A scene played out in offices around the country – a well-meaning sales manager comes into the meeting and demands action. Sales are down. The numbers are down. The phones aren’t ringing. Frantically shuffling reports, she looks up and says “I don’t see why we can’t send an offer to everyone in our system. There are thousands of names in the database.”
The drama continues. “Couldn’t we just say something like ‘Ooops, some email addresses were not added to the newsletter database?’” she pleads. “We would like to continue to send you information on our products and special offers available exclusively to friends and past customers so we hope you don’t mind us confirming your free subscription. Besides they can just opt-out. We’ve got to do SOMETHING!”
All eyes turn to the marketing manager, who has been politely listing to the impassioned appeal. It is a rerun of many other meetings in other conference rooms and a flash back to conversations with sales managers, high priced consultants and others who wanted to misuse one of the most powerful marketing tools available.
After a lot of verbal pushing and shoving, the marketing manager issues warnings about the consequences of this action but is instructed to go ahead. The email is configured and every available email address in any nook and cranny of the company is dumped into to the data base and blasted out. The sales manager smugly walks away with visions of upward trending graphs in her head.
Within an hour of the blast, the phones in customer service begin to ring. Irate callers demand to be removed from the list and never contacted again. The spam complaints and unsubscribes skyrocket. The open rate is dismal. No one forwarded to a friend. Over the next week, instead of a sales increase, a sea of bad blood has spread.
Email is still one of the most tried and true ways to reach customers and generate a healthy ROI with a small investment. It is a great compliment to Social Media. Misused, it can create more bad will and harm a company’s reputation. Everyone hates SPAM. There is nothing worse than to open your inbox on a busy morning and find out that you have been invaded by uninvited marauders. Strangers don’t want to hear from you. It’s no wonder they get annoyed and it’s not a good way to make friends. Now really, did the well-meaning sales manager want to have her company seen as an invasive, uninvited marauder?
Permission-based marketing is a wonderful thing. When customers like your company, products and services, they raised their hands and invite you to market to them. Nothing could be better. When someone opts in to your email newsletter, they have just put out the digital welcome mat to their inbox and they trust you to be responsible. A sweet deal for everyone.
Here are some tips for more successful email marketing. A good database is gold. Opt-ins are a good thing so treat your subscribers with respect. They want to hear from you. Remember, it’s not the size of your list, it is who is on the list. Make friends first, and then make offers.
For more information on email, see my post A Quick Guide to Email.