Home  › Email › Email Marketing

Are You Over-Selling? Tips for Networking, Email, Websites, and Social Media Interactions

  |  March 17, 2014   |  Comments

There's a fine line between engaging a potential customer and completely over-selling. The key to not over-selling lies in setting realistic goals for your efforts based on the channel and your relationship with the prospect.

I was at a networking event recently and I met the senior vice president of a consultancy specializing in "Advanced Messaging Design and Delivery" (that was the tag line on his business card). At first I found him very interesting.

We started out by talking about PowerPoint presentations, what makes them good and what can sink them. I do a lot of speaking, so I was interested in getting tips from him; I'm always looking to improve. We spoke for a few minutes and I asked if he had a business card; I said I'd like to check out his firm's website and perhaps learn more about its services.

His business card had a quarter taped to it, which lead to another interesting discussion. According to him, giving people something has been shown to improve their memory of your meeting. Good enough - another interesting data point. And an engaging way to extend the conversation.

But then he kept talking. He was continuing to try to sell me on how I and everyone in my agency would benefit from their help. I couldn't get a word in edgewise. I finally had to break in and excuse myself; there were other folks in the room that I wanted to meet.

It's a common mistake, over-selling and providing too much information for the channel. This was a networking event. If he had asked for a follow-up phone call or meeting when I gave him my business card I might have agreed to it. But there was no way he was going to close this sale tonight. In fact, his persistence lessened the chance that I would even look into using his firm's services (I haven't).

I'm sure you've had similar experiences. I know I have; this was just the latest. So here are some tips for reading your audience and not over-selling your product or service - be it a networking event, email marketing, a website, social media, or any other channel.

The key lies in setting realistic goals for your efforts based on the channel and your relationship with the prospect.

At a networking event, the goal is to identify qualified prospects, get them intrigued about the benefits your product or service would give them, and get a business card. It's not unlike cold calling or working a trade show booth. You follow up with more detail, and a stronger sales pitch - later.

With an email, you may have some people willing to buy after reading it. But if not (or if your sale is just more complicated than that), you almost always want to use email to intrigue people enough to click though to a website to learn more. I'm not a fan of very long email messages (read: more than two or three pages when you print them out). It's just too much information to read in a linear fashion online; break the content up into manageable bits and provide links for readers to click through to a website to read the sections of most interest to them. Sometimes the website isn't even a realistic point of purchase (this is especially true of high ticket and/or more complicated sales) - so offer an option for them to learn more; typically this is either a lead generation form and/or a click-to-chat mechanism.

And what about people that aren't yet on your email list and visit your website? It's great if they're ready to buy. But if not, you want to give them a way to sign up to receive email from you - without filling out a full lead generation form. This allows you to follow up with them - and gives you additional chances to sell them on how your product or service can help them. I usually advise clients with long sales cycles to offer both a lead generation form and just an email sign-up option - usually on the same form - so that the visitor can decide what level of relationship they're willing to enter into at that moment.

Then there are social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. It's great to have "fans" - but it's even better to give them a chance, when they are ready, to become email subscribers. This way you can ask them a little about themselves (and if they're truly fans they'll likely tell you) and then send targeted, relevant email messages to their inbox to grow the relationship. And that inbox will likely still be a good way to reach them, even if they stop visiting the social media site where you met them.

So think about the channel you're using - and what type of outcomes are realistic to expect from it. Every channel has its place, but if you're looking for one to do too much, it will be less successful for you than it could be.

Until next time,

Image via Shutterstock.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, August 29 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!


Jeanne Jennings

Jeanne Jennings is a 20 year veteran of the online/email marketing industry, having started her career with CompuServe in the late 1980s. As Vice President of Global Strategic Services for Alchemy Worx, Jennings helps organizations become more effective and more profitable online. Previously Jennings ran her own email marketing consultancy with a focus on strategy; clients included AARP, Hasbro, Scholastic, Verizon and Weight Watchers International. Want to learn more? Check out her blog.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Email newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.



    • Product Specialist
      Product Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreDescription: The Product Specialist is hyper-focused on the customer experience and ensures that our...
    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...
    • Assistant Product Listing Ads (PLA) Manager
      Assistant Product Listing Ads (PLA) Manager (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for an Assistant Product Listing Ads (PLA...