I’ve been spending a lot of time in women’s business forums lately, giving advice on business marketing ideas. Probably too much because I’m starting to rant and despair just a little.
So rather than headbutt the keyboard for the eleventh time today and bite back the desire to shake someone through a computer screen, I thought I’d do something constructive.
So welcome to my rundown of the 3 ways you could be putting your business marketing ideas at risk. And what you can do instead
I created this email list and…
Recently, I saw someone whinge about how they’d created an email list and sent unsolicited emails to a bunch of people in a particular business group. She also took to the group to cry foul when no one responded.
Way to hang your bum out for target practise for the ACMA, kitten!
Australia is a particularly tough cookie when it comes to spam. So it pays to be all over the ACMA’s spam laws and the ways they view consent.
Here’s a line I never thought I’d have to write: Spam is not a way to conduct smart business marketing ideas or email campaigns.
If you don’t know what the definition of Spam is and what is involved in getting permission for your business marketing ideas, strap yourself in.
Consent in business marketing comes in two forms:
- It can be express consent- such as when someone signs up to your newsletter or gives you their business card.
- Consent can also be inferred consent- such as if there is a reasonable expectation of contact.
You should check with the ACMA on what they view as consent. It does get muddy because of the inference. Inferred is particularly tricky.
A few common mistakes are:
- Having the default as a yes to sign up online. This is not express consent. The end user needs to choose to click yes, not the other way around
- Sending emails to invite someone to sign up. This is not cool and shouldn’t be a practise you engage in
- Grabbing people’s details off their website and using them. If these details are published, you can only really do this if you have a pre-existing relationship as proof (actual contact, not just being in the same group) and they don’t have a disclaimer about spam email present
- Nicking someone’s email in a forum when they give it to someone else. It may be public, but that consent is not yours to abuse
- Diving in with the “I’ll PM you” message when someone puts up a question in a forum. Unless someone says “sure thing, baby-cakes!” this is not consent. You have to wait for the OK.
It doesn’t take much to get banned by an email provider that logs complaints or get into trouble.
If someone complains to the ACMA, the burden of proof lies with you. So wishy washy “we’re in happy broads that business together on Facebook” doesn’t count. Especially if you’ve never spoken to that person about what you’ve emailed them about.
Saying hi to Sandy on a thread about Beagles doesn’t constitute you being able to be in her Inbox the next day, selling pantihose.
What you should do instead to create ethical email lists that demonstrate express consent:
- Add a sign up form (or non-intrusive pop up that isn’t on your mobile version) to your website so people can opt in
- Use newsletter lists at your events and gatherings and keep them on file as proof later
- Ask directly for the email addresses from people and ask if it is OK to add them to your list online and in person
Make sure you understand the ACMA regulations and if you think what you might try is borderline, don’t do it. It’s not worth risking your business marketing ideas on maybe calls when it comes to big fines and large misunderstandings.
Let’s all jump on a like ladder and share Facebook pages!
If there was ever a stupid sign to point at business marketing ideas, it’s this one.
While like ladders (the process of putting your social media handle up so people like you and you like them in return) aren’t technically illegal, they’re pretty dumb.
Facebook and other social media platforms don’t judge you primarily on how many people who like or follow your content. They judge you on how many interact with it. If you’re just doing the whole scattershot “like me and I will like you”, you send some fairly crazy signals to those algorithms.
That in turn changes:
- What Facebook perceives about your interests personally
- How your own social media relates to the other pages you’ve liked
- What it puts forward out of the things you genuinely like in future
- Your interaction figures
- What ads you receive via AdServe
- The statistics of interaction for your own Facebook page
10 people who join and do sweet Fanny Addams once they get to your social media isn’t a bonus, it’s a problem. Especially if you’ve never given a crap about baby food before and now you’re liking every Paleo baby food available. It looks weird, suspicious and gets you attention for the wrong reasons.
Good business marketing ideas are about relationships. Aim for engagement. A small group of interested parties is far more valuable than high likes and sod all engagement. When that happens, you’re asking Facebook to relegate your page to the boondocks.
Facebook isn’t a “how many friends does it look like I have at school?” competition. It’s a “how many friends have my back?” platform.
But we’re all in the same business group!
Sigh. I am a community manager by trade. I have been slopping the online love since the 90’s. Pre-Facebook and all, I know there is one thing true of community management:
It’s an online representation of real life. Therefore, it’s not jerk free. Get used to it.
In real life, you can’t expect everyone in the same town to share the same values. Some people think it’s OK to vomit on the sidewalk. Others think it’s OK to nick your DVD player or say weird shit to your grandma.
We don’t share the same concept of what makes good business marketing ideas or how to execute them.
Some people will still sell you stuff that breaks. They will also disappear when the sale is completed and the product not delivered. Or end up on the front page of the paper in a scandal. Some people will have opinions on something and know nothing about which they speak.
You still have to be mindful that the world contains people who might actually lead you astray and screw you over. I’d love to say that some invisible Wonder Woman lasso drops the minute you enter a business group for women, but it doesn’t happen that way.
So why then are women especially prone to this weird brain error that makes them believe that just because we’ve all joined the same online business group, everyone is pure as the driven snow?
What can I tell you? Women are sometimes jerks.
So you have to be smart and do your due diligence before you entrust your cash and/or your business to someone. Because sharing the same online forum means dick, really.
Where’s the womanly love?
The allergy to feedback on business marketing ideas has to stop.
Yes, we both have lady parts. That doesn’t mean that we popped out of the same box with the same opinions and the same values. Just because we both have vaginas doesn’t mean we don’t all have to agree all the time.
We don’t have to “just scroll past” if someone is making a bad decision.
We don’t have to let Joanie think her logo is the bees knees because she’s surfing for validation as opposed to some honest feedback. If it looks closer to a cat’s fur ball than something that should be stuck on cake boxes, isn’t it better she knows before she prints 50,000 boxes and then realises it herself?
Stop patronising your fellow business woman. Hitch up your big girl pants and be honest.
It’s OK to give feedback that is seemingly negative. What’s not OK is to watch someone ride off on a unicorn with their desire map full of absolute useless crap. And then allow them to pour time, money and their hope into something that is about as useful as a tissue paper umbrella.
Giving negative feedback is part of being in business. We don’t have to be awful to each other, but let’s give some respect to our fellow business women and tell them the damn truth!
Love is about the tough conversations just as much as the positive ones. As long as you approach it from a place of compassion and genuine help, it’s simply part of the process of smart business.
Final word on making smart choices for your business marketing ideas
The biggest issue I see facing people, especially women, running their own business is their own bloody ego. Just because you want it to be OK to break the rules or the rules don’t make a whole lot of sense doesn’t mean they don’t apply.
Get some distance between you and your emotional side and look at things logically. Other people don’t owe you anything in business. But they will and do share information via internet business forums. And they’ll usually do it from a place of caring.
Yes, some people are completely clueless and wouldn’t know business advice from a freaking croissant.
But if you’ve got five people in a forum saying, “dude, I don’t think that’s a legit way to go about it”, listen. Ask for some links to back up their statements. Be smart enough to direct your fingers to Google to find the answer and do some research.
The ACMA, Facebook, Google or anywhere else you can think of don’t stop raining blood down on you just because you heard it in your all time fave gal pal business group.
Be smart enough to research your queries and use feedback as a basis to become better informed.