First off, which statement do you believe is true?
CAN-SPAM means I can’t buy lists and send emails to people who haven’t opted to receive commercial communications from me.
CAN-SPAM means I can send email to whomever I want as long as I make it possible for them to easily unsubscribe and contact me.
Most people believe it’s the former… when really it’s the latter. The two purposes of the CAN-SPAM act were to protect consumers from receiving misleading communications and to provide consumers the right to decline additional materials from the same source.
So why are bulk email providers cracking down on their requirements for recipient/subscriber lists? Lately, I’ve even seen some that require double opted-in recipients lists. These bulk email providers aren’t upholding CAN-SPAM, as many would like you to believe. They aren’t interested in protecting privacy or upholding laws – they’re interested in making money.
Here’s how it all works. Bulk email providers answer to Internet Service Providers (ISPs). ISPs answer to their customers – individuals like you and me. Bulk email providers want as many ISPs to allow their emails through as possible. This is crucial to their financial success. They need to draw in new marketers looking for bulk email services. ISPs want to make money too; therefore, they want to keep their customers happy. This means they want to make sure they’re not letting through unwanted content or spam.
If individual customers of fill-in-the-blank-ISP-here feel they are being overly bombarded with content that they deem to be spam, they blame their ISP (and may potentially change providers). Who does the ISP blame? They blame the bulk email provider and refuse service to them by blacklisting their emails. Bulk email providers rely on good lists from responsible marketers so they don’t lose access to customers from different ISPs.
Unfortunately, the processes used are not infallible. Sometimes good companies get blacklisted. Sometimes spammers don’t get flagged and bombard ISPs. Sometimes Marketers take the blame for unhappy recipients. Fun fact, statistics show that even people who have double opted in to receive communications from a business will forget they have and will flag for abuse… 1 in 50k emails sent to double opted in lists will receive a complaint.
In case you were wondering, being removed from a blacklist isn’t something easily done. Bulk email providers are trying to protect their business so they are taking it up another notch to stay under the ISP radar.
To summarize, a bulk email provider’s primary concern isn’t upholding the rules of CAN-SPAM; they’re looking to protect their relationships with ISPs so that the majority of their clients can continue to use their services. Marketers must be smart in how they send messages so they don’t cause problems for their bulk email provider.
I know it would be fantastic if we all had meticulously maintained data in our CRMs. It would be stellar if every single person inside of them wanted to hear from us and had double opted in too! It would be phenomenal if all of those people just needed an email from us to realize how wonderful our product/service is and became immediately interested in buying from us. Yeah, well… I don’t know about you, but I have yet to experience this utopia.
So for the rest of us not living on Marketing Cloud 9, we need actionable ways to play nice with bulk email providers while also maintaining the integrity of CAN- SPAM.
As a quick reminder, here are the dos and don’ts of CAN-SPAM:
Here are a few recommendations for those of us working with house lists we’ve inherited with prospect sources unknown, or for those of us working to build house lists by ethically harvesting email addresses.
Good luck and happy campaigning!
If you’re not up on your Yiddish, a tsatske is what most would identify as a small souvenir, an almost worthless giveaway. In the world of conferences, trade shows and events, tables are littered with hundreds of them. From mini sewing kits, to golf balls and tees, to carabineers and key chain flashlights – I’ve seen them all.
One question my clients often ask is “what should we bring with us for events?” They want to stand out. They want to get the right people to their booth or table.
Here are a few questions I ask my clients in return:
f you don’t know the answers to these questions, why are you going to the event?!
Now, let’s create a hypothetical situation…
Target: Decision makers in IT from Fortune 500 companies (total attendees, 2,000)
Social opportunities for engagement: Your event is going to be scattered with three non-speaker lunches, two cocktail hours, and at least six coffee breaks throughout three days of panel discussions
Time allotment: 8 hours over 2.5 days to openly and quickly engage with the attendees
Desired outcome: Out of 2,000 people, you’re hoping for at least 1% to actively engage (or, 20 people)
Impression: Positive, engaging, thoughtful, caring, high caliber
Let’s say you have a modest budget for this event - $1,500, which divided evenly would be 75 cents per person. How should you spend that budget? Evenly? You could buy 2,000 key chain bottle openers for approximately 75 cents a piece. Or you could buy 12 Kindle Fires for $120 a piece and have 12 special gifts for pre-established scheduled meetings with high-value targets. Which do you think will have a greater impact on your ROI?
Now, if you’re just hoping to get some brand recognition, ignore everything I’m about to tell you.
If you’re interested in engaging in meaningful discussions – it’s going to take more than a wad of free post-its to get the ball rolling.
For events such as this, I tend to stick to the motto “go big or go home” when it comes to giveaways. Why? Perhaps it’s my own personal experience that has jaded me, but I have collected more than my fair share of mini highlighters, rulers, stickers and key chains. Not one of them has made me take any type of action with a company.
Which brings me to my next point: What is my giveaway going to make someone do?
Why are you giving away stuff to begin with? Do you know? Well, it comes down to the social norm understood as reciprocity – I give you something, so you give me something in return. So, here’s where it gets interesting…
You want to give that person something that is indicative of the worth of that person’s time. If you’re handing them a stack of brochures and a pompom critter with your brand stamped across the bottom, what do you think that’s telling your target about how you think of them? Well, at best, you’re telling them you’re not thinking of them, you’re only thinking of how great you are. At worst, you’re telling them they’re worth less than a dollar to engage.
Now not everyone thinks in these terms, and sure, there are plenty of people who go to these events and pick up tons of free gum, coasters and plush toys for their kids who are, in fact, decision makers just looking to do research and get a freebie in the process. Why are you engaging them with souvenirs? If they are in fact doing research, don’t ply them with more stuff to shove in their carry-on bag – give them your business card and set a time to perform a demo.
The point of gifts is to make the reciprocity norm work for you. You want your giveaway to make the other person want to give you their time and then potentially, hopefully, their business.
So, go big or go home. If you want to get attention and keep it, you’re going to need to spend wisely. But don’t go spending $10,000 on iPads and Kindles just yet. That would be nuts.
Instead of wasting $1,000 on each event buying giveaways for hundreds of people, save your budget and spend it on higher value personalized giveaways.
At the end of the day you want to be able to ask yourself: did the reciprocity rule work, or was I just burning money? If your table is filled with interesting collateral and your sales team is busy having engaging conversations with targets you’ve pre-established, I can guarantee the ROI on your giveaways is going to soar.
How many tsatskes do you have? How many of them are from companies you chose to do business with versus those with whom you were already engaged? It’s my opinion that it’s better to spend your budget on things that are going to generate more interest from meaningful targets than to create brand recognition with a new USB powered mini speaker. What are your thoughts?
Social media is everywhere – you can’t hide from it anymore, not even in B2B. Many companies are (in some cases begrudgingly) accepting that social media can be a valuable medium to reach target audiences. But how do you know when you should start?
Marketers regularly advocate on behalf of thought leadership and content generation, which usually see the light of day through social media outlets. They see the value in reaching audiences in a more casual environment and aren’t as focused on the immediate result of the interaction. They are going for building trust and an altruistic (at this point) relationship with their audience.