The email inbox is as personal and sacrosanct a place to us as the doormat was to our parents. I have a vague memory of his chasing a junk mailer down the street to give him his flyers back – I’m not sure if this is true but it does sound like something he would have done.
For marketers there has been a distinct shift in attitudes to what we send to inboxes. Actually, let me rephrase that. For marketers who care what they are doing there has been a shift. There are still those who farm email addresses and spurt out mailings with too great a frequency, no segmentation and pebble-dash “subscribers” with bland and beige information that tries to engage with so many people at once it ends up interesting nobody.
Those who do care have spent the last 24 months working hard to identify exactly what their audience is looking for and how they can whizz the right piece of information under their virtual nose – the blog, offer, product or idea that will convert them from reader to buyer.
It is not an exact science. Many of those businesses that have been proactive have also expanded into social media, setting up Twitter, LinkedIn and more recently Pinterest accounts.
But what is mind-numbingly frustrating is that those who have worked hard to develop their e-communications and understand what audiences are looking for are forgetting all when it comes to Twitter. The bloody auto DM.
I’ve recently started a new Twitter account for a business client. We’ve gained 100 followers in just two days. But in the same period I’ve received over 25 auto DMs. I’m sorry but I’m not going to click on your links, I’m not going to visit your website and I’m not going to interact with you. You’re like the pushy, space-invading networker who is stuffing their business card into everyone’s hands. Your splattergun approach doesn’t make any of us feel special.
The same is said for LinkedIn. Increasingly the tendency for brands to use the network as a cheap alternative to an e-mailout system is novel but irritating. I haven’t yet received a mailout that is applicable to me (and I am a woman who wears many hats). Thanks, Mr N but I think even the briefest of looks at my bio would have told you that specialist consulting engineering services were not for me.
This is the nub of it. We audience members are starting to feel our fingers twitch with the sense of control and self-determination that has sprung up on the back of social media. We can contact brands and businesses directly and tell them exactly what we think. At the very heart of this is the idea that we can be seen as individuals. Yes, we might all respond as one sometimes, but we want to be seen as our own person, not linked in with other consumers.
If businesses and brands ignore this and continue to treat us all as though we have one interest, one voice, are going to each be equally thrilled by an automatic DM coming through to our email that links to another social network we may or may not use, then chances are we’re going to switch off. We have already clicked follow. We’re already interested, and kinda sold in to what you’re saying and selling. Don’t blow it by reminding us how little you think about what we might actually want.