Posts Tagged ‘permission based marketing’

Why Are You Email Marketing to Me?

When did email marketing transition from permission based to everyone and his or her brother or sister?  How many times must we unsubscribe from people who have bought email lists to adding our email addresses to their email marketing database without our permission?

Recently a “communications coach” and “life coach” sent me an email.  I never signed up for her newsletter. I never asked for my email address to be added to her database. Yet she is emailing me.

After the second email in 24 hours, I suggested she should gleam her list given I am an executive coach with 20 years of experience as an executive coach. Her response included she had coaches as clients.

My thought was “Well good for you so have I and your point is?”

Then she told me I could opt out.  Funny I never opted in, but now I must opt out.

Individuals such as this one and many more should research permission based marketing.  I know through my list builder, AWeber, I am strongly encouraged to do “double opt in” if I add someone to my list instead of that person signing up by herself or himself.  Even then they must confirm in another email they signed up to the email marketing list.

Of course with the influx of social selling (I find that term beyond ridiculous as 99% of all selling is social), these individuals believe they have the “right” to clog up email boxes with their “free gifts or offers.”  They have never engaged in permission based marketing and this only reveals their lack of professionalism and integrity.

It is one thing if a person opts out of your email marketing database when that person originally signed up to receive your information.  However for your as a SMB owner or salesperson to routinely add names to your email database without permission is 100% wrong!

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What Happened to Permission Based Marketing?

Each day in my email inbox, I receive many unsolicited emails from SMBs and organizations that do not interest me. These entities obviously ignore permission based marketing and rely on buying lists from other unethical firms.

When I first started developing my email lists over 10 years ago, I signed up with AWeber.  At that time AWeber recommended the double opt in option so that people would know they had signed up for being on one of my email lists. This option avoided people identifying you as a spammer and reporting your questionable marketing activities.

Even SMB owners and salespeople also appear to engage in adding names without permission. Have you ever attended a B2B networking event and exchanged business cards with another individual?  Then within a few days, did you suddenly receive via email a newsletter or a sales pitch?  I know I have and personally resented such an action.

For me by sending validated permission to add someone to an email list reflects my business ethics, my positive core values.  I am respecting them by respecting their time.

They do not have to unsubscribe from a list they never subscribed. If by chance someone else used another’s email address, the double opt in option ensures that only the physical holder of the email address is actually signing up.

Failure to use permission based marketing suggests these firms are engaged in spraying and praying.  Spray enough emails over cyberspace and pray someone will buy what you are selling.  For me that is not a viable business strategy or marketing strategy.

Now some firms will ask why you unsubscribed?  I wonder what these firms do with the response “I never subscribed to this list?” My sense it is a feel good action for the person unsubscribing and possibly may meet some marketing association or government policies.

Possibly with the expansion of social media, permission based marketing is viewed as archaic.  For me, I will still employ the double opt in and maintain my business ethics because ethics are never archaic.

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Your Social Marketing Reflects Your Leadership

Have you ever considered how your social marketing may be a reflection of your leadership?  For example,  do you add people to your email list without asking permission? By taking this action what does it truly say about your leadership as well as your  business ethics?

Each day I must unsubscribe or mark as spam dozens of emails.  Many of these come from so called “experts” on sales, marketing, leadership and even business ethics. I guess they believe it is okay to add my name to their email lists.

Permission based marketing still exists and should be the best practice for professionals engaged in social selling or social marketing.  However given the increase in social selling, it appears permission based marketing has taken a bad seat to sales pitches.

When professionals regardless of their role ignore common courtesy and respect, this is a reflection of their leadership skills. Their actions only reaffirm my belief not to purchase from them or make any recommendations.

Additionally when SMB owners and sales professionals fail to identify identify their target audience, they may unintentionally send emails to recipients who would never, ever buy from them. I belong to several communities where we share similar solutions. Members on one community never ever add me to their email lists without permission and yet members in another community do so all the time.

When I email those members who add me without permission, I usually receive a contrite reply of “sorry for the inconvenience.”  No, they really aren’t all that sorry.

Leadership is the ability to secure the desired results using clearly articulated positive core values. This means no social marketing or social selling spamming and no sales pitches.

