Heck!!! I am tired and exhausted!
No, I havent returned from my gym, it is not that taxing. I am talking about clearing the thousand odd mails which were lying in my Inbox, unread. Only thousand???? Yes! Because I keep deleting the rest as they come.
Though it took me a lot of patience, to delete them..first select them and then delete selected mails on a page. Gmail can be annoying at times. Why dont they have a feature where I can delete all the selected emails from my Inbox (or am I unaware of it). But the whole process gave me a valuable insight about the marketing strategies employed by websites to increase their user base.
You cannot increase your user base by sending auto generated invitations. Even if you succeed, it wont last. You need to have an exceptional product to win!!!
Initially websites used to send out emails, randomly by gathering email ids from various forums, social networks etc. The strategy failed terribly. Email providers like Gmail, learnt soon that these emails are nuisance to their users, so they developed a self learning algorithm which could identify the mails frequently marked as spam by their users and the ones which were deleted unread. Automatically, the next time such a mail came, it was stored as a spam.
Spams werent personalized back then and had the name of the website sending it in the heading and the content in the subject.
Over the last few years, these campaigns have changed too. Now there is your friends name in the senders slot. When your friend’s name is there as a sender then it is likely that you would atleast pay some heed to it. The procedure is simple – when you sign in, you will be asked your email id and password so that you can see people who are already there, and invite others who arent there.
Here comes the problem, with so many invitations coming in from people in your network, instead of prompting a sing up, it provokes irritation, which was the reason my Inbox was full with such crap requests.
This strategy did work for some, like Facebook and linkedin.com but dont forget the product was exceptional and people needed it, thus they succeeded. But there are other websites which are offering mediocre services, or simply put are Me Too.
I once landed on Birthdayalarm.com, after receiving ‘n’ number of requests. And the results werent too shocking. I was sceptical and when I saw the homepage I was proven correct. Setting up birthday alarms and sending e-cards,is what they do!!!
I have most of my friends on facebook and orkut, and the birthdays are clearly falshed on my homepage there. It took me hardly 10 seconds to reject their service. I am pretty much sure that I wont be visiting their website again, not in the near future at least.
Just because some of my friends have signed up for their service doesnt mean that I need to sign up too. Infact it made me more sceptical. And on the top of it the service didnt entice me much.
Just because you got my email id from some where doesnt mean that you have the right to market to me. Seek permission from your customers and create a product that makes your customers talk about it. A personalized email by a frieand is better than the one sent by a website and that too in the name of my friends.
There is an exceptional post, on the same topic by the marketing Guru Seth Godin, he calls the stuff Permission Marketing and he truly understands it.
Till the time other marketers and entrepreneurs understand it, I and numerous others like me will keep wasting time, cleaning their Inboxes.