We’re all familiar with spam–the unsolicited, worthless, and potentially unsafe messages we get on social media, through email, or over the phone from time to time. We all get it and we all hate it. It seems like not enough companies understand how to promote themselves without spamming their potential customers and turning them off. But how often do we look at our own strategies to see if we’re guilty of the same problem?
The goal of advertising is to get your brand name in front of consumers, but spamming sabotages your efforts. If your customers associate your brand with spamming messages and annoyance, that can drive them away from giving you their business rather than enticing them. This may seem obvious, but plenty of businesses seemingly miss the memo. How can you find your balance of excellent self-promotion without driving your customers away?
Make a Personal Connection
Cold messaging or cold calling is often a key part of sales. However, you shouldn’t allow this necessary component to feel like an impersonal message. Before you send an email or social media message to anyone, take the time to peruse their “About” page to learn about their interests and/or business goals. Display a genuine interest in those goals and show how your product or service can help.
More importantly, ALWAYS take the time to address your subject by their name! One of the fastest turn-offs (and signs of spam messaging) for potential customers is being addressed as “Sir/Madam”, “Customer”, or a similarly impersonal title. Some phishing emails even pull the first half of the recipient’s email address to use as a name, resulting in such humorous email openings as “Dear pinkdiamond443”. Don’t fall into these traps! Learn your subject’s name and use it.
Avoid Mass, Worthless Messages
For plenty of customers, their most irritating sales experiences come from mass messages where the sender clearly didn’t bother to learn anything about them and probably just pasted their email into a long list. The same goes for social media. If the sender clearly didn’t take a few minutes to learn about what you enjoy and are willing to buy, it’s painfully obvious.
This principle goes hand-in-hand with making a personal connection with your customers. Marketing is as much about building relationships with your client base as it is about selling. Don’t just collect a list of email addresses or social media handles, send out a generic promotional message, and hope you get a return. Choose your audience based on their interest in your brand and their interactions with you.
Pro Tip: Never add people to your subscription list without their permission! This makes it even more likely that they’ll label you as a spammer.
Offer Something of Value
Whether you’re sending an email, posting on social media, or commenting on a forum, offer something of value to your reader. Don’t just fill your message with your brand’s logo and five different links to your website. Offer a valuable contribution to the conversation that’s happening or, if appropriate, offer a discount code. Make your audience feel like they’ve gained something from you.
Find the Right Balance
The ultimate measure of your marketing campaign’s success is not how many ads you post, private messages you send, or phone calls you make. Instead, you should be tracking conversions and customer satisfaction with you and your products or services. As you plan your next marketing campaign, remember to pay attention to customer responses to your ads and find the proper strategy for promoting yourself. Your customers will appreciate the lowered spam rates!