I recently heard about a site called Klout, which apparently is a scoring mechanism that gauges your social reach. I have no idea how it works, and I’m not sure I care all that much, especially after I visited the site.
It sounded like a neat idea at first. So I went to the site’s home page and it gave me some marketing scoop about how I needed to know my Klout score. In order to get any further information I had to sign up. But here’s the thing… I can’t just sign up. I have to sign up with either Twitter or Facebook.
I’m very protective of my Facebook account. Although I use it for business, I don’t let “just anybody” gain access to it. I don’t use any apps (except HootSuite) and I don’t play games. If I do let a site use my Facebook account, it’s with very limited access.
Klout on the other hand wanted access to all my friends, all my posts, and my pages. Um, no, I don’t think so.
So I signed up with Twitter, which to me posed no threat. After this, Klout took me to another screen asking me to add my Facebook account. Skip! On the next screen I was told I have score of -23. Just kidding, it was higher than that, but not much. So the bottom line is that Klout wants me to connect my Facebook page, Like it’s Facebook page, and tell all my friends about it. Then it will up my score.
I’m sorry, what benefit am I getting out of this again?
My rant is getting off track. What I really wanted to point out is that this seems to be the beginning of a bad trend. Many sites I sign up for want me to use my Facebook account to sign up. I know why they want me to do this, because they get huge benefits. But how does this help me? How does it make my life better, easier, funner, or more valuable?
I really think this is getting out of hand. The world wide web has become one big churning roiling marketing mechanism. The marketers clearly win by getting access to our information (which most people, unbelievably, freely give). But hat do we, the consumers, get? A better score. Seriously?
Am I just jaded because of the business I’m in? Let me know what you think.
[This is part 9 (the final installment) of the series "Debunking the Myths of E-Mail Marketing."]
The number one thing I hear from business owners when I talk about email marketing is “I don’t want to annoy my customers.” Neither do I! And the good news is it’s REALLY EASY not to do this.
Permission marketing is a term made popular by Seth Godin with his book of the same name. At it’s very basic level, it simply means you ask for and get explicit permission from people to market to them.
This concept manifests in many ways, but most poignantly in e-mail marketing. This is where the concept not only makes a lot of sense, but absolutely shines!
So picture this… you walk up to a person at a networking event and they ask you, “What to you do?” You tell them, “I am a small business accountant,” or “I help businesses with their Internet marketing,” or “We help homeowners going through life changing events to de-clutter their homes in order to cope better.” Then you ask “Would you like to learn more about what I do for my customers?” If they answer yes they have just given you permission to deliver your marketing message to them.
The same goes for electronic marketing. If a visitor on your web site enters their email in a form and clicks the button that says “Add me to your newsletter,” you can safely assume that they want to hear what you have to say!
So as long as you only add people to your email list who have given their explicit permission you will not be spamming them when you send out your emails.
Another very important point is that you have to make good on your promise. The people on your list have said they trust you, and you need to protect that and respect it. You need to add value to their lives, not just sell to them. Nobody wants to walk into a place and get pounced on by a sales person. It’s creepy and annoying. Help people, they will learn to trust you, they will respect you and they will buy from you.
Once you have proven that you are trustworthy and have earned their respect, more and more people will want to join your list. Your list will grow… and you will do it all without annoying anyone.
Emailing your customers every day is probably going to be too much, and you will definitely annoy them. Unless of course that is their expectation. For example you might offer a daily tip of some kind. As long as your subscribers signed up knowing that’s what they were getting, then it’s a perfectly awesome way to stay in front of them!
However, if you are offering a newsletter, you want to be more discerning. Besides it’s time consuming and unless you have 4 hours a day to write newsletters, it’s not practical. I personally send my big robust newsletter once a month. I know folks who send theirs once a week. Both are fine, do whatever you can handle and your customers want/need/will accept.
On the other end, you can’t wait too long between emails. Some of your subscribers, especially the new ones, will forget they signed up for your list if you wait three months to send them the next one. They may even think you added them without permission and report you for spamming them.
So be practical and respectful of your audience. Somewhere between twice a week and once a month is reasonable.
My definition of spam is “Repeatedly send people irrelevant, ad-filled junk e-mail without their permission and without giving them a way to unsubscribe.” (Here’s the Wikipedia definition if you’re interested.)
You probably picked out the key components…
3. without permission
4. without an unsubscribe option
The bottom line is if you avoid all of these nasty things, you will be on the right track. Go for it.
Thank you for reading all 9 installments of this series. It was a lot of fun to write and I hope it helped you ignite your desire to do e-mail marketing. Truly it is the number one way to do effective internet marketing, and no small business should be without it in their e-marketing mix!
If you have any questions at all, just post a comment in the box below and let me know, and I’ll be happy to answer you. Or email me privately.
I’m feeling rather guilty that I haven’t posted in over a week. But I have a good excuse, I promise!
