I vividly recall the day I launched my first email campaign. And the days I executed my first trade show, shared my first piece of collateral, and sent my first press release soaring into cyberspace.  Marketing/Communications is an exciting realm, full of creativity and possibilities.  With creativity comes license to bend the rules and shape the future, but we still must be mindful of manners and vigilant of common courtesies. 

Tip 1: Allow Unsubscribes

No matter the platform, there is always an option to insert subscription preferences. Companies are legally bound to include one such unsubscribe link in commercial emails that derive their recipients from lists; simply speaking, it is the right thing to do.  Marketing is a conversation, a relationship, not a one-sided battle to see who can yell the loudest.  I would rather have 100 readers devour every morsel of content than 1,000,000 recipients who ignore - or worse - delete it.  Challenge yourself instead to create copy that your readers will save and share, forgetting entirely that unsubscribe is even an option.  Content remains King (and Queen) and with any luck, will continue to be for a long, happy life. 

Tip 2: Target Marketing Lists

Pay close attention to your marketing lists so you do not exhaust your audience with irrelevant material.  Rarely, will your entire database need (or want) to be put on email blast; save those opportunities for the most important announcements.  Target data by factors such as location, vertical, or solution, keeping in mind that marketing best practices includes introducing opportunities for up and cross-selling.  Dynamic marketing lists can do some of this work for you, but make it a point to manually check rules and settings from time to time as well.  Put some thought into the titles of these lists so that other users will know at first glance exactly what grouping they are about to select, and routinely clean your system, archiving outdated lists.  

Note: This tip is based around the notion that your database contains relevant, clean data.  Is your organization in need of better CRM adoption?  Check out these ideas.  

8844394_sTip 3: Trade Show Savvy

Please do not stand in the aisles of an expo hall and thrust your promo items at every passerby or request a badge scan of those who do not stop to talk to you. Chances are, you will catch a lot of people off-guard enough to accept the items and agree to the scan, but almost certainly at the cost of a negative impression. Another trade show "no-no" is to stare at your phone, computer, the floor, or only engage in conversation with your coworkers. Here are some better ideas:

  • Stand at the front of your booth, facing (but not in) the aisle, warmly greeting attendees with a friendly smile and eye contact.
  • Should you need to take a phone call or respond to an email, simply step away from the booth. 
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions about what has brought booth visitors to the conference and what kind of knowledge they hope to gain. 
  • Offer promotional items and company information without forcing them upon the recipient. 
  • Give attendees a moment to take in your collateral before you begin to bark about your services and solutions. 

The resulting conversations will be significantly more natural and may even generate higher quality leads. If someone stops by who obviously just wants to raid your giveaway items, let them do so without demanding a scan. You don’t really want to pay to ship the leftover items back to your office anyhow, do you?

Tip 4: Always Deliver a Call to Action

Now this tip might sound the most simple, but it is often the easiest to forget. At the outset, determine the favored outcome and deliver the call to action.

  • Are you trying to drive traffic to your website? [Shop Now] [Learn More]
  • Share a whitepaper? [Download Now] 
  • Acquire leads? [Contact Us] [Call Us]
  • Gain more followers on social media? [Follow Us]

Then please, do not forget to include a clear call to action supporting the main goal of your marketing efforts in each campaign, collateral, or otherwise. 

Tip 5: Honesty Is The Best Policy

Today’s marketer knows how to sell, and yes, sometimes that means painting a best case scenario over a realistic one. In this frenzy, sales calls emerge as “complimentary consultations” and email subscribes flow from “free information kit” sign-ups. Unfortunately, many professionals fail to draw the line at trickery. As an example, just this week, I received the following email:

Subject: Re: Scheduling a phone meeting

That’s funny, I thought to myself, upon seeing the sender. I do not remember requesting such. So I read on...


Thanks for your interest in <company name withheld>. I wanted to schedule a 5 minute phone conversation with you to learn more about your requirements and provide some information on how

<company name> might be able to solve them.

What would be the best time and phone number to reach you?


<Account Executive> 

Now, in fairness, there are a couple of things this email campaign does do well. Concise copy coupled with an easy-going tone, a nod to my own needs, and a direct call to action are all present. Is this excellence in marketing or deliberate deceit, given I made no such request?  The offending company also failed to include an unsubscribe link, so I’m sticking with trickery as my verdict. This vendor would have done far better with a more honest approach. As such, I replied directly and requested my record be removed from their system.

Have you encountered a recent marketing etiquette infraction? We could all stand to learn new best practices.

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