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Email Marketing (All)
Dear Ski Resorts, Don’t Make the Same Mistake I Did…A “Low”-Light from My Marketing Career

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Once upon a time I was what most people call a “consultant” and/or “freelance” internet marketer.

New clients came, new clients went. Some were small, some were less small, but none were really all that major. Considering I only wanted to work with small businesses, I suppose this is understandable.

But one day a client came along with the potential to be big.

Really big.

A recurring product with a solid monthly fee? Check.
Two partners willing to give me a serious slice? Check.
Not much work required to get from Point A to Point B? Check.
A massive list of people primed for the product? Check.

Eager to reap, I didn’t bother to inspect the seeds I was about to sow.

Things were going along swimmingly until we sent our first email. It was carefully conceived as part of a series leading up to a big launch a few weeks down the road.

Yet, surprisingly, the open rate was abysmal.

Thinking perhaps it had a been a while since they communicated to this list, a made a few small course corrections for the second send.

But this time the open rate was even lower.

The same thing happened for the third, fourth, and fifth emails. When the launch finally came around, out of a list of tens of thousands of people, two became customers.

As a comparison, a similar launch strategy I had used on my own list a couple months before had turned a list 1/5 the size into 20x as many sales and 100x as much revenue.

And then I learned the truth.

They list wasn’t theirs at all. They had somehow “obtained” it in a way they never fully explained.

It was a massive learning and turning point for my career.

Sometimes as marketers we start to see the value in things. For example, we may realize that the value of a website visitor is $2.50 or an email opt-in is $31.00. But the value in that bit of data is not the data alone, it’s inextricably tied to the source.

In fact, the visitor alone carries little value. It’s the source that makes the difference.

I once bought 10,000 random website visitors for $50.
Zero converted.

I then bought 100 website visitors from Google for the same $50. These people, however, had been searching for products like mine.
Five converted.

Once you see the value of an email address, it’s incredibly easy to be enticed by the idea of buying a massive email list for pennies a person. But because of the source, these lists are garbage. They’re worthless. Even at a few cents each, they’re a waste of money.

But even more, they’re illegal.

Unsolicited email is SPAM. As in CAN-SPAM. As in even if you try to justify how you obtained the list, the way you are sending to them is likely going to break the law as well.

Here’s my advice to you. Never buy lists. EVER.

Don’t buy them because they don’t work. Don’t buy them because it’s against the law. Don’t buy them because it’s simply not right. Don’t buy them, don’t use them, don’t load them into your database.

I made that mistake once and I’ll never make it again.

Don’t be as blind as I was. Okay?

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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