As your reputation builds and your list begins to grow, you may be approached by other marketers who are willing to pay you cash in order to promote a single offer to your entire list. Should you sell your list?
My guess is that when people signed up for your list initially, there was a statement on the opt-in form that assured them their information was safe with you.
I don’t know about you, but when I see that notice, I assume that the owner of the list will not spam me – or – sell my information to anyone else who would spam me. Is that what you meant? If so, what is the ethical thing to do?
Your subscribers expect you to protect them from spammers and fraudulent offers. So, when a generous offer for a solo mailing presents itself, I suggest you consider it carefully.
Your primary consideration should not be about what they are willing to pay you; it should be about the product or promotion – and its value to your list. You also have to be confident that the marketer is not someone who will siphon off names so that he can take advantage of – or mistreat them at some later date.
Even though you may be allowing use of your list for a solo offer – and not selling the list for unlimited use, if you accept money from someone who will use your list for a phony or fraudulent offer, you are still abusing your list.
Oh My! You Have Already Made a Mistake!
I know that as some of you read this, you may be realizing you have already made mistakes with list building strategies. You now have two choices.
- Admit your mistake and do what you can to rectify it.
You could start with a message of apology. For example:
I realize that I have made some mistakes in the past with my list. I am sorry and want to make amends. My hope is to rebuild my subscriber base, by starting fresh, with lessons learned clearly in my mind
One particular thing I want to apologize for is my promotion of _________________, who was nothing more than a spammer that offended and annoyed all of you (and me). If I can possibly avoid it, that will never happen again. From this time forward I will carefully evaluate every product I promote, as well as the marketer and how he treats his own list. If anything is amiss about either one, no promotion agreement will be made.”
A sincere, honest, vulnerable approach will go a long way with subscribers. People will applaud your effort to own up to your mistakes and to make a serious effort to change. It is a good first step toward rebuilding a trusting relationship. Of course, you must stay true to your word, or you will be in even deeper trouble than before.
- Wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start.
If an apology and being vulnerable is not your style, a fresh start with a personal commitment to move forward using only good list building strategies from this point on will also work. It may take a while to set things straight. You may not get any response for some time, but if you are consistent in your efforts, people will see the difference and your list will begin to grow again. It may even grow faster and larger, with better retention than you experience the first time around.