Maybe a week after Black Friday, one of my good friends sent me a text. He said that his “Promotions” tab on GMail had gotten 39 e-mails in the past 24 hours, mostly from charities, marketers, retailers, etc. He’s unemployed right now (funemployed, I believe, is the politically-correct term), so he took the time to research the 39 e-mails. Turns out 34 of those companies hadn’t contacted him in the past six months. Now look, I’ve worked within e-mail marketing, and I know there are different ways people get slugged in MailChimp (“Mail Kimp?”) and other programs. It’s possible he wasn’t receiving e-mails because he was inactive, etc. But it’s also possible that these 34 companies were saying, “The relationship doesn’t matter. Everything is ultimately a sale. We’ll e-mail you at times we think you’re ready to buy/spend and not any other times.” We all inherently know this.
I just had it reinforced myself, by Jeff Goins.
Probably around mid-November or so, I signed up for Jeff Goins’ e-mail blasts, because he seemed like an interesting dude and a good writer and someone who could help me continue to grow this blog. Initially, I got a bunch of e-mails blasted into my Promotions tab, and some had value. Over about two weeks, I noticed he probably sent more e-mails than anyone, including Best Buy, Casual Male XL, and a bunch of others that I seem to hear from daily. Some of Goins’ stuff is interesting and relevant, but a lot of it can be very “Click Here!”-ish. You can read more about that concept here.
Yesterday was kind of a tipping point in my faux relationship with Jeff Goins. He sent out an e-mail while I was at work. I was mostly bored — Friday, near the holidays, many people out — and decided to engage with the e-mail more in an effort to get my blog even further ramped up.
Here’s part of the e-mail Goins sent to his followers:
Look down and notice he says “Then tell me how it went. Feel free to reply to this email,” etc.
I did. I’ve read a bunch of Jeff Goins’ stuff, and he seems very focused on transparency and building relationships as the cornerstones of writing and marketing. I feel the same way.
So I wrote back, and here was the response:
First off, it starts with a “Hey There.” Where’s my personalization?
Second off, it just goes right into all the different things I can do for him — schedule an interview, guest post (nope, can’t do that!), and a bunch of his blogs. It’s completely not transparent at all. There’s no relationship-building effort whatsoever.
It pissed me off.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand this all contextually. I’m some lowly blogger and Jeff Goins writes books and has 52K followers on Twitter. But it seems, on surface, that his brand is about helping people to be better writers, to push their content better, to grow and learn in this world. Let’s say even 100 people responded to that e-mail from yesterday. He couldn’t have done 5 responses a day for a few weeks on a plane or in an airport lounge or something?
I get it. You’re busy. Thing is, we’re all busy to some extent. It’s a lazy excuse if your brand is writing advice and living a more creative life. Interact with some of the people who want to do that.
This just underscored to me, yet again, that even during the holiday season, everything is ultimately a sale.