I’m all for permission marketing.
If a company I trust asks for my email address, I usually give it to them because I want to know about their new products, sales, etc.
Amazon.com does this pretty well. I’ve noticed that when I order a book, every couple months or so I’ll get a tickler email about a new release that’s similar to the one I purchased. As such, my relationship with Amazon is a nice give and take. I give them permission to email me and they don’t take advantage of that privilege.
But here’s where the train derails. Recently, I ordered products online from Red Envelope and Target. In both cases, I was required to submit my email address for confirmation purposes and shipping updates. No big deal, right?
Now – all of the sudden and without my permission – I’m getting about two emails a week from both companies with 20% off this or that, the latest gizmo, etc.
I get enough spam already, thanks.
The problem for these companies is that their incessant e-blasts have actually un-sold their products and damaged their brand. Not only have I NOT ordered from either site since the harassment began, but every time I see the name Red Envelope in my inbox I have to suppress a collective groan/ eye roll.
Now, imagine if someone had that reaction to your business. If that thought scares you (and it should) never send customers unsolicited emails. It’s OK to ask for permission to follow-up with them, but if they decline – respect that.