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Unsolicited email newsletter

So I got me the email addresses of my target market (small businesses) via a pdf that was made available for their customers, the general public.
My idea was to put together a newsletter and email these businesses with it.
I decided to try mailchimp but on there they have an exclusion that expressly excludes this sort of thing.
---------------------------
>Recipients whose emails you collected without their permission, but >you think they could really use your product or service, and you >think they'd really want to hear from you.
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So I'm thinking of going ahead anyway on a DIY basis.
I appreciate that my idea sounds spammy, but I'd promise to email not more than once a quarter and feature a prominent unsubscribe link.

What do people think?
Drummer Send private email
Monday, September 02, 2013
 
 
Well, it definitely does look spammy :)
Kuzmitskiy Dmitry Send private email
Monday, September 02, 2013
 
 
Isn't having your email in a business directory 'putting it out there'?
I get emails from other businesses who have found my website and who think they have something to offer me.
If they're a legit business, have something even vaguely relevant to my business to offer and don't spam me too often I don't mind.
I don't even view it as spam.
In fact I'd go so far as to say that I find those emails less intrusive than sales calls or even junk mail.
But you're right, I am a bit worried about getting flak.
OTOH some people are always looking to take offence and maybe I just need to develop a thicker skin?
Drummer Send private email
Monday, September 02, 2013
 
 
"small businesses" is a pretty broad target market for anywhere outside of North Korea.  You might as well send email to every scraped email address you can get your hands on.

"via a pdf" Are you looking at 20 entries or 20,000?  If 20, the list was compiled for the benefit of those 20 businesses and no one else, if 20,000 you have a worthless list.  Why is the list not already converted to a database format?

"My idea was to put together a newsletter and email these businesses with it"  Bad idea for several reasons.  Unsolicited emails are more annoying than unsolicited postal mail, and much less attractive.  Anyone who bothers to open _and_ read emailed newsletters that they didn't subscribe to, from senders they aren't familiar with, isn't the type of small businessperson you want as a customer.  (I'm assuming your product is more useful and less fraudulent than your marketing techniques)

I'm approached to purchase mailing lists on a constant basis, and if you didn't compile the list from your own customer base, they aren't worth the effort.  Email has value for communicating with existing customers, no one else.  You are better off to spend money on a direct mail program using postal mail and attractive printed mailers.
Howard Ness Send private email
Monday, September 02, 2013
 
 
> Unsolicited emails are more annoying than unsolicited postal mail

Personally I disagree with that. I'd much rather get spam through email than through my door (I don't like trees being cut down to get my attention).

But... people in general do react more negatively to email. Unless your list has many, many people it's unlikely to make money. If it does have many, many people then you've entered spam territory.

Personally I'd be tempted to take a more personal approach or not use the idea.

For example, assuming the list is highly targeted you could use the list to narrow down a list of people then look them up on LinkedIn. Find the right person in the organisation, email them with a specific proposal then say you'll give them a call in a week to discuss it.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Monday, September 02, 2013
 
 
>So I'm thinking of going ahead anyway on a DIY basis.

Quite apart from any moral implications, this could get your mailserver blacklisted by various ISPs.

Also, how many unsolicited emails have ever caused you to make a purchase?
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, September 02, 2013
 
 
I agree that "small businesses" is such a wide term that it could apply to just about anything, as you widen your spread, it seems harder and harder to not call it anything but good old fashioned spam.

I think there is a little room for this if you are approaching specific professionals in specific fields *due* to that field.  The more scattershot your approach, the less valuable and the more you are spam.
Racky Send private email
Monday, September 02, 2013
 
 
Just make sure to put at the end of the email (or near the beginning if it is too long) an 'unsubscribe' link promising never to send email again  if clicked

Never done that but would make sure to do so if I decided to spam
alexandar Send private email
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
 
 
It is just spam with someone trying to justify it in a pretty weak way.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would respond to spam in a positive way, but YMMV, IMHO.

If my email address is on your list, I assume that Google's filter will eliminate it and I'll never even know, which is the great thing about spam. Just like online adverts - I assume there are a lot all over the internet, but I never see any, thanks to my ad-blocker.
Scorpio Send private email
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
 
 
I would NEVER click the unsubscribe link of an unsolicited email! (and I suspect most people would do the same). I would almost surely blacklist your server.

