SPAM and SPAMMER: How NOT to do Digital Marketing (and What You Should Do Instead)

Have you received text messages or emails something similar below?


I get it, Rappler is trying to improve its reach, as with any other businesses out there. The problem is, other than seeing some of their articles in Facebook (I didn’t even liked their FB page), I have no engagements with Rappler, let alone giving them an email address or, worse, my phone number.

Unsolicited messages, or to put it bluntly, spamming. More annoyingly, it is in my phone, where I would only expect the most urgent of messages to come in. Most businesses don’t get that email addresses, let alone mobile phone numbers, are something personal. People only expect messages from people (or businesses) that they know.

People hate spammers, now why should you do it as a business? If you don’t have prior engagement or relationship with someone, what gives you the rights to get their email addresses or phone numbers without their consent? Do you think you would be able to sell them something by spamming them? Such activity is categorized as “hope-and-pray-it-works” and will never be worth your time or money. Sure it might work now, but it will not work the next time. Worse, if you’re on their “spam-list”, then chances of getting them as a future customer is almost zero.  This is why we don’t advocate buying or scraping off email addresses / SMS numbers online, nor subscribing to those who can “reach the right people with your messages”.

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Someone’s profiting on the business of spamming – while condemning others those who do the same. You should be permanently unavailable.

There are no prevailing laws in the Philippines that prevents spam messages – email, SMS and even phone calls. Other countries, such as the US (CAN-SPAM) and Singapore (PDPA) have laws that protects consumers from these sorts of practices and businesses are penalized heavily should someone reports as a spammer. With the impending ASEAN integration and further business globalization on the horizon, the Philippines will need (and should) implement similar laws, rendering most of these “marketing practices” illegal.

Now, what can you do and how you should do it?

The internet age have changed the marketing and selling paradigm. People doesn’t want to get sold to, or have someone telling them what they should do. They go online because they wanted to be helped out to solve a particular problem of theirs. Google is the #1 company that helps out their customers. Notice how they do it: people Google because they want something to be solved: know the answer to their question, suggest where to eat, give them images of the latest LOLcat.

Similarly, people go in to your store to solve a problem: they need new clothes, they are hungry, they want to have a good night sleep in the best hotel in Tagaytay. Most people don’t want nosy sales staff hovering around their shoulders and suggesting items that is irrelevant to what is needed. This is the same when going to your website, Facebook or Twitter page: they want to be helped out to solve a problem – not to be sold to.

In digital marketing, this would mean than every blog post, every Facebook or Twitter feed, and every marketing email should be about helping your customers (or visitors) HOW to solve a problem. Sure you are still selling, but – as most customers do, the right time to sell is when they ask you to sell – when they inquire more about your product or service, or simply asking “how much”?

So does this mean that you would forgo advertising?

Advertising is still important, especially if you are a small business or if you are targeting a niche market. You still need your business to be known anyway – no one would go to your store if no one knows how to get there. There’s no difference if you’re doing Digital Marketing – you still need to push ads out there, create your website to attract customers and sell. You just need to change your views of online advertising: People go online because they want to be helped, not to be sold to.

So, instead of your online ads saying “We have the biggest pizza in town!” be like “Hungry? Our pizza is so big it can feed a whole town!”. A simple change of message can mean big. Focus on how you can help, and not how you can sell. Attract people to your store (website, Facebook or Twitter page), have them look around, then let them decide if what they need is there.

And don’t spam. Obviously, you can’t sell something to someone who doesn’t need your product or service (yet). Worse, you can’t sell to someone in the future who has flagged you as a spammer today.

We will be discussing the power of opting-in, as compared to “spamming” in the next articles to come. Subscribe to our mailing list and/or “Like” our Facebook Page if you don’t want to miss that one out!



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