Email Blasting = Shady Marketing (#FAIL)

Taxes, Death, and SPAM, are all inevitable.

Lately, I have been monitoring my Gmail’s SPAM folder and I’ve been noticing a disturbing pattern. No … not pharmaceuticals or Nigerian princes asking for money, but Jewish businesses and non-profits sending “blasted” emails to presumably thousands of non-opted in members … all coming from one marketing company’s email account.

Never did I opt-in to this company’s email blasts. They must have recognized that I am Jewish, and/or took my name from the web, and added it to their database. (I am extremely skeptical that this company is actually practicing appropriate marketing etiquette / laws: for example CAN-SPAM laws.)

If you don’t see what the problem is at this point, you probably need a bit of a crash course in marketing communications. You might assume that if you just blast your message to thousands of people, some dopes are going to be curious and not only open your email, but interact with it. This is one of the worst assumptions you can make about consumers, and in fact, this will probably do more harm for your business / brand long term, than will the short term benefit of a few clicks to your site.

There are many ways to properly do Email Marketing, but “renting” email lists, or “blasting” to some company’s list, is probably the opposite of a “best practice” of Email Marketing.

In Email Marketing, as in Social Media Marketing, brands are given permission by the consumers to be communicated to. Consumers opt-in to “Follow” a brand on Twitter, “Like” a brand on Facebook, “Subscribe” to a brand on YouTube, or Subscribe to a brand’s email list. In the digital age, brands can no longer communicate to a consumer without their permission – lest they want to be ignored or shunned.

Best practices in Email Marketing include (but are not limited to):

  • Get permission. Don’t scrape the web for email addresses, or obtain emails that are not qualified. They will not help your business cause.
  • Build your own mailing list (CRM). Nothing is as targeted as a list of consumers who actively are interested in your brand. You know exactly who is on your mailing list, and don’t need to worry about other’s lists. DON’T BUY LISTS.
  • Provide an easy way to unsubscribe. Otherwise, those receiving your emails are trapped in your email list without exit – which will only piss them off. Not a good way to build brand affinity.
  • Don’t abuse your list. Sending emails too frequently will inevitably send more and more of your emails into SPAM folders – like the one’s from the company referred to above.

A great way to help bolster your Email Marketing database, is by being active in Social Media. Having a continuous presence within Facebook, Twitter, and other portals allows you to consistently present your message to those who are interested in hearing what you have to say. By engaging in your Social Media community, there are numerous ways you can encourage your consumers (or potential consumers) to opt-in to your Email database. In that case, it’s mutually beneficial for the brand, and the consumer.

To conclude… while there are legitimate Email Marketing companies (especially the ones that assist you in building your own lists) out there, you should be skeptical of “targeted” email lists to communities, hyper specific demographic and/or pyschographic targeting, etc. Use your own networks to build your own list (CRM) and interact with them in appropriate ways. Pushing your content in front of the consumer, instead of conversing, is a sure way to having your business #FAIL.

Dani Klein has consulted with non profits and small business when he started SocialCity Marketing in 2008. Currently, Dani is working on multiple Fortune 500 brands as the Manager of Social Marketing Strategies for Digitas, a world leading digital marketing and media agency and member of the Publicis Groupe S.A.

All views expressed within this blog and by this blogger are solely my own and in no way reflect those of Digitas or Publicis.