I subscribe to quite a few enewsletters and RSS feeds, so it’s always surprising to receive an enewsletter that I never subscribed to. How did they find my email? Then I recognize the “from” address and I realize, I gave someone in that company my business card in the past.
A business card is meant to develop a relationship between people, not a person and a company. However, the first tendency is to take all business cards back to the office, dump them into a sales database and automatically subscribe them to all the company emails. Come on, you know you’ve done it!
From my perspective, this is the quickest path to 1) decrease people’s interest to work with your company and 2) for future emails to be blocked. In the end, this is about permission marketing (as eloquently written by Seth Godin in the book with the same name). Here are my three tips to gaining permission and starting your marketing relationship on the right foot.
In lieu of a PRMM Interview this week, I’m sharing these top five ways to make your events more mobile.
Outside of some close friends, one of the little known secrets about me is that I used to salsa dance. Not only did I enjoy dancing, I also competed in group and couples competitions. Like all enthusiasts, I subscribed to all the salsa lists to learn about upcoming events, lessons with outside instructors and more. Since I broke my ankle preparing for a competition (um, long story =), I’ve discontinued following the salsa activities and unsubscribed from all the lists. At least I thought I did.
Recently, I’ve started receiving notifications about these events, not through my email, but through Facebook. It’s getting so bad, that I’m on the verge of unfriending someone who has been sending me the most number of “event notifications.” In one case to be removed from a list, the response I received was: “however, please be advised this is a public event and it could be that one of your friends who originally received the invite from me extended the event invitation to you.”
Three Things to Consider Before Hitting Send on Facebook
While the full potential of Facebook is yet to be tapped by marketers and businesses, here are some key considerations before dropping your email lists into Facebook:
1. Relationships Matter: The intrinsic value of Facebook is that friends are great filters for knowing what I like and don’t like. Make sure you have an established relationship before sending an email or invite to someone, which leads to
2. Permission Marketing: Seth Godin’s book is key to engaging people via online marketing. Make sure you received permission from someone first. If you’re seeking to migrate your email list to Facebook, then be transparent about what you’re doing. Personally, the best thing is to ask those on your email lists if they would like to be contacted via Facebook – this way, they opt in for your Facebook communications.
3. CAN-SPAM Compliance: While I don’t know what the legalities are, I assume that Facebook communications would fall under the CAN Spam Act with regard to commercial content. As stated on the FTC website:
“Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as ‘any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,’ including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law.”
As such, make sure to allow for peopel to easily opt out of future communications.
To my knowledge, there is no way for me to opt out of someone’s “marketing” communications. Rather, I have to go to each group or event to leave. This is frustrating as many times, I have not directly signed up for the initial communications. Ideally, Facebook would create a backend platform tool for marketers to manage these types of communications. Similar to existing email solutions, the communications platform would enable businesses to:
1. Send communications to people who have opted in
2. Manage opt out requests for individual groups/events or everything managed by that business
3. Monitor response rates, unsubscribes and clickthroughs for the communications
4. Provide trending reports, such as friend referrals, time of day opens, etc.
5. And much much more
And for members, we should be able to filter out communications beyond just the spam button. For example, I do want to stay updated with my friend, I just don’t want all the updates regarding the next salsa class or bachata dance off. What recommendations would you provide for marketers and to Facebook?
OK – either I’ve been lazy lately (which is possible) or I’m just not finding things that I want to share. I think I need to expand my list of reading. Until then, here’s this week’s articles.
Email Marketing Gone Bad – PR Week demonstrated what NOT to do with email marketing. Per BL Ochman, PR Week spammed thousands of subscribers and exposed passwords.
Pack a Twitter? – This was a topic addressed by Chris Brogan and Dave Fleet. The idea is creating a way for people to find who to follow on Twitter. This post provides advice on using Twitter Packs. Here’s the original post from Chris Brogan. Granted, that depends if Twitter can be stable enough to even allow you to find, follow and tweet!
Beyond the Age of Conversation – Frankly, I go through different stages of reading lots of marketing, PR and technology books and times when I just can’t. The Age of Conversation is one of those books that is waiting anxiously for me to read. I plan to. I just haven’t gotten to it. So it’s interesting that the folks behind the first project are soliciting contributors for the next book. I’m tempted. If you’re planning to contribute, let me know in the comments.
Designing the Right Email Newsletter – I know that this doesn’t usually fall on PR, but I know it does happen. For those asked to write and design an email newsletter, here’s an interesting report on email newsletters from MarketingSherpa. Act now. Only available for one week to non-subscribers.
As people who have read my blog, I have a bone to pick with Citibank regarding their email marketing tactics and, in my opinion, poor customer service (see here and here). I still don’t understand how they are voted one of the best.
Mack Collier at The Viral Garden wrote about Dell’s turnaround in the social medium. If only Citibank could follow suit.
Simple ways to provide better service and participate:
Monitor and respond to any posts about Citibank
Respond to snail mail letters with a letter, email or phone call
Provide an unsubscribe service for those who have cancelled accounts (FYI – I was required to change my profile settings to stop the emails which I can’t do since I cancelled my
- Allow your customer service representatives to automatically cancel email notices instead of quoting a 30 day period for stopping correspondence. Obviously, this didn’t work either. Didn’t you know that email is NOT snail mail? An ability to go into a database and delete my email shouldn’t be so complicated.So I’m officially starting my Citibank Watch. How many days before I 1) hear back from Citibank and/or 2) get them to stop sending me useless email messages I can’t unsubscribe from.
Here are the dates:- # of days since my first letter to Citibank: 90 Days
# of days since writing to William R. Rhodes, CEO of Citibank: 29 Days
I’ll try to do an automatic clock. If you know of a simple code that I can add, please send me an email.
Cece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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- Karleen Szpak on Going Virtual Isn’t Necessarily the Answer to Replacing Your Physical Events
- http://www.flickr.com/ on Going Virtual Isn’t Necessarily the Answer to Replacing Your Physical Events