STOP Force Feeding Email Newsletters – Make Them Appetizing

Force Feed or Appetizing Email NewslettersWhy do people send email newsletters without asking first if we even want them? Obviously the sender expects we will take notice. Yes, I take notice. But I neither expected the newsletter, nor did I ask for it. It’s a distraction. Typically, those sending the newsletter are just “acquaintances” who have “presumed” on a relationship and “assume” it is OK to send unsolicited commercial email. It is SPAM. As such, I filter out the sender by adding their email address to my email blacklist. But if these “acquaintances” would take time to become “associates” and “friends”, with an appetizing email newsletter introduction, I just might read them and do more.

There are email newsletters I regularly receive. These I’ve subscribed to. Thus I expect to receive them and want to read them. The email newsletters I am referring to in this post usually come from two sources. Either we met at an event and we exchanged business cards, or the sender and I are in the same circle of professionals where an accessible member email list is available. I solved the former situation by removing my email address from my business card. Then, when the person who is eager to add me to their email blast asks for my email, I simply inquire and discover their motive. Email distribution lists for professional organizations can be valuable. However, they should never be used to send unsolicited email.

OK… But I get it. Email interruption marketing can work. People use email newsletters to build awareness with the objective of converting toward a business transaction. Send out enough email newsletters and over time some will engage. Still, it’s SPAM and puts a “bad taste “ in my mouth. The senders should learn from the “good taste” food demonstrators found at various stores.

While doing my food shopping I also get the bonus of sampling food delights at special demo stations to decide if I want to make a purchase. Imagine walking by the demo station only for Force Feed Email Newsletterthe person to stop you, open your mouth, and force you to taste their prepared morsel. Yikes! This describes how I feel when someone sends me an email newsletter without asking. Of course, the trained demonstrator would refrain from doing what I described. When I come near, the demonstrator, often busy preparing the food, skillfully captures my attention by stating benefits like, “very, very good”, “on sale today”, “wonderful for breakfast”, “mix with your favorite …”, “gluten free”, “contains 24 essential vitamins”, “recommended daily by…”, “reported to relieve stress”… etc. If I’m interested and see a benefit, I take notice – which may create the desire to “try it”. There is a skill in food demonstration. We should learn from their example when we prepare others to accept and actually read our newsletters. The following document, provided by the California Department of Public Health’s Network for a Healthy California, describes the approach:

While your demonstrations will vary … , one thing that should remain the same is your ability to engage, educate, and empower consumers by letting them see, taste, and smell how wonderful fruits and vegetables can be.”

Great direction. How about applying this advice when requesting I receive your newsletter?

So, want your new contacts at events and professional organizations to accept your email newsletters? First, rather than simply becoming an “acquaintance” so you can add them to your email blast, create a relationship and become “friends” or “associates”. Get permission. Build trust. Your conversation needs to “engage” them with “how wonderful” your newsletter is – personally. Appetizing Email NewsletterCreate a language so they can “taste, see and smell” the success that will result by becoming a regular reader who applies your message to business and life. When asking others to accept your email, make your presentation so appetizing that it compels them to go beyond just reading what you’ve written and instead to look forward to receiving future issues, to archive them, follow up with comments on your blog, and share your important message with others in their network. It’s rather easy and fun to make things appetizing. “Try it! You’ll like it”.

Read the great article on the G-Lock EasyMail7 blog
5-Point Checklist Before Sending Cold Email

Principle 2 – Construct Community Relationships by Design
Principle 5 – Nurture Social Relationships

LinkedIn LION or LION but Please Avoid Lyin’

Be a LinkedIn Organic Networker (L.I.O.N)

The term LinkedIn “LION” is an acronym for a Linked In OPEN Networker.  The LION is someone who is open to connection requests and expanding their social network with others they have never met before or have had no relationship with.  This is an interesting position and is contrary to statements from LinkedIn itself.  LinkedIn states… “L.I.O.N. is a designation used by several user-created groups and individual LinkedIn members to indicate a high level of interconnectivity to other LinkedIn members. This term is not endorsed by LinkedIn. As a reminder, only connect to people you know and trust and only join groups you want your name associated with. If you need additional information regarding any group’s purpose and/or philosophy, contact the identified group owner in the Groups Directory.

However, some see value in Open Networking: “LIONs are basically open to networking with people that they have never met before, and they are important in the fact that they bridge networks of closed people,” says Neal Schaffer.

I promote that a real “LION” is someone who is a Linked In ORGANIC Networker.  This LION builds their online social network by design, naturally, organically growing it through a purposeful relationship fertilization process. The Organic LION—rather than being haphazard in the exchange of random connections—is deliberate and purposeful, desiring to establish connections where there can be a mutual exchange of value.

Though I am not a LION as an OPEN networker, I do accept invitations from others where they make sense.  When people ask to connect, I review their profile to see what potential business relationship there might be. If there could be value, I accept the connection request. Since the other person initiated the request, I immediately follow up with a personal message asking them why they requested the connection and how they perceive us mutually benefitting from our new online relationship.  Some fail to respond to my question. Others reveal their “Sales” motive as either desiring to access my trusted LinkedIn network or to “Sell” me on their “fantastic once in a lifetime” opportunity.  Am pleased to say, many understand what I am asking, respond back appropriately and we begin a meaningful online dialog and conversation – welcome Bert Shlensky

So whether you are a LinkedIn Open or Organic Networker (L.I.O.N.), please be transparent, open, and honest. Know why you are making the connection and personalize your connection invitation with a well thought out persuasive message. Be a LION or a LION.  And please, no Lyin’ behind some connection request pretense which has little relationship value, dilutes the strength of your network and simply wastes time.

Pursue Your Passion. But Succeed with the Passion for Business.

