187: the number of spammy retail e-blasts one of my friends had received by midday yesterday afternoon. Though I didn’t clock the number I received, shoveling out my inbox felt a little bit like an uninvited salesman had been standing at my door ringing the bell over and over and over…all. day. long. The worst part? Several of yesterday’s e-blasts were coming from brands I have unsubscribed from on multiple occasions.
But nothing came close to the story one of my friends shared on Facebook:
“After losing [my dog], I tried twice to remove myself from the [big name pet store] email list. I received confirmation both times, and there was a drop down menu where I chose the option indicating that I wasn’t interested in the emails as I no longer had any pets. I still received numerous emails from them, so I wrote them asking to please make sure I stopped getting the emails as it was upsetting. The response I got was, “We’re sorry for your loss. Please send us your full name, email address, mailing address, phone number, and attach a copy of the emails you’ve received after un-enrolling in our emails.” Really?! My dog just died, just get me off your list!”
Content is being lauded as the holy grail of the marketing world right now. There seems to be little agreement, but a lot of conversation about what you should talk about, how you should deliver it, and how frequently you should send it out. Everyone is whipping up blog posts, white papers, ebooks…and yes, even the dreaded e-blast. It’s a state of churn, churn, churn as brands try to keep up, compete and get their message in front of the right eyeballs.
Today, I’m here to offer a small piece of advice: Stop worrying about all that. Instead, focus on just making it good.
Sure, I realize “good” is a subjective term, but maybe not as much as we’d like to think. The reality is that people probably don’t care about your brand nearly as much as you do. Yelling at them in a louder voice (or standing at their door dinging the bell all day long) is not going to change that or get your message across. It will, however, eventually create a Pavlovian aversion response that damages the relationships you’ve worked so hard to build.
When your content isn’t adding value to my life, it’s adding noise to my life. And this, to borrow a phrase from Martha Stewart, is a very bad thing.
There are a few inalienable truths about socializing. Nobody likes the guy who comes to the party and dominates the conversation. Nobody wants to hang out with the girl who only likes talking about herself. Your wants/needs/problems are far more interesting to you than they are to anybody else. Why? Because in each of these instances, it’s all about you.
Creating good content isn’t about you — it’s about us — consumers. If you want to rule the content game, you need to create content that is valuable. In order to do that, you have to understand what your customers want (and just as importantly, don’t want.) You’ll find this out by turning down your “broadcast” dial, asking questions and listening.
For those of you who refuse to take your finger off the e-blast trigger, this goes out to you.
In the meantime, I’ll be the girl clicking unsubscribe every step – and email – along the way…in search of that gloriously silent n?i?g?h?t? inbox.