One of my New Years resolutions was to simplify more. Simplify not only my life in general, but also my MAW (Martindale Artworks) business. I have three email accounts, one for my website, one that I had from a previous version of the MAW website, and my personal account. After the first of the year, I sat down and started cleaning up emails and the first two accounts went rather quickly. However, the personal account has been overwhelmingly inundated in the past year with an unbelievable amount of junk. The account is arranged with Primary, Social, and Promotional tabs, and I knew that I had been strictly dealing with the emails that seemed important, and letting the rest go. “I will get to them later”, I kept telling myself. Therefore, I had over 2100 emails in the one account! Yikes! So I set out to start hitting the delete button.
Well, not so fast. I was curious to know where all this stuff was coming from. The Primary tab was pretty much items that I had saved for information, or pertained to something that was in progress, so that tab was good. Social had the least, and is basically blogs I follow, Facebook notifications, etc. and I whittled that one down pretty quickly. Now for the Promotions tab. They were literally from everywhere. Places like Nashville Paw Magazine, Professional Artists’ Magazine, Hobby Lobby, etc, were fine. The rest I wanted to know how I made their list. Some were because I ha signed a petition, contacted a congressman, bought or inquired about something and one of their affiliates was sending me an offer. Others were much more vague, loosely tied to some entity I was familiar with, while a few were just randomly sent to me.
This REALLY irritates me for a couple of reasons: first, it loads up everyone’s email accounts with things we aren’t even interested in. There were actually a couple of good blogs in the mix, but I unsubscribed for the simple fact that they never asked me to sign up. Second, it makes legitimate businesses that send out legitimate newsletters look bad. I send out a MAW newsletter once a month (on average) and I DO NOT give, sell, lease, rent or buy email addresses. I just don’t play that game. I want people to sign up because they like my work, I mean I truly have enough to do without all that. Furthermore, I have run into people at shows that are leery of signing up for an art newsletter, afraid that they will be bombarded with email. I actually heard an art marketing coach tell her followers to send at least one lengthy email every other month, and 2-3 mini e-blasts per month. Seriously??? Once a month is plenty, and maybe a quick one line reminder if there is something special going on.
Third, it is against the CAN-SPAM ACT (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003). This is a Federal law that actually has procedures businesses must follow regarding building a mailing list and using email for marketing. Just adding a person at random is not one of them. Prospective recipients must opt in by signing up to receive email from a business, or tell them to be put on a list. The entity may add them to a list as long as they send that individual a notice stating they have been added but are free to unsubscribe at any time. You can read more about the CAN-SPAM ACT by clicking here. There are also guidelines to follow if you feel you are being sent unsolicited email or have tried to unsubscribe and it didn’t appear to go through.
Understandably every business is trying to build their mailing lists. But blatantly adding addresses is not the answer. If you are tired of the junk, just hit ‘unsubscribe’. I ended up unsubscribing and deleting an overwhelming amount of email, and it is a huge relief. Now I can actually concentrate on and enjoy the stuff that is truly important to me such as newsletters from businesses and artists I am interested in. Whats more, the more clicks and opens a newsletter receives the better. Remember, you can visit my website to ‘opt in’ at any time! God bless!