By the way, I strongly doubt of the effectiveness (cost per lead) of an unsolicited newsletter.
Franco Graziosi Send private email
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
 
 
+1 to Franco. Clicking the "unsubscribe" link just confirms to the spammer that they have a current email address.
Scorpio Send private email
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
 
 
Thanks for all the replies.
I'm not sure what to do.
I did have a brochure made up a couple of years ago but decided it was crap and never mailed it.
All my sales have come through recommendation, which is good but slow and also it can take a really long time to go from first contact to sale.
When I said small business I meant a particular type of small business, that I myself also work in in my own (small) country.
We're talking 1000 businesses approx.
My software is geared towards this single niche.
My name, postal address and phone number and day job email address are in the same pdf I got theirs from.
My software is a separate entity.
Email has a bad name because of spam but does that mean nobody can email anyone unsolicited anymore?
Drummer Send private email
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
 
 
>> "Email has a bad name because of spam but does that mean nobody can email anyone unsolicited anymore?"

You can, of course. But you can't do it in bulk. Send one-by-one and do the legwork researching who you're emailing and what they could benefit from reading your email let alone responding.

Yes, "cold call" and "cold emails" can work. I only bother reading "cold emails" or staying on the phone with "cold calls" where you can tell they actually did their homework. This "homework" includes:

1. Do they know what my company does? If not, spam bin.

2. Do they tailor their message to our niche? If not, spam bin.

3. If they're offering a "generic service" (like "SEO"), do they give at least one bit of free advice that's directly applicable to our site -- something actionable? That is, did they even read our site? If not, spam bin.



In other words, if you followed your original intention (loading a bunch of emails into Mailchimp and spamming a bunch of businesses), then no, it won't work.

Research exactly what the businesses on the list do. And only after doing that talk to the people on the list one-by-one.
Wyatt O'Day Send private email
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
 
 
Hi Wyatt
I think you've got it right as did Jonathan earlier.
I think I can establish quite effectively in the email that I am not a con artist (my domain info gives  my personal name and my company's address and phone number, my email address is at that domain, my company is registered, has publicly available up-to-date accounts etc).

I just want to reach them and if I can grab their attention while they are online I might just be able to get them to respond to some kind of 'call to action'.
With a posted brochure that seems a lot harder to achieve.
I think that if I were to choose an alternative to email it would probably be adwords. I think grabbing them when they are online is much better than a letter/brochure
Drummer Send private email
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
 
 
I always use the unsubscribe link in spam messages and it works most of the time.
If they want to verify if you have opened it, they just have to put in some kind of graphic element with a unique ID embedded in its URL and that's it. Unless your fw/mailer blocks it, they will have automatic feedback.
Zka Send private email
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
 
 
> Unless your fw/mailer blocks it, they will have automatic feedback

Pretty much every mail client blocks embedded images these days.
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, September 05, 2013
 
 
If I receive an unsolicited "newsletter" I usually reflexively delete it without reading a word.  80% of the time I will forward it to my spam filter company for black listing.  If it fit the niche I work in it would probably fall in the 20% that I delete but don't report as spam.

If it has valuable information that catches my eye before my hand deletes it I may read it.  But there is so much information coming in that's unlikely.

HOWEVER, I have received personal emails that are short letters from people (shorter than my posts ha ha) mentioning a product or service that can benefit me and I have read those and, if the timing was right and the author seemed pleasant, occasionally responded to them.

I have also responded very positively to people I don't know personally but who have a shared profession/interest with me who have contacted me directly through Linked In or by email with a personal note saying why they are contacting me.

You might consider a personal note in advance of the newsletter to see if they are interested, or in the same email but above the newsletter.

By the way if you send a bunch of them out in fast succession, depending on who your ISP is they may shut down your outgoing email.  I think my provider only allows 50 email in an hour.

Good luck!
Emily Jones Send private email
Thursday, September 12, 2013
 
 
"I have also responded very positively to people I don't know personally but who have a shared profession/interest with me who have contacted me directly through Linked In or by email with a personal note saying why they are contacting me."

Hi Emily
    I very much agree with all your points and I think the one above describes the 'sweet spot' that I need to aim for.
I need to make those suckers feel bad at the thought of putting me in the spam bin. :-)
Actually I haven't done anything about it yet but I think a personalised email that establishes my bona fides and a low key promo of my product might be the way to go.
Drummer Send private email
Thursday, September 12, 2013
 
 
Drummer,

When you get off the ground with this I'm curious to know how it goes.  Good luck!
Emily Jones Send private email
Saturday, September 14, 2013
 
 

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