man running away from email

When I talk to clients about email marketing the most common comment I hear is “I don’t want to be a spammer.”

This says a lot about the view of email marketing – it’s seen as unwanted junk landing in your inbox.  In other words it’s got a bad reputation – but why?

Mostly because it is unwanted junk.

Is it because none of us like being sold to?

Is it because you got on a list because you bought something from the company once and that identified you as someone who would buy again?

The answer to both those questions is usually ‘yes’.  But some email marketing is enormously successful – or nobody would still be doing it.  So what’s the difference between successful and unsuccessful email marketing?

Let’s look at some scenarios:

  • A shop you have a loyalty card for sends you this week’s offers.
  • A company you are a regular customer of sends you useful links to articles about ‘life-hacks’ that you can use – without trying to sell you something.
  • A consultant that operates in an area you’re really interested in sends you amusing emails, often with free advice – and occasionally includes a paid-for offer.

Do you mind getting this kind of email marketing?  Mostly it’s useful, so you’ll stick with it.

What about:

  • A booking agent that sends you every show that is on in every theatre they have, regardless of what you’ve bought tickets for before.
  • A company that you bought one product from, sends you a barrage of emails about everything else they offer, regardless of whether it’s relevant to your original purchase.
  • You downloaded a free document about social media for small companies and the supplier now sends you all kinds of ‘opportunities to buy’ relating to subjects such as HR practices for corporates, marketing in the retail environment, just-in-time ordering, and other unrelated and not useful things.

I’m guessing these are more likely to irritate you and head for the ‘delete’ or ‘unsubscribe’ button.

Of course, any business wants to educate their customers about what other things they offer, but when someone buys something – or downloads a free document – there’s a strong possibility they’ll be interested in similar items.  It’s like them putting up their hand and saying ‘this is what I want’. 

What is my point?

Know your audience.

Know what they want and give them more of that kind of thing.  Most email marketing platforms allow you to tag or separate people in your lists so they only get the emails that are of interest to them.

Instead of becoming a spammer, you’ll be building a loyal audience of fans.