I have good intentions when I freely give up my email address; I want to explore, learn and yes, buy. I am a marketing guy and I always look for and appreciate value for our clients as well as for our own needs.
While there is a quid-pro-quo when I enter my email address - I give my email and get something back in return - more often than not it quickly becomes the termination point of what could have potentially been the start of a beautiful relationship.
Marketers get it wrong and focus on what should be the least of their worries - complying with the CAN-SPAM Act . To make matters worse they include the very cute but deceiving "we hate spam too" footnote.
Why is this so wrong?
None of us want or welcome the avalanche of digital junk that follows what we marketers call "the Call to Action (CTA) conversion."
"Look man, do you know how long it took us to write and design that PDF? You bet your ass I'm sending you emails about my company. You can always unsubscribe you know."
And I do, often and more than I care to remember. What started as an innocent exchange of 'value' becomes an assault.
Oh, and let us not forget the power of email filters: bypass my inbox and go straight to trash.
This is not marketing it's plain dumb business that misses the essence and profit potential of our digital world.
It is all about connections: establish, nurture, develop. And more often than not we get one chance to make it right.
Connections lead to trust and yes trust earns us the right to ask for the sale.
I can't help but think that the prevailing thought by those who shower me with an avalanche of junk is the 19th century mantra of "let's throw a bunch of crap on the wall and hope some of it sticks".
"Hey, look at our numbers we only had 4% opt-outs and only a few spam reports, we're doing great."
No you're not. Email reports do not detect how many times the "DELETE" key was pressed or when the auto-delete filter was activated.
Did you connect with anyone? Did they ask for more information? Did they tell you they liked what you sent?
Guess who is behind "research shows that seven to ten touches per prospect are required before they take action?" Those who sell us automated marketing tools and anyone who wants you to advertise using their channel - the more you buy the higher the sales. Not so fast.
While frequency of exposure is critical it is the message and its value that make the difference: daily emails of self-promoted hard-sell content is not marketing.
So how do you transform from spam to marketing?
Spend more time identifying your target customer and learn whatever you can about them. Deliver content that they are looking for. Every step in the process of nurturing your connection should include verification that they want to remain connected.
"Did you enjoy the last article?", "would you like to continue receiving more of the same?" "What else are you interested in?"
Marketing is a dialogue and if you can keep it going you will dramatically reduce the likelihood that your email (and your business) will be deleted.
Remember this rule: a clever subject line that managed to make it through is a temporary state. Never wanting to hear from again is permanent.