Yes any SMB owner or sales professional wants to increase sales and therefore hopefully profits. However, it is imperative that all behaviors reflect consistent and outstanding leadership otherwise the goal to increase sales will be much harder to achieve.

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Email Marketing Works Provided You…

Once again another email entered my In Box from someone I did not know who had subscribed me to her email marketing list without permission. Worse yet this was someone who claimed to be a social media marketing expert.

email-marketingHow often does this message require repeating?

Email marketing works with permission based marketing!

Great salespeople know to ask permission before asking a question. This behavior is ingrained in them.

Great marketers also know to ask permission through a double opt in list.

Bad to poor small business owners who are both salespeople and marketers just add names of suspects, prospects, anyone and his or her brother to their lists without ever asking permission. These folks believe a business card or a name from a bought list gives them permission to invade the email In Boxes of unsuspecting suspects to prospects.

Another equally deplorable email marketing behavior has been spawned through LinkedIn. What I am now observing is these many professionals (I used that term loosely) using LinkedIn contacts to spew their sales pitches.

The next several years will further unite marketing with selling because 97.7% of all businesses here in the US are under 20 employees. These small businesses cannot afford a separate marketing department.  With over 75% of all US businesses being sole proprietors, this ignoring of permission based email marketing will probably only get worse instead of better.

Now some will probably disagree with me that a double opt in email marketing process is not necessary.  Yet if you as a sales professional have high business ethics and find yourself sorting through a lot of unrequested emails then why would you engage in any email marketing that is not permission based?

If people buy from people they know and trust (First Sales Buying Rule), then the last action you as a salesperson want to take is to violate that trust. Not having permission based marketing ingrained within all marketing efforts is a violation of that trust. Note:  Paid advertising is different that permission based marketing.

Yes email marketing works provided you engage in permission based marketing.  Failure to do so may have some intended customers quite upset and beyond reporting you to the SPAM officials may be sharing privately with your other prospects about your lack of marketing knowledge to business ethics.

If you are seeking some calm to your social media craziness, the consider this one page social media action plan.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach who takes an heuristic approach to personal and professional growth. Her task is to support you in bridging the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Is Your Email Marketing Creating Distrust?

In life and in sales, people buy from people they know and trust.  All a business professional has to do is to commit some untrustworthy action as perceived by the buyer and years of trust go down the drain.

email-marketing-trustSo why do so many email marketing experts fail to teach this one trust building action in their hyped up, get thousands of sales leads email marketing programs?

One would think this small and almost innocuous action would be as they say a “no brainer.”

Possibly if they taught it, they could not tout all their expertise?

Sp what is this one trust building email marketing action that creates trust and not create distrust?


By including an unsubscribe link, you are providing the recipient the option of  “opting out” of your email marketing. Additionally, you are giving the impression you are engaged in permission based marketing. By having not only the unsubscribe link, but a double opt in feature, you have virtually eliminated those less than ethical business professionals who are using the email addresses of others.

With so many sites requiring an email address, there are some unethical business professionals who use the email addresses of others so they are not included in future email marketing messages.  All of a sudden the ethical small business professional is bombarded with emails from sites he or she never visited.

Unfortunately, there are many unethical professionals who may include the unsubscribe link to make their email marketing look above board. However when you hit the unsubscribe link you are either taken to their main website or some page where you are asked to enter your email address. This is another scam to confirm your email address is real thus allowing you to be bombarded even with more email marketing messages.

Email marketing is still considered the number one social media channel. Given its popularity, then all actions should be focused on building trust.  By using an ethical list builder such as AWeber you can build trust and Be the Red Jacket among all those other untrustworthy gray suits.


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Can You Answer the One Question Being Thought By Small Businesses?

Each day small businesses are thinking this question both consciously and more often than not subconsciously:

small businesses

Do I know you?

This question surfaces with every ring of the unfamiliar phone number on the ID screen to each unsolicited email to every piece of snail mail.

Lately for my own small business sales research I have been responding to these unsolicited marketing and sales messages with  this question:

Do I know you?

The answers are unbelievable from the mundane “You signed up for this” to almost righteous indignation for me to even dare to ask this question.

