Thanks to the “bomb cyclone” snowstorm I started this New Year unexpectedly gifted with an extra couple of days in New York City. Since I was unable to enjoy the city, I decided to do some digital house-keeping, deleting all emails and files that were obsolete, unwanted and irrelevant. As my inbox was downsized I realized that I needed not only to delete these emails but also to cut some of them off at the source: the source being the unsubscribe button. As I deleted subscriptions I rarely used and subscriptions that I forgot I even had, I felt cleansed in a self -congratulatory way.
I reflected on the noise that is created online, the noise I join in with, can get lost in, am amused by and even sometimes confused by. Spam has taken on new digital dimensions. Traditionally the word may bring back memories of Monty Python sketches or unappetizing school meals, yet I refer to it as the ongoing stream of marketing material that arrives in our inbox and is posted on social media.
I understand the need to keep in touch and welcome a well-appointed, thoughtful email or post sent occasionally to update and inform customers on what is relevant, useful or interesting. I understand the need to raise your profile and let people know you exist especially if you have a real service to offer and value to add.
What I have an issue with is the click funnel push-pull on-line marketers and their clever ways of getting us to click “yes” and relinquish our email and perhaps cash and the bombardment of never ending follow up emails.
Unsurprising these click funnel techniques are ones mainly used by a new breed of solopreneur/entrepreneur’s eagerness to get noticed in an over-crowded market place. In these ranks are digital wizards (“I can get you to the top of google”), get-rich-schemers (“follow these three steps and you too can be a millionaire”) and self-aggrandizing self-help gurus (“I have the secret elixir to health and happiness”). Really?
The marketing strategy seduces with a promise: to get something easily or to fix something that is painful. In exchange for an email and pressing the “buy now” button, you are subject to daily and sometimes several times a day content unless you spot the “opt out” option.
Spam mail creates the opposite effects of what is intended. It creates so much noise that you don’t want to listen to the message anymore, even if it originally was a good one. The bombardment method, a daily outpouring of marketing titbits, soundbites and noise is designed to keep them in your memory. It relies on the fact that we sometimes buy on impulse and are too busy or too distracted to get around to unsubscribing.
Spam communication shows no respect or discernment or anything that might build a genuine relationship. Just because someone signs on for a course or an e-book does not mean they want a life-time subscription of follow up emails.
Spam doesn’t stop at sending messages digitally. It is also extended to unsolicited calls. At one point, last year I was received over 15 calls a day on my mobile phone because I registered a new domain and unwittingly had not made my details private. I promptly reregistered in the private domain and for a price to keep my information private. This never used to be a problem but now because the domain is public, it is considered valid plunder for telemarketing calls. Interestingly none of the spam callers asked me:
If I wanted a website built
If I had someone already to do the job
How they could add value
Or if this was a good time for me to speak
Spam e-selling, spam email, spam calls obviously works as a scatter-gun approach, otherwise people would not use it. Perhaps the 1 to 5 percent of the target audience it reaches is worth the campaign. But what about the rest of the 90+ percent? Like midges swarming around you on a hot day in the beautiful Scottish countryside, it is mildly irritating at least and distracting at most. (Sorry midges).
My intention to simplify and streamline my digital dealings and recognize the distractors starts with the clearing out of the unnecessary and unwanted. I leave you with this questions that I needed to ask myself:
Is this subscription really adding any value to my life or my business?
If no, unsubscribe and press delete or better still avoid pressing the sign-up button. Less digital midges distracting your precious time.
Happy Spam-free 2018