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Ken Magill

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Please Stop Beating Yourselves Up

1/4/14

By Ken Magill

I have never seen an industry more prone to self flagellation than email marketers.

I have been covering direct marketing in all of its various forms for close to 20 years now and can say even telemarketers don’t beat themselves up the way email marketers do.

For example, a telemarketer would never say: “How can we make fewer but more relevant calls so we can avoid annoying people?”

Telemarketers know their job is a numbers game. Excuse the pun. They also know their work is inherently annoying.

Permission-based marketing email is not inherently annoying. It is nothing close to telemarketing. It doesn’t interrupt dinner. And yet, every time I go to a conference, I know I can count on someone to ask about sending less email so they can stop annoying people.

And sure enough, someone asked it during a morning keynote at the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Experience Council’s annual conference in Miami last month.

Here we were in a room of some of the most ethical email marketers in the world, and the one question that came up was: “How can I stop annoying people?”

Dela Quist, president of email marketing agency Alchemy Worx, has been talking about and counseling against email marketers’ self loathing for years. He even wrote a book about it: “Fear and Self-Loathing in Email Marketing.”

Quist is famous in email marketing circles for advocating a “mail-more” strategy. And he’s got the numbers to back his arguments up.

Email is the most convenient, non-annoying way for customers to maintain relationships with their suppliers, whether it’s b-to-c or b-to-b.

Would you rather get a phone call from a company with which you do business, a letter or an email?

If an email program is annoying recipients, chances are the annoyance is not frequency related. It’s content and/or offer related.

Rather than ask themselves how they can stop annoying people by sending fewer emails, marketers should be consistently striving to send emails recipients will find valuable.

Send stuff people want to receive and frequency won’t be an issue.

And for god’s sake if you’re a self-flagellant email marketer, please put the whip down.

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