5 Tips to Avoid Spamming Your Target Audiences
Are you spamming your target audiences? You might be. And you might not even realize you’re doing it.
We’re not talking about the canned ham product here.
Spam, the term used to describe mass emails or postings of unwanted or inappropriate messages online, also applies to posting the same content on multiple platforms. Or sending the same pitch email to all of the journalists on your list. Something that’s easy to do inadvertently, especially when you’re busy and your boss or client is pressuring you to get the message “out there”.
Spamming your target audience (or anyone else) can have dire consequences. Posting identical content to many sites can make you, or your organization, look unprofessional and clueless. It can alienate the affections of your target audience, and, has been known to trigger punitive actions from Google.
In other words, don’t do it. And, if you have been? Stop.
“PR Professionals have a multitude of publishing platforms to consider today. The introduction of the LinkedIn publishing platform and medium.com this year just adds to the list of options, says Bob LeDrew, principal consultant of Canadian PR firm, Translucid Communications. “Finding the right platform to publish to, and avoiding sending the same content to each platform, can present real challenges for PR’s today.”
So how can you avoid spamming the people you’re trying to reach?
It’s pretty basic. Follow the same steps you follow at the beginning of any communications campaign. Here are five tips to help you avoid spamming your target audiences.
1. Know what you’re trying to accomplish.
Every campaign should have both goals and objectives. You need to know why you are trying to communicate with your audiences. According to Claire Celsi, director of public relations at Spindustry Digital, “A goal is simply what you’d like to accomplish…and objectives need to be measurable.” Claire points out an easy way to spot an objective: they start with a verb. “Here are some good ones: Increase, deliver, sell, obtain, find, decrease, speed up, entice, implement,” she says.
Make sure you know what your communications are intended to do and how you will know that you have been successful.
2. Understand what matters to the people you are communicating with.
Know your audience. As PR Coach Debbie Levin explains, “Knowing who your key audiences are, and understanding what is important to them, is essential if you want to attract their attention and engage with them in a meaningful way.”
What’s important to your audience and what do they consider interesting? Is the material you’re planning to share something that they will find value in? If it is, great. If not, don’t share it. You won’t get their attention and you won’t accomplish what you’ve set out to.
3. Include great visuals.
Today the world is eagerly looking for pictures, photographs, infographics and video. Including visual elements in your communications to grab your audience’s attention is essential. Link your content to the fuller document, if you need to. People who are genuinally interested in learning more will click through to read it.
Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. Blogger and strategist Jeff Bullas states, “Articles with images get 94 percent more total views and including a photo and a video in a press release increases views by over 45 percent.”
4. Find out where they hang out online.
Find out where your target audiences are hanging out online and share your content there. Be warned: you need to understand the unspoken rules and language used in each online channel. Do some investigative work to learn where your target audience goes to get the information they find valuable.
However, don’t be afraid to test new platforms. Just make sure you understand the demographics of the new platform and that the information you’re sharing is a good fit. “You can’t always know all of the places your audiences are to be found online,” says Bob LeDrew. “Sometimes, you test a new platform to see if it will yield positive results.”
Testing a new platform or channel after doing the research and understanding what the people who use it are interested in is entirely different from blindly sending the same stuff across the web.
5. Tailor the communications
In the same way that we personalize email to make it more engaging, tailoring your communications to fit a specific audience interest or channel makes it more likely to be seen and remembered and possibly shared or acted on. Altering your content enough to fit the channel also means you are less likely to be perceived as spamming and more likely to catch and hold the attention of the people you’re trying to reach.
Including these five tips in the planning stages of your online outreach will help you avoid spamming your target audiences and have a better chance of engaging their attention and interest. Content that resonates with people increases the likelihood they’ll take action—and that you’ll accomplish your campaign’s goals.
Image: Quinn Dombrowski (Creative Commons)
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