If you are a small business owner, blogger, author or solopreneur I’m guessing you send out newsletters, e-zines or bulletins to your client’s, customers or community to make special offers, share content and keep them informed of what’s going on.
I’m sure you’re also on the receiving end of lots of them too, some you possibly don’t remember ever signing up for.
Of course we all want to build our lists and grow our followers but there are strict rules against marketing to people who haven’t agreed to be on your list, so how does it happen? I’m guessing there are some unscrupulous companies who buy and sell lists, and then there are other lists that you find yourself added to because you have bought something online and couldn’t get to the payment stage without registering your email address.
I did a bit of a cull recently and unsubscribed from no less than 20 lists that I had never signed up for in the first place! What I didn’t do though is report any of the emails as ‘spam’. For new brand owners trying to establish themselves when their list is still small, this can be hugely detrimental because mailing list providers will suspect that you may not be legitimate, MailChimp for example came back at a client of mine effectively telling her off because 2 people had reported her emails as spam. If your list is small, 2 could be a high percentage!
Don’t do it guys! It’s no problem to unsubscribe – that’s your choice but don’t move to the junk folder absent-mindedly. For your newsletters make sure that you make it crystal clear how to unsubscribe, sadly that doesn’t always work, I recently received a nasty email from someone who had apparently emailed me before asking to be removed – I didn’t ever see that email but did see the one that said
‘your emails are in breach of the UK Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). I am advised not to use the “unsubscribe” option on your email as this only informs companies, such as the one that you have employed, that send bulk emails (spam) that emails have been received and encourages further harassment’
Seriously? Which company that I have employed? He went on…
‘If I receive further emails from you, I will initiate a complaint against your company with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).’
Ouch! I wrote back to him personally, apologised and wished him a happy Christmas, I genuinely have no idea how he got on my list if he had not signed up but it happens. I think he may have felt suitably embarrassed at taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut – I got a Merry Xmas back!
So continue to put your efforts into building your lists – it’s the most important marketing tool you have, and support others by signing up to receive content from them if you want to be on their radar, but when you do feel overwhelmed at the assault on your inbox and decide to do a ‘cull’, just unsubscribe and don’t let it get reported as spam (unless of course it actually is!).
I hope you will want to continue to receive my emails – but if not I will happily let you go – with love – please just unsubscribe rather than reporting me as a spammer – just don’t leave me this way!!