NOTE: This is a repost by Willie Jackson. It's not specifically about the music business, but this is a common mistake that I see a lot of musicians make and, even if you're not making it yourself, you've likely experienced it.
If you like what Willie says and want more general marketing advice from him, check out his blog.
Following networking events, conferences, and meetups, there are usually well-intentioned followups that take place electronically as a result of business card exchanges.
Sometimes, however, people will add you to their mailing lists without your consent. In addition to being slimy and ensuring that your spam newsletter does not get read, it dehumanizes the previous interaction.
If I get a newsletter from someone whose mailing list I didn’t sign up for, I opt for one of the following approaches, depending on how I feel:
- Reporting the email as spam
- Unsubscribing from the newsletter, indicating in the process (if it allows for feedback) that I didn’t sign up for it in the first place
- Replying to the sender and asking if they added me to their list without my consent
The last one might be a little surprising, but I think it’s a teachable moment, and a little discomfort never hurt anyone (much). I once inquired of a spammer sender (who fit the profile of someone whom I might have crossed paths with) if he and I had met. His reply? “No, but I would like to.”
Sometimes people will be offended if you request removal from their lists, and I think that’s fine. Spam is a problem, and I have no problem aggressively guarding my inbox against unsolicited mail from dishonest marketers. It’s tactics like those that give people a general distaste of marketing in the first place.
And if someone I don’t know adds me to a mailing list I didn’t sign up for and provides no mechanism for unsubscribing (which is illegal, of course), I just report the message as spam, occasionally letting the sender know this by replying to the message.