It’s been a long week and you’re relaxing at the local watering hole. Someone comes over and strikes up a conversation with you and the two of you end up spending the next hour together. Nothing happens and you are okay with that. Perhaps they weren’t really your type, but when they asked for your number you politely shrugged it off and went home.
How would you react they started calling you the next month? You might be a little upset. After all, you did actually decline to give this person you are now referring to as “that creepy jerk” your phone number. But, you might also be in the phone book along with the other 30 people in town with your first and last names. And hey, if you did not really want to be contacted by creepy jerks from local watering holes, you would gotten an unlisted number. Right?
What’s that? You just don’t want to be contacted by strangers and creepy jerks from local watering holes, but you do want to be easily found by your friends, relatives, and co-workers?
That’s how your subscribers feel about appending (or “epending” depending on what your vendor calls it). They feel that you should have asked permission to send them mail before you started sending it. And, if you gave them the opportunity to give your their address and they declined to give it to you, then you’re taking something that wasn’t yours to take.
Email marketing strategies that consistently work well are based upon permission and familiarity. When you append a list, you are operating completely opposite of that. You are basing your strategy on assertion instead of permission and distance rather than familiarity.
I see this all the time. There are a lot of companies out there who love using append strategies, and who find themselves changing email service providers three or four times a year — always hoping for “a bump in deliverability.” I don’t think that there is any accident to that correlation. They are doing something that results in enough complaints that their reputation is killed and they are forced to move elsewhere to try for a fresh start.
I find that evil. When you are engaged in a practice that forces you to change your location like the traveling snake oil salesmen of yesteryear, maybe it’s time to rethink the “goodness” of that practice.