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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Putting the Permision back into "permission marketing"

Today, our email list is enduring the most dramatic pruning of names since it started about two years ago. Then, we had a few hundred names; yesterday at 5 pm. there were about 11,500. This morning, the list is down to 8,500 and dropping.

In addition to the 126 "Opt outs" recorded so far by Constant Contact, I've received several dozen emails responding "no" to my question: "You are on our email list for construction news, ideas, and information. Do you want to continue receiving these emails?" Fortunately even more said "Yes", and some said it enthusiastically.

I also cleaned up bounces, blocked emails and invalid addresses (about 1,300), and removed names from lists where the person on it hadn't requested our communications, but had simply belonged to a group or organization where we had a legitimate but temporary marketing objective.

By the end of the day, I expect the list will be pared even further.

Short term, this is good because it saves us some money on list management fees. These aren't back-breakers --Constant Contact is truly an inexpensive service -- but $75.00 a month is still wasted if it doesn't provide business value.

Longer term, however, the list paring is as sensible as any house cleaning (perhaps even more) in appreciating that you should only send email when people want to receive it from you, or when you are sending indivdiual, personalized and highly relevant communications.

Sure, spam "works" if you are selling stuff that many individuals desire or where there is a huge margin for a universal market with only a small number of "yeses" despite many thousands of rejections and much irritation to the majority occur. But is this the story within the architectural, engineering and construction industries? Are you really going to succeed by bombarding people who don't to receive your message?

In a few weeks, we will embark on a new electronic publishing project where the relevancy and value of what we are promoting will depend directly on the willingness and interest of readers in the topic. So the list will grow again. But now, and then, you will only receive email from me if you want it, not because I think I have some right to push it on you.

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