In peer group meetings I keep hearing about companies that are using the Sponsored Inmail service. The program allows you to narrow the contact list to your target audience by titles, industry and even geography and then email your message via InMail.
They emphasize that this tool is most powerful when what is sent is “relevant.”
A powerful tool for sure when it is used to provide relevant information. Unfortunately I receive dozens of Inmail message that all look the same and espouse growing my business for me.
I have dozens of messages like this. The problem is I’m a B2B company and this company is really selling to online consumer companies. Even if I was an online store I would rather receive something that educates me – I don’t see how the company that sent this email is being relevant to me as an online store. I’ve been in that space and you always need to increase sales, but show me how you’ve done it by sharing some thought leadership or a case study versus coming out with a sales pitch.
Being “relevant” is relative. For me the person I’m in discussions with must let me learn not jump at me with an offer. There’s a difference. The email that was sent may hit a small percentage of folks that have an immediate need, but how many more are they reaching with what will be interpreted as SPAM.
This is the problem with mass email. I know, I’ve used it and do use it. The difference is I try to share an idea, or educational item, not seek an immediate meeting. I try to build the relationship and engage on that person’s terms not mine.
Email itself is not the best tool for prospecting, but because it is significantly less expensive than other media, it tends to get abused.
Just remember that even if you use a system like Inmail and feel that just one sale pays for the program, you have to consider what the cost of hitting all the uninterested contacts is.