What do you do when you have a potential customers name and address, but know nothing else about them? You’d really like to be able to send them some targeted marketing, ideally via email. You send them a good old-fashioned letter asking them to volunteer more contact information and answers to a bunch of business classification questions – “What industry are you in?”, “How many employees do you have?”, “What might you want to buy from us?”, that sort of thing.
Verisign – the people who’ll sell you certificates for SSL websites – sent me exactly that letter yesterday. And over and above their costs for sending the mail, developing the online survey and capturing the data they’re also offering a $10 gift card to everyone who fills in their survey. They must really want that data and those subscribers.
And a fair bit of the work I do is security-related and I use SSL fairly heavily, so I’d be interested in the occasional email from Verisign. If they pitch me a decent offer for an interesting product I’d even be likely to buy it. This is just how email marketing can work well and make both sender and recipient happy – much better, from my perspective, than intrusive cold calls from sales reps desperate to sell me something interrupting my work day.
I fill in their online survey. I give them an email address. I don’t give them a ‘phone number.
And they refuse to accept the form, because there’s no ‘phone number. I’m mildly annoyed that I’ve wasted five minutes filling in a useless form; they’ve lost a potential subscriber. Neither of us is happy with the result.
Being sensitive to recipients preferences is likely to make them happier and more receptive to your message, and improve the effectiveness of your overall campaign.
Refusing to let someone sign up for email marketing because they don’t want your telemarketing is a fairly extreme example, but recipients preferences is something to bear in mind elsewhere in your campaigns. If you’re mailing daily maybe you’re losing subscribers simply because the volume is too high. Possibly offering an alternative “weekend edition” with the best bits of the weeks daily editions would work better for them. Offering them the option to sign up for that instead on the unsubscription page for your daily list might help you keep them as a subscriber.