GUEST BLOG: "Stop spamming your customers!" says Brad Burton

Let me ask you a couple of questions: What's the difference between email marketing & spam?

You send email marketing, you receive spam!

What's the difference between direct mail and junk mail?

You've got it? Hopefully I've made my point.

The companies you are targeting pay people to stop you getting through to them. They are called receptionists, PAs and sometimes battleaxes.

How do I know this? Because I use receptionists, PAs and occasionally battleaxes!

At some point you, or someone you know, has spent hours crafting a wonderfully worded prospecting email to 'key decision makers' like me and 'lifted' an email list from somewhere in order to carpet bomb a few thousand lucky recipients. I'll bet they felt really clever doing it, just as I did back in 2006, when I blasted the hell out of my email lists, as back then it actually seemed good use of my time.

See, in the vast majority of cases, with the carpet bomb approach to email marketing, all you get back is address not found rebounds, complaints about spamming and binned by your service provider This can leave you deflated, disturbed and puzzled by the total lack of response.

After all you spent days drafting and preparing that email.

I remember having to ring the US call centre that handled my email marketing and putting on my best Hugh Grant voice to explain why I had so many complaints and unsubscribes. I got away with it for a short amount of time… before being blacklisted by ALL the email marketing platform providers.

I do mean ALL.

Oops.

But everything's changed now: I reckon that email marketing is yesterday's man. I now add all email marketing to BLOCKED SENDERS. The internet's gone two-way, it's no longer any use as a medium for broadcasting. Now you should use internet as a vehicle to engage people.

Engage people in dialogue, in conversation.

Do it for two reasons:

1) You enjoy it.

2) Not to sell, but to engage

As with any use of technology or marketing, ask yourself this question: Would it work on you, as in really.

Would you read, respond or just delete your own email as soon as it hit your Outlook? That tweet you just sent, would you respond to it positively or just ignore it.

A contributing factor to the massive growth of 4Networking is that I apply this question to every element of our external marketing, social media and message.

I put myself right back in the mindset of me in my boxroom, skint, with no support team, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but wet behind the ears, stepping into those first months of business.

I ask myself, would this piece of activity work? Would I respond?

Take a minute to think about all your activity: does it work, not just for you. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential punters. Is it likely to be responded to or binned?

There's your answer...

GOYA II will hit the stores in February 2011. Till then, check back for more exerpts from Burton's straight-talking business book. Or check out the man himself on 4Networking.biz and Twitter.

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