Linked In Does Not Equal Opt In
Today’s tune – “Hearts Take Time” sung by blues/jazz vocalist and pianist Diane Schuur – refers to a romantic relationship gone wrong. This post is about the customer/client relationship online and how to begin and nurture it — starting with how not to.
Earlier this week, I received a Linked In invitation from an acquaintance who I know recently changed careers and is now in the financial services industry. I met her through someone I’m very close with and who has known her for many years.
Later the same day I received two emails in a row from her business email address. One informed me that she had added my email address to her marketing list and that I would be receiving information from time to time. The other was a sales message offering me products and services that I had never inquired about.
Both emails did have opt-out links. But that put me in the somewhat awkward position of letting this person know that I do not want to be contacted further about business.
She made the incorrect assumption that my accepting a Linked In invitation was an open invitation to be marketed to. My emotional response to that was very negative. I felt that it was a violation.
My reasons for connecting on Linked In are to widen my network, to refresh my memory about who I haven’t been in touch with for too long, to learn and to share information. Many other reasons, too. None of them is to make myself a target for an unsolicited sales pitch. By the way, this goes for all social media I engage with. In addition to a breach of social media etiquette, this person at best showed lack of knowledge and at worst bad judgment, which does not inspire confidence.
If she had taken a different approach, there’s a possibility that we might have done business together. She could have sent me a personal email asking whether I have any current needs in her area of expertise and/or pointing me in the direction of some info about her business offerings to build credibility in the event I knew of someone else who could benefit.
If I did indicate some level of interest, she could then use the opportunity to ask me to opt in to her list with the clear understanding that I could feel free to opt out at any time – that an opt-out would not have any impact on our personal relationship.
Even though it’s well-known that permission-based marketing works best, business people regularly ignore this best practice. If you do so, recognize that you may very well permanently kill an opportunity to develop a meaningful business relationship – including ongoing referrals – over the longer term. Hearts take time!!