I am in the position to evaluate a lot of web services and software for my own use and for my clients. I also receive approximately 2500 SPAM messages a day. I filter, but it's annoying and sometimes my SPAM filter grabs email that I want to read.
So I am really annoyed every time I go to download a free trial, or look at a demo and I have to give all my identifying information and email. Sometimes these companies like to really annoy me and make me fill out a demographic survey.
I know - I'm a marketer and I understand gathering contact info is important. It's even more important that, if I give you my info, you give me something valuable in return. Since I haven't identified how valuable your product or service is yet I am probably going to:
- Forget it and look at different products.
- Give you false information.
Recently I filled out an on-line account application so that I could run a search on a mailing list database and get a quote for a client. I had to do this to see how many records there were with my criteria, and how much it would cost to purchase the list.
Within 5 minutes my phone was ringing with a salesperson from the mailing list broker. Then again the next day, and the next. Different sales people called me from that company every day for over a week. ANNOYING! They have convinced me that I don't want to do business with them.
Here are a few rules for gathering customer contact data on-line:
- Make sure there is some reason for gathering the data other than you want your poorly trained telemarketers to call.
- Give customers something in return for providing the data. It could be a free report, or a discount coupon or something of value.
- Only require information that you really need and make other data optional. I'm reluctant to give my phone number, but I require it for people that request a phone consult with me. How else am I going to call them?
- Make it very clear what you are going to do with the information. If you're going to do something with the information that would make people think twice about sharing it, you better check your ethics,
- Keep your word. give customers what you promised, keep their information safe, don't SPAM them.
By the way, the definition of SPAM is unsolicited commercial email. Just because somebody filled in a form to download free trial software - that doesn't mean you get to bombard them with sales pitches for stuff they didn't want. If you have multiple offerings, have checkboxes that allow customers to request information they are specifically interested in.
The Marketing Comet Principle at work is: Don't annoy your customers.
J D Moore - Marketing Comet