit of extra effort and both steps performed together, Ross, your beautiful easy idea will produce tenfold positive results.

    Bravo Ross.

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