The start of another year, and the spammers are out in force…
Maybe it’s a ‘New Year’ thing – maybe it’s the current economic climate – maybe they just don’t have anything better to do – but I find it really annoying when I have to waste valuable time putting measures in place to try and keep my inbox and blog comments clear of junk.
It is estimated that around 45% of all emails sent are spam, which equates to 14.5 billion spam emails sent globally… every single day!
But this doesn’t really impact on us… does it?
Apart from the time spent every day deleting the messages which do get through the spam filters, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been forced to add extra capacity to cope with the deluge… and the extra cost gets passed on to… you guessed it… their customers (in other words, “us”).
But what exactly is spam?
‘Spam’ means different things to different people (and I’m not talking about the tinned-meat variety), but one of the closest definitions I’ve found is on wikipedia, which reads:
“The use of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.”
I don’t think this adequately covers the extent of the problem, though – it’s a lot more involved …
Firstly, “spam” isn’t just limited to email. You get:
- Twitter spam
- Mobile phone messaging spam
- Blog spam
- Instant Messenger spam
- Facebook spam
- LinkedIn spam
- Internet forum spam
… and those are just the most common ones!
Secondly, I think the main element which defines something as spam is “unsolicited”.
So, any email you send, any call you make, any direct mail campaign you engage in could be considered spam (in the old days it was called “junk”) if you send out indiscriminately, which is what many businesses are still doing with their approach to marketing.
For example, if you use networking meetings as a way to generate leads and build a pipeline of opportunities for your business, do you consider it acceptable to take the cards you collect back to your office, enter them on your database and start sending them your newsletter, or start sending them emails which pitch your products or services?
I’ve lost track of the number of lists I’ve unsubscribed to because of this very approach.
Modern marketing – indeed the modern customer – is ALL about CUSTOMER choice.
Not only that, with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 legislation set to become law on the 25th May 2018, it will actually be illegal to send unsolicited communications to someone who hasn’t given explicit consent to receive it!
The power is in the hands of the prospective customer or customer to make the choice of what they receive, what they sign up to and what is allowed to be sent to them.
Now, if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know I’m all about “engagement” – with warm or hot prospects, customers and clients alike.
But to create the most successful, responsive marketing, you need to really understand the market you want to sell to. You need to understand their problems and frustrations, so you can show them you have the solution to their problem (or problems).
As I have said many times before (in this post “Why Selling To Everybody Is Impossible”) you cannot sell to “EVERYONE” – everyone is NOT a good prospect for ANY business.
You need to choose a niche or sub-niche. The way you communicate to each of these groups – the actual words you use – may be different, but you still need to either offer the SOLUTION to a problem they are having, or educate them in some way which will BENEFIT THEM.
If you are sending out any form of marketing to anyone OTHER than those who meet the above criteria, then – in essence – you are spamming.
This does not just waste precious marketing dollars on people who are not going to buy from you – you are also likely to alienate people from ever buying from you in the future, when they may truly need for your product or service.
You might not be able to prevent all forms of spam from hitting your inbox, but you can certainly avoid sending spam, and prevent being labelled as a spammer.
Focus your efforts on people you KNOW you can help, who are ALREADY in a position to use your product or service to solve a problem they are having now.
Make sure you target correctly… make sure your message offers the solution to a problem or educates them in some area that will interest them – ENGAGE with people, and you’ll get a much better response to your marketing.
If you make your marketing messages compelling enough to the right prospects, you will have them wanting – even asking – to receive information from you…
… which is far better than sending unwanted, unrequested marketing!
I’d love to hear your views on this post – both positive and negative – so please add your comment in the box below.