Your Email Subscriptions Can Destroy Real Connections

by Jeannie Walters

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Email marketers are following terrible advice.

This seems to be the case as I keep seeing the same thing over and over and over again.

Many of us who make it a point to network, exchange business cards and contacts are inundated with emails from over-aggressive email marketers.

Anti-spam laws are well established and have been on the books for some time now. So as newsletter and content creators, we need to be EXTRA careful about ensuring that content only goes out to those who freely and willingly sign up to receive it.

I sometimes find it hard to believe it’s 2014 and my inbox seems dominated by newsletters I know I didn’t ask for. My email address has been abused, sometimes to the point of disintegrating my friendship and good will towards the senders.

Email Subscriptions
Would it be that different if your “friends” did THIS to you?

It comes down to respect.

Or at least it should.

It can be easy not to notice when a friend from Twitter “helpfully” subscribes you to a newsletter. So the offending marketer decides ALL friends need to receive the same content.

But respect is the essence of all relationships. If we lack respect for the way others want to interact with us, then the relationship is destined to end on a sour note.

  • Not only are the offending ways I have been added to mailing lists annoying, in many cases, it’s often a direct violation of the terms of use outlined by their newsletter distribution service.

  • After events where I typically give out a handful of my cards, I soon get bombarded by content that isn’t even remotely relevant to me or my business.

  • Twitter contacts feign respect by asking me to sign up for their newsletters, then just go ahead and do it to me without waiting for me to respond.

  • One of the most recent offenders included this line at the end of the newsletter: “We are connected professional on LinkedIn.” There is SO MUCH WRONG with this, and I’m not even referring to the poor grammar. Just being connected on LinkedIn doesn’t automatically grant permission to force their content on me and contact me any way they choose.

It’s pretty obvious when someone sees you as a lead, rather than as a connection.

Most of us love social media for the ways it allows us to connect, discuss and engage with various people. Those virtual relationships sometimes have the potential become real and powerful. But if adding me to your email subscriptions takes precedence over making a genuine connection, I’m not going to want to invest any time or energy in understanding who you are.

Email Subscriptions
Solicitors never see their own activity as soliciting.

I know I’m not alone in finding these behaviors irritation at best and detrimental at worst. I DO subscribe willingly to those who provide content I find relevant and valuable. And of course I understand the desire to grow an email subscriber base. I know as well as anyone how hard it is to grow that list organically. It’s a necerending struggle! But by focusing on content and inviting people to join us, we’re growing our list bit by bit by sometimes painful bit. That’s the nature of the beast, and it’s OK. The right people will find us.

And those aggressive email meanies can keep their tactics and their big, meaningless lists.

Image Credits: G MMarcus Quigmire via Creative Commons

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators™ by 360Connext, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a C-Suite Network Advisor, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a TEDx speaker. Learn more here.

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