Last week I went on hiatus in order to put the finishing touches on my recently released E-Marketing 101 Video Training Course. Basically the technology needed to be fixed in order to deliver the lessons automatically to each subscriber every week.
And I did it!
Yup, I finished the job, and in celebration, I have posted an amazing offer on the web site. Until the end of this month, you can get the program for just $47 per month for five months. It’s a 21-week program that teaches you step by step how to plan and implement a complete e-marketing program for your small business.
The best part is it’s totally risk-free! If you cancel within 60-days you will get your money back. You can watch every single video and implement everything you learn and even keep all the handouts that come with it, and we’ll still give you your money back. You don’t even have to tell us why. Just cancel your account and ask for a refund and you’ll get it. It’s that simple.
You can’t lose!
How can we offer you this? Because we’re convinced that you will see the same amazing results that our other participants have seen who have gone through the program.
Check out the web site at www.LearnEmarketingNow.com.
If you have any questions, post them here and I’ll answer them as quickly as possible. Or email me directly at lpecunia[at]avarrasolutions[dot]com and I’ll answer them privately.
This morning I was on the internet looking for a new bluetooth mouse. I really liked the blue logitech one, and ended up looking at it several times while comparing it to others. For the most part I was on Amazon but I hit several other sites too.
As it turned out, the $50 price tag was more than I wanted to pay and I had other things to do, so I abandoned my search and went on to other things.
Several hours later and I was back in my office. A technical problem with Facebook’s iPhone app drove me to Google to search of a solution. Clearly this has nothing to do with blue mice… just hang with me here for a minute.
I found a forum where people were discussing my Facebook app problem, and when I got to the bottom of the screen, I noticed a picture of a shiny blue mouse. The exact same $50 blue mouse. Whaddyaknow… it was an Amazon ad.
When this first happened to me, a few months ago, it seemed a little creepy… I felt like I was being stalked. Now I’m starting to get used to it. Isn’t it funny how we get used to things we would never have tolerated a short time ago? (For more on this topic read my post about the cookie debate.)
This is what is becoming commonly known as “re-marketing.” Google is offering this as a new feature of their AdWords program. Since the AdWords network is huge, this is a natural thing for Google to do. From a marketing perspective it’s pretty freakin’ brilliant.
But will people get over the creepiness of it? As much as I love Google, this just seems a bit too Big Brother-like. Most of us don’t think twice about the fact that Facebook follows us around everywhere and shares our information with anyone who pays them enough. Maybe we’ll just get used to it, like we are now used to seeing “Be the first of your friends to like this” on so many web sites. (Think about it… how does that site know that none of your friends have liked it yet.)
Personally I think the outrage will die down and we’ll just get use to it, like we did everything that went before. Thoughts?
I recently read an excellent article by Sue Cartwright on using Facebook for business reasons. It’s actually a review of another article (which I did not read) and she uses that article as a springboard to talk about this topic, which is near and dear to my heart.
The big challenge of Facebook marketing is this: your facebook page is a personal page. You can only have one, and it must represent you as a person. As a small business owner, you may decide to use your personal Facebook page as a platform to promote your business. This is loosely equivalent to being out with some friends and someone asks you “so, how’s business?”
Sue gives some nice takeaways, which I will share with you in my own words:
Just as in any networking environment, always remember the goal is to build relationships.
You are a person and a business owner, and you have both business and personal relationships. These lines get crossed in real life as well, but on Facebook the blurring of those lines is even more prominent. Everyone can see both sides of your life, or at least anything you post on your own wall or someone else’s wall. [FYI, I'm simplifying a bit here because Facebook's privacy settings allow you to finely tune what gets seen by whom, but let's assume you've left your settings at the default for now.]
You should aim to provide posts, quotes, links, and opinions that people will find interesting and helpful. Posts that smack too much of self-promotion will, at best, get ignored, and at worst, get you un-friended and perhaps even stridently dissed.
Facebook “ranks” posts by popularity and uses that ranking to decide which posts will show up higher and more often on your friends’ walls. The more interesting your post is, the more comments and likes it will get. This achieves a level of popularity which will help your post, and you, get more exposure.
Sue goes on to talk about the difference between posting to your personal page vs. your business page, so I recommend reading the article if you want to learn more about that.
I will close with an interesting excerpt from Sue’s article, because she articulates this much better than any re-phrasing job I could do: “…the degree to which our professional relationships become personal vary but our professional connections will mingle with our personal ones and this will lead to new business, new opportunities, new ideas and inspiration for a new direction.”
Clearly Sue is a strong advocate for using your personal facebook presence for business. Sue also started her facebook account with the intention of using it mostly for business. I on the other hand started with a personal facebook page a good year and a half before I started using it for business. So I still tend to be ultra-careful about what I say and what I comment on.
Either way, each of us has to decide for ourselves.
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