Making a Noise (Or how NOT to win friends & influence people!)



How many promotional e-mails arrive in your in-box every day?

How many of them are from businesses with which you have an active relationship?

Do you ever respond positively to them?

Without wishing to put words in your mouth, my guess is that the answers to these questions would be something like, “too many, “none,” and “no!”

So, why do so many small businesses feel the need to bombard us with stuff that we don’t want, which wastes our time and makes us feel irritated?

To be honest, I don’t really have an answer to this question – but I wish that they would stop!  I can only assume that it has something to do with trying to imitate corporate behaviour by blasting a message far and wide in the vain hope that it might spark the occasional reaction.  But we are not large corporations, so why do we try and ape what they do?

Here are three good reasons for NOT going down this route –

  1. It is massively inefficient.  Even a corporation with an established brand would only expect to generate a response rate of about 1% from this sort of activity.  For an unknown and untested business, the return is nearer 0.1%.  In other words, you might get 1 response for every 1,000 e-mails you push out there!
  2. The negative impact is huge!  One of my customers recently told me her reaction to a particular promotional e-mail.  She was angry; she was offended; and she would NEVER use the services of the person responsible for the ‘campaign’ – and she related the story to a lot more people than just me!
  3. It minimises our strengths and maximises our weaknesses!  Small businesses have two – and only two – competitive advantages over our corporate cousins: the quality of the relationships we develop and our commercial agility.  Sending out a single message to large volumes of people is a very good way of destroying both!

Effective small business marketing is built on focus, value and quality of relationship – and NOT vague attempts at ‘mass marketing!’

Any thoughts, ideas or experiences that you would like to share?

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