In many instances, this question revealed the following about the small businesses:

  • Cluelessness about me
  • Cluelessness about how the contact information was received
  • Cluelessness about my executive coaching and talent management consulting small business
  • Cluelessness about permission based marketing and double opt in feature for email marketing

The “Do I know you?” question is a great way to place an obstacle in front of the unsuspecting salesperson.

Also this question acts as a filter to discover those unethical companies that will not admit to spamming or buying lists.

If sales is the “transference of feelings” (Zig Siglar), then those who reach out should be looking to establish the most positive feelings from the very first contact. Given the marketing bombardment by small businesses seeking other small businesses to larger businesses in their efforts to increase sales, if the first contact is creating negative feelings including this question of “Do I know you?” then maybe it may make sense to rethink your overall marketing and sales strategies.

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Marketing Madness Virus of Presumptions

Do you ever receive those emails that make you shake your head and wonder about the marketing madness behind the message? Why in the world (you think to yourself) would you ever finish reading these messages less alone reach out for more information or worse yet buy the “stuff?”

marketing-madnessWhat I have come to realize is behind all this marketing madness from emails to social media postings to even paid advertising is this one word – presumptions. For clarification, a presumption is based on some probability while an assumption is supposed to be without any proof.

Probably, bought or sign up lists are one of the main resources for those engaged in this spreading this marketing madness virus.  These individuals presume because you downloaded a paper or some other information you are their target market or worse yet “ideal customer.”

Beyond the lists many of those infected with this marketing madness also suffer from a severe case of “ego me.”  Of course “you want what I am selling because I am me and for that reason alone you should at least listen to me.”  If you politely respond and request to be removed since they did not include an “opt out” option, you may receive an irate message about “how dare you” challenge their business ethics or credibility. After all,  they are the experts!

What is beyond understanding is many of those behind these messages are alleged experts who are being paid to infect, oops, I mean teach others about presumption marketing. The concept of permission based marketing would be an antidote to their virus.  This is why these individuals never have “opt out” as a recourse and if they do, the “opt out link” is another scam.

For those with high business ethics and a written strategic thinking plan that covers business growth through separate marketing to sales to customer loyalty actions plans, these small business leaders market to their for real target audience and provide the opportunity for that target audience to disengage if they have made a mistake with their presumptions. They do not engage in unrealistic presumptions meaning anybody on the Internet or anybody in the room is their target audience (sales leads).

Yes there is a lot of marketing madness out there through the various messaging channels. Most of it provides lessons learned on how not to attract attention and build relationships.

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What Does ‘I Know You’ Mean in Small Business?

Each day busy small business executives and sales professionals receive an influx of marketing messages pitching products or services from people they truly do not know.

small-businessFor me, when this happens I have adopted this new strategy of:

“Thanks for the outreach. Do I know you?”

Of course, I do check to make sure we are not connected via LinkedIn.

The responses I receive back are interesting with many taking some umbrage or what I call “tight shorts” with my communication.

For example earlier this week, I received an email with the following subject line:

Appropriate person?

Then the email went on as follows:

Good Morning Leanne…

I’m writing in hopes of finding the appropriate person who handles the sales in your company.

I returned this query with my now standard reply of “Thanks for the outreach. Do I know you?”

The response back was “Hmm, interesting reply and I know you thru (a sales website).”


You know me through a website?

We have never communicated and you send me an email seeking the appropriate person.

Had we actually communicated you would have know that I was that person.

There is a big difference between “knowing” someone and “knowing of” someone.

Given this person as many others had a burning desire to pitch to me instead of getting to know me and build a relationship, his initial marketing message began to establish distrust. Also the format of the marketing message suggested I had been massed emailed and hence this individual probably did not engage in permission based marketing.

The several emails that followed only reaffirmed his desire to sell to me and that only further deepened that distrust. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Always provide the ability for individuals to opt out of your email marketing messages.

People, especially those in small business, buy from people they know and trust.

To  really know someone beyond what is available through the Internet or social media sites (meaning I know of you) requires actual outreach in the form of “I saw your name on this website and what you do sounds interesting. Do you have time for a short conversation?”

This short conversation should not include making any sales pitches, but wanting to truly get to know the other person. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Relationship marketing when done well leads to relationship selling and it always requires more time.

