Category Archives: Community Engagement

A business, whether for profit or non-profit, needs to engage with their community. A Community Relationship Conversion System is a means to tracking where one is in their relationship with people. From first contact to becoming a customer/member.

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.