There are a number of things which annoy most people online. Spam email is a big one. I get so many emails from people I’ve never heard of and have no interest in. And I don’t just get them once. I get them constantly. Do you think that makes me interested in the band or product? Or do you think it pisses me off (Language! Sorry mum. L ) to the point where I HATE that band/product?
If you repeatedly send stuff to people who didn’t ask for it, you are going to turn them off. It may well be that they were potential fans until you sent them 50 emails. But now they wouldn’t listen to you if you paid them because they are SICK of your crap in their inbox.
Am I saying never send stuff to people? No, of course not; that would be stupid. But there are ways of doing it.
If you want to send something to a business contact, the best thing is to get an introduction from a mutual friend. You don’t have one? Then the next best thing is a short, professional message asking if they would be interested. So long as it is short and professional and asks permission for further contact, no one is likely to be offended. If they’re interested, they’ll tell you (and it does happen). If not, you’ll either get a polite no or silence. Either way, DON’T write again. DON’T add them to a mailing list.
When I say don’t write again do I mean ever? No. Things change. If you have something new to offer 12 months down the line, go for it again. But I do mean 12 months. Not every week.
Have a Mailing List
Have a link on your website where people can sign up if they want to receive information. And make sure there is an “UNSUBSCRIBE” link on each email in case they change their mind.
People who have CHOSEN to receive your scribble are unlikely to get upset. But even then, there are limits. Overdo it and many will go for that unsubscribe link or just not read what you send. Use your own judgement about how often to send. If you really need to send stuff more than once a week maybe you should start a blog instead and encourage fans to subscribe?
And rather than sending looooooooooong emails, why not send a short message with web links to more details? Those that are interested will click. Those that aren’t won’t get fed up ploughing through a ton of junk.
Talk To Each Person
No, I don’t mean add individual names to each email (although with mail merge options that’s certainly a possibility). I mean don’t say things like, “hello to all you music lovers out there”. Write to a single person. Talk about “you” rather than “you lot”. Write as if you were talking to them face-to-face.
I mentioned under industry contacts about getting a mutual friend to introduce you. But this applies to fans as well. Get your fans to tell your friends about you. Add “share this” links to stuff on your web site and on the stuff you send out so if they like it, people can share it on FB, Twitter or by email with their friends.
Ask fans to forward stuff to friends who they think might be interested, but be careful of doing it too much. If they end up spamming friends who aren’t interested every time you send stuff out, you’re back to square one.
Basically, it’s common sense. If you don’t like it when other people do it to you, don’t do it to other people. When you’re writing something, step back from it. Look at it impartially and think, if this wasn’t mine, what would I think when I received this? Then go back and rewrite.