Thanks to Jenny Hamby for this article – and for giving me permission to publish it. It’s definitely worth reading if you’ve been considering purchasing an email ‘mailing’ list.
If you’ve been tempted to buy an email list that offers unlimited use for a one-time price … or if you view networking functions as a great way to collect email addresses for your email marketing efforts, I have a little story to share.
Every Monday night, I receive a garish email adorned with a chameleon. The message is simply a listing of the services provided by the graphic design firm that sends it in hopes that I might have work for them.
I didn’t ask to receive this information.
I’ve never even heard of the company.
So why do I receive these messages? It boils down to one of three reasons:
- I signed up for a list somewhere and agreed (or forgot to disagree) that the list owners could share my email address with vendors they think would be a
good match for my business. I’m now part of what is, technically speaking, an opt-in list … and they’ve chosen to rent my information to this design firm.
- My email address has been harvested and packaged into a “compiled” list. As the name suggests, this type of list is a compilation of publicly available data.
- The enterprising owners of this design firm visited my site, obtained my email address (either on the site or by signing up for my newsletter), and added me to
their prospecting list.
How I ended up on their list doesn’t really matter, because the end result is the same: I’m getting email I don’t want and didn’t ask for. It’s creating a negative impression of their company. And if they don’t respond to my repeated requests to remove my email address from their list, I would be justified in reporting them as spammers.
Why should you care? Well, if you are using any of the methods listed above to promote your events, you are what I call an “Accidental Spammer.” And your well-intentioned efforts could be endangering your reputation and generating ill will among your prospects.
Method #1: If you rent an opt-in list, you may technically have permission to mail to the subscribers. But they gave permission to the list owner — not you. Unless you’re allowed to mention the list owner (“Dear Inc. Reader …”), it’s understandable why they might think you are a spammer.
Method #2: These types of lists are a bargain (17 million email addresses for only $29!). But again, you’re contacting someone without their permission. If you insist on using a compiled list, use direct mail instead. People aren’t as ferocious in guarding their mailboxes as they are in protecting their in boxes.
Method #3: If you want to go online to research potential customers, go ahead. But use a private email or their ”Contact Us” form to make contact and your initial offer.
Also don’t assume that people you meet during networking and business functions want to be added to your email distribution list. Feel free to follow up with them using a private email. But give them the choice to decide whether to join your opt-in list or not.
So what should you do if you want to use email lists other than your own to promote your seminars? Sign the list owners up as affiliates, and have them send emails on your behalf.
That way, you’ll get the benefit of being exposed to a wider audience, without the risk of being reported as a spammer. Plus, you’ll benefit from the implied – and often direct — endorsement the lists owners make when sending an email promoting your event.
I’ve been subscribing to Jenny’s materials for a number of years and have purchased several of her products – VERY helpful! She knows what she’s talking about.