Passion for Keith Academy and City Jail

Keith Academy was the Catholic College Prep High School I attended. The building was a former City Jail. Down in the basement of this granite building were cells, and we would sometimes sneak downstairs to see them. Kinda creepy. On the right side of the building were the classes I attended for studying French and calculus and served as my Senior Class President. Room 6 on the bottom floor was where the restrooms were. The school closed in 1971, the second year after my graduation. Forty five years later I still have very fond memories.

The Need for Passion
Want to develop a business around a great idea or skill you’re passionate about? How exciting! Especially when you envision the idea as marketable, profitable, and able to provide you the success in life you desire. But passion for that idea or skill, as the sole driving force, can end up in disaster. You could be “thrown out” of the business game. So what kind of passion is most needed? A passion to run our enterprise on proven business systems.

Yes! Passion is VERY valuable. Passion, that compelling emotion, can be transformed into the energy you need to make that idea work through all phases of the business. You need drive, energy, and tenacity to move that idea through research, the concept stage, on to planning, into development, to market, then sales and support. Your passion will be needed to drive you through the problems, obstacles, impediments, road-blocks and the various business curve balls you will encounter. There is a LOT of WORK needed to launch a successful business.

Caught Off Base – “You’re Out!”
During my teenage years in the 1960s, I attended the college preparatory private school Keith Academy in Lowell Mass (see photo). There were just over 100 students in my senior class. While preparing to pursue enrollment into the university of our dreams, I had two really wrong, “off base” and misconceived ideas. First, since this was a university preparatory school, missing from the curriculum were the trades and the arts. There was another school in the city, Lowell Trade, where one could acquire these trade skills. Young ones who failed to pass the entrance examination of our private school could go to the local trade school or public high school. Somehow, I felt that being privileged with the opportunity of higher education meant I would by nature succeed. The second area I seriously misjudged was that students in our school who chose the sciences, technology, engineering, or the space age majors were the bright individuals, and that those who were going to move on to the business colleges lacked the “brains” we scientists, astronauts, doctors, and engineers had. WOW. Both of these thoughts were “way off base and leaning the wrong way” – and in baseball, when you are “way off base and leaning the wrong way,” you can easily be thrown out and sent “back to the dugout”. How immature in my thinking – totally ill-conceived, and really quite foolish actually. The truth I learned through that experience is – when they have passion for business, the business minds have the “brains”.

Passion for Business Systems
During my professional life as a computer technologist, application developer, and now a process engineer, I developed a number of businesses around concepts I had great passion for. Each of these needed specific skills. But far along the way I came to a realization: To be successful in the business, one needs more than a passion for the idea or skill. There needs to be a greater passion for running the business. This passion for business success can create the energy needed to run the business flawlessly around success systems.

With these business success systems in place, one could choose any area of business and succeed. We have all met very successful business people who have operated companies in various industries around products and services one needs little passion for. And there are many very smart (wo)men who have acquired a business with a product or service they knew little about. But because they had the passion to prevail at the business, they could hire the right skilled people, make the tough decisions for the business to work, succeed, and even “turn it around”. For us too, it is more important that we run our business with a passion to succeed AT the business, IN the business, and ON the business. Loving WHAT we do and WHY we do it can be the “gravy”, the “frosting”.

Ford, Barb and Juliet Kyes were a huge help toward me understanding these facts when I hired ActionCoach Tampa Bay.  ActionCoach guided me through the exit strategy of a past business to resurface again with a great respect for serious business systems and planning.

Thought Leadership – The Championship Game
It’s a wonderful idea to pursue our passions, the things we simply love to do. This focus and drive can help us acquire the expertise needed to refine our idea, our skill, develop it, and bring it to market. There is a strong message here for the passionate Thought Leader too.  And, if we want to make a business out of being Subject Matter Experts, it is far more important to operate with a passion for proven business practices than it is to excel in what we do.  Otherwise, we may just find ourselves sitting in the dugout, failing to be part of the championship business baseball game we so passionately wanted to play in.

Study Social Marketing Principle 1 and Principle 7

What is Your Why? Avoid Business “Brain Damage”

Know Your Why 275In an excerpt from a famous comedian’s video, he relates how all children have brain damage. In his monologue skit, a father asks his child, “Why did you do it?” The child answers, “I don’t knooooow”. He exclaims, “brain damage!” Hey, it’s hard to sense the humor just reading this. So go watch the video clip, get a laugh, and let’s apply it to business.

At some time in our lives – most likely during our childhood, too – someone asked us, “Why did YOU do it?” and we said, “I don’t knooooow”. Our comedian, in the past, had a way of making us laugh. But perhaps we laugh because it’s so real and we’ve all said it. That’s all well and fun while growing up as a child, but “brain damage” in business is hazardous to our wealth. We avoid the business “brain damage” in whatever business task we undertake by knowing our “Why”.

At the foundation of our business “Why” is our Vision, Mission, Values, Goals, Products, Services, Point of Difference, and other necessary success aspects. When these are clearly defined, written down, and then diligently followed, they produce for us a culture and a purpose for our doing business. The guide our campaign tactics and strategies.  Whatever the business task we undertake, it needs to be directly related to our core business aspects. Couple this with the need to measure the results we have a well rounded understanding our “Why”. Then when someone asked us, “Why did you do it?” our answer can be a solid “Because I …”

Yes our purposeful “Why” necessitates goals setting, careful planning, execution and measurement.  “Why” leads us to positive results. Yes, our comedian is funny and he makes us laugh. When we work from a well-designed purpose and a plan, avoiding business “brain damage”, we can further “laugh all the way to the bank”.

Thank you and recognition to Mark Bryan, owner of Focused Results in Clearwater Florida for coaching me over the last twelve years in developing my personal Business “Why”.

Study Social Marketing Principle 1 and Principle 7