We all know the reason we get to watch television for free is because of the commercials. So we accept the commercials as part of the TV-watching experience. I don’t typically see people getting angry because there are commercials on TV. They may not like some of the commercials, but we’ve come to accept the fact they’re there. And we have the ability and choice to mute the commercials, use them to take a restroom break, or now with DVR’s, simply fast-forward right through them.
So why then, do people get so angry when they get “commercials” in the form of email marketing?
If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you’re doing business on the Internet. And if you’re doing business on the Internet, you know that email marketing is the equivalent of commercials on TV. You have a website and you offer something free to people to encourage them to join your list. They make a choice about whether or not they want that free information, just like with TV we make a choice about whether or not we want to watch a particular show.
If you’re like most people doing business on the Internet, you give away LOTS of free information on your website, on your blog, in your ezine, on Social Networking sites, and in your email blasts. BUT, you also sprinkle in some marketing … YOUR commercials. Because after all, you’re in business and you need to make a living. That is after all what enables you to keep sharing free information.
People know when they sign up for your free information, they’re also agreeing to receive email marketing from you.
And, as long as you maintain a fair split between value and promotion, you’re playing the game according to the normally accepted “rules.” And people KNOW these rules. They KNOW they will receive marketing from you. And just as with the TV commercials, they have the choice to pay attention or not. They can read the emails if they’re interested or they can delete the emails (the equivalent of muting or fast-forwarding past them).
So why is it that people get SO angry when they receive a marketing email?
I’ve been marketing online since 2004, and over that course of time, I’ve shared a lot of free information with thousands of people. Just like most people marketing online, a very small minority of people who join my list actually end up buying something. I’ve never kept exact track, but my guess is it would follow the Pareto Principle – or the 80/20 rule. I share free information on how to market and build a business. Therefore, people who join my list WANT to learn how to market and build their business more effectively. They cast that vote when they signed up for my list.
YET, just as many of you who also send out email marketing may have experienced, I get “unsubscribes” – people who opt OFF my list when they receive a marketing email. Most of those unsubscribes share comments such as “I’m no longer interested” or “I get too much email and I’m cutting back,” which I totally get. After all, interests and needs and businesses change. I have no problem with these kinds of “unsubscribes.” It’s all part of doing business and I don’t take it personally.
However, occasionally, I receive very nasty comments on my unsubscribe form. These people are downright angry at me for trying to sell them anything. And frankly I just don’t get it. If you don’t want to read the emails, you’re free to delete them or get off my list. I won’t be offended. It’s your choice. Just as it’s your choice to mute or fast-forward through the commercials on TV.
But why do they get so angry and feel the need to share nasty comments?
Especially when what they are reacting to is exactly what they’ve raised their hand and said they wanted to learn: MARKETING!
If you get angry at people who market to you, it might be a good time to take a look at your own mindset about marketing. Yes, there are many ways to market, but the bottom-line is, if you are in business and you want to get clients and make money, YOU HAVE TO MARKET.
So instead of getting angry, why not look at that marketing and see what you can learn from it?
Even if what’s being sold in a particular email isn’t a fit for you at the time, you can learn a lot about marketing just by watching the process.
I’m a firm believer that if you KNOW what you have to offer can really help people, it’s a service to share opportunities for them to get more help than they can get from free information. I see myself as a resource and my marketing as a service. Because I know that every person who chooses to invest in themselves through me, comes out better on the other side. They have skills and abilities they didn’t have before, that can help them build their business faster and more effectively … so they can achieve the success they set out to achieve when they started that business.
I encourage you to look at your own marketing in the very same way. You absolutely MUST believe that you are helping people by marketing to them. Because if you don’t market, the very people who need your help the most can’t get it.
Did I strike a chord with this post?
I hope so. As you know, my new positioning is one of “getting real.” And I’m not afraid to talk about the stuff that no one else is talking about. Especially when I know we’re ALL dealing with it. This topic IS part of doing business online. Let’s stop hiding it behind closed doors and share about it openly. Who knows, we might all just learn something!