You've written the absolute best post about queefing pussies and the people who love them. You're desperate for the world to read it. It's life-changing stuff, if only you could get eyes on it.
No? Not you?
Okay, so you've written the hottest erotic fiction about a billionaire with amnesia and Dominant tendencies who doesn't remember that his virginal secretary is his kinky, slutty submissive - and if people only knew about it, they'd buy a copy and love it. You'd become a bestseller on Amazon. Life would be perfect. You could die happy!
Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. But let's say you've got a great new blog post or a new release, and you know in your heart of hearts that if people just knew about it, they'd love it.
So you decide to market yourself like other companies do:
Your favorite big box store sends you about 15 emails a week, so it's okay for you to do it, too.
Your frenemy from elementary school keeps adding you to Facebook groups for whatever product she's selling these days, so that must mean everyone does it.
People won't mind, right? They can ignore, delete, or unfollow if they really don't want it. Right?
First of all, yes, technically if you bombard people with emails or add them to groups without their permission, they can get themselves out of it. But second of all, you'll have lost any potential of a sale or loyal follower and you'll get labeled as a spammer.
No one wants to be a spammer. We hate spam, remember? In case you wonder if you could be a spammer (or want to avoid ever becoming spammy), I'm going to outline a few things that I have seen and experienced that absolutely make you a spammer and don't increase your followers, views, or book sales.
Adding people to your mailing list without their permission
I cannot tell you how many marketing emails I receive from other authors that I know for a fact I never subscribed to. With so many authors (and so little time) I'm very selective. So when an email comes through from an author touting their new book, I know they added me to their mailing list without my permission.
No. Not just no, but hell no.
You don't just look like a spammer when you do this, you are one. You're officially spam. No, you're not selling penis enhancements or trying to send me money from Nigeria, but you're just as bad. In a cluttered world filled with too much content, you just sent me an email that I didn't ask for. Not only am I not buying your book, I'm unfollowing you, unsubscribing, and dismissing you in my mind. And no, I'm not the only person who feels this way.
The other reason you don't want to do this?
If people click the unsubscribe button at the end of your newsletter (and it better be there or you're potentially violating the law), they're usually given a list of reasons why they want to unsubscribe. If too many people choose the "did not subscribe/added without permission" (or some other variation) your email provider could label you as a spammer and shut down your account. You could lose that precious (but fake) list you have.
Adding people to Facebook groups without their permission
To me, this is no different than sending me an unsolicited email newsletter. You've just lumped in with a group of people that I may not want to be with to receive notifications and see posts about a topic I may have no interest in.
Invite your Facebook friends to join your group. That's definitely okay.
Add a link to your Facebook group in an email newsletter.
Hell, send out a special announcement email to your (hopefully not fake and spammy) mailing list, letting everyone know about your group.
When you add someone to a group they didn't ask to be a part of, you've made a huge assumption about who they are, what they like, what they do on Facebook, and how they're going to react to your newest venture. The person who might have willingly joined the group - on their own, in their own time, when they damn well felt like it - is likely now very turned off by your presumption. They now have to take action they didn't intend to do because you made a decision for them.
Sending multiple emails per week begging for sales/views
If you have an email go out every time a blog post is published and you publish once a day, you're fine.
If you told your subscribers (clearly, plainly, and not in the smallest fine print ever) that they would receive several emails a week, and they chose to join the list, you're okay.
For the rest of you, this is the most prevalent kind of spammy behavior. The biggest brands in the world do it, and it's annoying. Do you have any idea how many emails I get from Old Navy every single day? And holy hell, I took advantage of a "free" offer on Facebook, gave my email address, and now I get a sales offer sometimes twice a day from another company.
I haven't unsubscribed...yet. But you know what else I haven't done? Made another purchase through their website, either.
People will tune you out very quickly. We all have way too much email, way too much stuff to pay attention to, and not enough time. Once you get the reputation for only sending out marketing material that doesn't actually help anyone, you'll see both your unsubscribe rates go up and your email open rates go way down. How does that help you? It doesn't.
Send out emails strategically and when you say you will. Do not bombard people.
Commenting on a status, post, or blog simply to include your own link
A best practice in online marketing for getting more views to your website is to comment on other blogs. I do it. Other people do it. We're participating in the community and letting people know we exist.
But there's a line.
You should comment to ask a question or add something to the conversation.
What you shouldn't do is comment with something like "Hey this is a great post!" and then drop a link to your blog, Amazon page, or something else that has nothing to do with the conversation. You've shown that your intention in that person's space is to use their audience for your own gain. It's a turn off to many loyal blog readers/followers.
Caveat: If you are part of the ongoing conversation, and you have a post from your own blog that adds to the conversation or was inspired by the post, please share your link. But give it context. Say something about it. Don't just drop a link and leave.
If you do any of the things I've described, you're probably wondering what you're supposed to do instead. The answer is both easy and difficult. You're supposed to create good content, write great books, be present in the online space, and earn the follow, the subscribe, or the sale. When you falsely inflate your numbers with spammy behavior, your list/group is useless. It won't get you more sales or website views.
People should be able to choose who they follow, and if you really want to grow those numbers, give them something worth following - write a great book, start a blog and share your point of view on the world, tell your damn story. But, please for the love of all that is holy, don't spam us!
Over to y'all - what other spammy behavior have you see online from authors, bloggers, or yes, those big name brands who should know better? Share with us in the comments!