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Can you abuse your mailing list?

You have this great nifty mailing list, people subscribe and you give them this exclusive eBook or article, it’s done, you have fulfilled the free offering and your subscriber is feeling rather excited. Now what you do with that subscriber can make or break you.

Let us look at the How and Why.

Doing my own research, I signed up for 20 well-known Internet marketers’ sites giving me “free bonuses”. It started off rather well, I subscribed, got my free bonuses and that was that... or was it? Later that night I got five emails from the 20 or so lists I signed up for, all of them telling me about these “super new cool affiliate programs to double my money in less than 24 hours”. I spent the time going through each one reading their whole “dear friend” spiel, clicking on all their links, and reading their affiliate pages. At first, I thought it was cool, I felt like I had my finger on the pulse of marketing – getting the information before it was to hit mainstream. Although soon I was receiving more than one email a day from 18 of those lists, none of them ever was giving me real information. They just pushed some new (and sometimes old) affiliate programs down my throat. As the weeks progressed, it got worse, there were these “ramp up” sales pitches, you know which ones I’m talking about. Such and such is about to launch his “great new affiliate program”, it’s going to make millions, be one of the first to sign up, it doesn’t start till 6 hours from now. Two hours later and I receive another email from the same mailing list basically restating what it said the first time only with 4 hours to go. What the heck dude? You think I don’t remember the first email you sent two hours ago?

Now not all of them were this way, I had two lists that I am still on today. The reason I chose to stay on those two lists were that they did not make me feel like sheep. In the 5-month span, I got maybe 1 email a month or every 10 days from them. That is what I call reasonable; one even went on to give me real information about marketing without trying to sell me anything.

So the question, how can you abuse your mailing list? By taking advantage of the subscriber and the ability to email at will, use it sparingly and you will most definitely see better results.

Why do people abuse their mailing lists? Well I would love to say it is because they are new and ignorant, however I tested 20 well-known marketers and 98% of them abused their list. Therefore, the question begs to be answered, why. I believe there is this false idea on the web that if you shove something down a person’s throat enough, eventually they will accept it. The reason I believe this to be false is that, through the Internet, people are becoming more aware of such tactics and thus becoming immune to their abilities to incite a purchase. In the past if, you signed up for a mailing list and there was no way to unsubscribe, you were pretty much screwed. You could just delete the emails, but they still made it to your inbox for viewing. However, in contrast, it is now far easier to filter out those unwanted lists. For example, my program gives me this nifty blacklist button next to email addresses – with one click of a button I never see mail from that person again, which by the way is what I used to dispatch those other 18 mailing lists. Then again, the reason people abuse their lists could be something simple. If you are in dire need of money or sales because you are not getting enough money, you are more likely to spam your list. If your subscriber-to-purchase ratio drops, you may begin to panic and spam your list.

I would argue that those who feel the need to spam their lists are probably not doing as well as they lead people to believe. They are probably struggling to bring in the money to cover their expenses and this deep frustration lends its hand to unscrupulous tactics. They could have been very successful at one point and now things are starting to slow down, so they resort to any tactic they can try.

So the question, why do you abuse your mailing list? Out of necessity or out of ignorance, both of which your subscribers could care less about.

Now that I have shown you that it is possible to abuse your list, what should you do?

Protect your mailing list; it is your greatest asset as an Internet entrepreneur. To steal a quote from Spiderman, “With great lists come great responsibilities”. A person who subscribes to your list to receive a free bonus is more likely to continue on your list, if after those bonuses, you do not spam them with affiliate programs, every day. An email once a month or every 10 days is very acceptable. Use your list with discretion.

About the Author: Tony Devlin is a founding partner of IDM Firm, a company specializing in Web, Design and Internet Marketing. Co-Owner of Web Economy Central, an upcoming site that talks about the economy on the web and how you can capitalize on it.

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