How to Not Be a Spammer

© depositphotos/sellingpix

Conscientious business owners often tell me, “I don’t want to be one of those companies who’s spamming everyone!”  You know who “those” companies are…we all have at least a few horror stories where we cringed every time Company X sent something…and then we hit “Unsubscribe”!  How do we avoid that trap in our own marketing?

A lot of people think the answer is “Don’t bug them too often.”  While that’s true, it misses a key fact: there are some companies you like hearing from often.  What’s the difference?  It’s whether you like what you’re hearing.  It comes down to the content.

Spammer Talking Friend Talking
It’s about them It’s about me
Selling themselves Teaching me
Selling themselves Entertaining me
Selling themselves Engaging me

Great social marketing doesn’t feel like marketing–it feels like you’re sharing valuable information with me.  And consequently, I like getting it!

You’ll build stronger relationships with customers by establishing yourself as a source of great information.  They’ll enjoy hearing from you, and you’ll remind them of what an expert you are in your field.  So when they need your product or service, they’ll think of you!  AND, they might even forward your great info to friends who would also be interested.

Ideas for Great Content

The following table shows some categories of content that can be really powerful, and how they would apply to two sample businesses.  In general, great content informs, motivates, and relates.

Great Content Example 1: Toy Store Example 2: Accountant
Share your expertise & knowledge Five great Play Doh projects Demystifying the new expense deduction rules
Tell your customers’ stories Nathan’s Lego masterpiece How a freelancer reduced her tax bill by 15%
Insider facts & information The story behind toy shortages The best iPhone apps to track your expenses
Introduce your team members Meet the team who’s opening early on Black Friday How John got excited about accounting
Offer exclusivity, discounts & coupons 15% off board games this weekend Get a free audit check if you come in before February 28
But I Actually Need to Sell Something

You will.  By being a source of great information, you will constantly remind customers and prospects that you’re there, and that you’re an expert.  You’ll also be indirectly reminding them of the types of products, services, and benefits you are selling.

And not everything has to be valuable information.  It’s OK to use some messages to sell more directly.  Use the 80/20 rule as a rule of thumb–80% informative and 20% selling.

Action Plan

Spend 5 minutes brainstorming content topics.  For each of the categories in the “Great Content” table above, write down a few ideas for what your customers would be excited to hear about.

Let me know how this goes, and what you’re planning to do, by posting a comment below!

  • Dave Bledin

    Great advice and very valid…. there are certain companies that I just hate receiving e-mail from (turbotax – I’m speaking to you). My other tip would be around frequency – don’t send something out unless you really have something to say. You don’t need to stick to a weekly schedule or even a quarterly schedule as a rigid rule…. you should send more frequently when you really do have useful, informative, enlightening info, and when you really don’t have anything valuable to share, don’t bother pushing send.

    • Evan

      Thanks for adding your tips, Dave! Helpful to hear!

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