A few days ago I wrote about how a small business could sift through the masses of social media consultants and find the right one for their business. The post generated a few interesting conversations via email, and one reader challenged me to write about the things that social media consultants do that hack off small businesses.
So I thought long and hard about it, and one topic kept coming back to me and haunting my thoughts. Obtaining permission. If you ring up a customer or prospect do you seek permission to talk? The chances are if you are good at what you do, you’ll seek permission. It’s not hard, it’s just a quick “Is it okay to talk?” and the chances are the the person will be honest and say if it isn’t.
You understand that talking to someone when they are not ready / not listening/ eating their lunch means they are not present in the conversation. If they are not present in the conversation then they are not buying what you are selling, and you are wasting your time. When someone denies permission 8 times out of 10 they’ll tell you when to call back, when things will be easier for them.
Permission doesn’t just apply to phone calls, it applies in many areas of business.
Permission Email Marketing
This is the process of gaining permission from your would be prospect and they sign up to your newsletter / email list. If you use Aweber, it’s a double opt-in. That means that the potential subscriber is asked twice if they want to subscribe. This means to me that the people who are on my list trust me and are happy to receive the info that I send. I have very low unsubscribe rates, and great open rates. Gaining permission works for me It will work for you too, regardless of your industry. Permission is a powerful marketing tool.
The trouble is it takes time and a lot more effort to build a permission based email list.
Social Media Consultants who Opt You in First
You’ve just been to a networking breakfast. You’ve met 30 people and some of those people are interesting. You want to follow-up and stay in touch. You do so, and a few days later you find that the social media consultant (who doubles as a networking expert) at the event has added you to their email list. You find you are bombarded with information, if only you had the time to read it to find out if it was useful! Very quickly you stop opening the emails and just hit delete when you see their name.
Why do they opt you into their email list, rather than let it be your choice?
Why… it’s an interesting question. I asked one of the marketers that did this to me and her response was she knew too many people to keep them updated individually and this worked for her. She pointed out that people could easily unsubscribe if they were not interested. I’ve unsubscribed three times, but I keep finding myself on that list. It doesn’t make me happy. I don’t refer to her. I get the feeling that she frequently adds her email address book to MailChimp to make up the numbers, that may not be the case, but that’s what it feels like.
Why… I also think it’s because some social media consultants are lazy. They don’t want to make an effort with your social media and get what’s right for you. They want it all and they want it now. They have no idea how to grow a site from scratch and write content that gets subscribers, that’s too much like work and we all know that social media marketing has to be fun rather than effective. Yes, that’s sarcasm. I’ve seen too much of this method lately.
Why… because the money is in the list, and some social media experts think that they are only good if they have a big list. They don’t care if the list is 90% unresponsive, they never clean their list, they have a different set of beliefs and the main belief is the bigger their list is, the better they are.
Why… because rather than have a niche specific email list they prefer to have a generic list. Of course, that means they can’t tailor offers that are useful to their audience so they pitch everything they can find with the hope that if they sling enough mud some will stick…
Why have I singled out social media consultants? Because on Facebook they are the biggest whingers if you add them to a Facebook group without their permission.
That’s enough of the whys…
Permission applies in every aspect of social media marketing.
Here’s the thing, just because someone else does it, it doesn’t mean you should do it too. Different businesses have different audiences and they react differently to being added to email lists and Facebook groups. If you don’t like it when it happens to you, how are you going to feel when the aforementioned consultant recommends you do this?
So here’s the deal. Next time you opt me into your emails without my permission I’m going to add you to my Facebook group without your permission. I’m going to send you lots of inane junk that’s not relevant to your business in your opinion. I’ll start with this post so you know why your are there and what to expect.
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