Amazing results happen for those in small business who are engaged in authentic relationship building instead of the all too frequent marketing messages that establish the roots of distrust.

P.S. If you truly want to increase sales, then scheduled a no risk 20 minute Business Growth Accelerator Session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601 CST where you will receive:

#1 – Quick assessment of your current sales process

#2 – One business growth strategy to increase results by 20% in 60 days

Consider giving her a call especially if what you have tried has not worked and you are ready to challenge and then change the current status quo.

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No Wonder Marketing Gets a Bad Rap

I am still shaking my head in complete and utter disbelief! Over the years I have received a lot of email marketing much of it mediocre to bad, but this one takes the cake for being the worst given the person who sent it considers himself to be a “measurable-marketing” specialist.

marketingHow would you respond to the following email?

Subject:  Appropriate Person Please

I’m writing in hopes of finding
the appropriate person who handles
the sales in your company.

If it makes sense to talk, let me
know how your calendar looks?

This so called marketing specialist is after questionable sales quantity using questionable sales leads and definitely not quality.

Worse yet by not including my first name he has demonstrated he has not down any research outside of paying for a list of names.

He has no desire to build a relationship.

All he wants to do is to sell.

Marketing is not selling, Mr. Measurable Marketing Guy!

I did some quick LinkedIn research and found his name in my first effort.

These four (4) questions came quickly to mind.

What type of quality marketing is this?

Where is the establishment of any type of relationship?

Has this measurable marketing guru ever head of permission based marketing?

How many other uneducated small business owners and sales professionals has this person tainted with this type of marketing?

Given this email and some other content within the email, I can definitely state he is spraying and praying his marketing efforts in large enough quantities that something sticks (increase sales leads, increase sales, etc.) and he counts that as measurable.

This type of impersonal numbers driven marketing does not work in relationship selling; does not create long-term sustainable results and does create immediate distrust. If you are seeking a one time transactional sale, then this might work for hungry more likely desperate salespeople who are looking for the quick fix. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  There is no quick fix to increase sales.

However if you want to build sustainable relationships, have repeat customers or quality referrals, then please do not ever engage in an email marketing campaign where you have failed to secure permission and use the person’s first name.

P.S. Remember, people buy from people they know and trust, this marketing maven has revealed to me why I do not want to know him and why I could never, ever trust him.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who disrupts the status quo by discovering new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses; those who wish to grow beyond their current employees and executives in career chaos.  She is recognized as one of the Top 25 Sales Influencers in 2013 by Open View Sales Labs and can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.


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Is Your Marketing Demonstrating Emotional Intelligence?

Yesterday I received an unsolicited email from a so called marketing expert.  The name was not familiar to me so I confirmed we were not connected on LinkedIn or through some other social media platforms such as Twitter. Additionally I learned this expert only had a few articles over at Ezine Articles.


What I found fascinating was his unsubscribe message which was at the very bottom of his message. I  had to scroll down otherwise I would have missed it.

“NO, I don’t need help selling and never contact me again”

The words “need” and “never” demonstrated a lack of emotional intelligence.

Additionally, in this unsubscribe sentence he included these words:

“this exclusive list of successful business owners and sales pros,”
Exclusive list, really?

“When did I give you permission to add my name to your exclusive list?”

Again by adding my name to his list without permission also demonstrated a lack of emotional intelligence.
Permission based marketing is all about emotional intelligence in that you as the sender recognize the emotions of the receiver by allowing him or her to make a decision as to whether he or she wants to be added to your list.
The words you write in your marketing copy from emails to newsletters to even blogs all reflect your emotional intelligence.  When a LinkedIn profile begins with the word “I’m” or “I,” this is a red flag or early indicator of a strong ego.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Good egos are required respective to sales, business and emotional intelligence.  Strong egos not so much because your emotions become the focus and you may ignore the emotions of others.
By being aware of emotional intelligence in your marketing efforts keeps you from being like all those other gray suits (so called marketing experts) and you may indeed Be the Red jacket.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who disrupts the status quo by discovering new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses; those who wish to grow beyond their current employees and executives in chaos.  She can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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