stop selling start enaging

Last month the internet phone company I co-founded was sold to Vonage.

As Vocalocity rebrands itself as Vonage Small Business, Vonage will no doubt realize that it has acquired a pretty good sales machine.

Funnily enough though, even from day one, I do not attribute the company’s success to developing fancy online phone technology (which it did) but instead from a very early stage the team built a killer lead nurturing process and coupled it with a highly efficient inside sales process (which closed business hand over fist).

So, what does all this have to do with the sometimes non-sexy subject of email marketing where I’m now focusing my efforts?

Well, having helped build something in Vocalocity where a core mantra was to “sell-sell-close” in Flashissue I find myself preaching an unlikely message:

stop selling

I wanted to do something very simple with Flashissue, make it mind blowingly simple and fast to create an email newsletter.

My goal was to build it for me, the individual – aka the sales person – and not the full-time marketing manager.

While doing this I want to solve three core problems I keep hearing about. They are embodied in these 3 statements:

“I can’t do email marketing: I don’t know what to write & I don’t have time for it”

“Please don’t make me learn how to use yet another online service”

“I don’t have a “mailing list” the people I want to target are in my address book”

Out of this came Flashissue a set of advanced email marketing and content tools for Gmail and Google Apps.

The stop selling part became important when i realized that engaging with the people I want to effect is far more important than trying to sell to them all the time.

With 5 important principles I’ve found that without a huge amount of effort or marketing savy most people can make great strides in email marketing.

  1. Stop “selling” and start engaging people with something you’d want to read yourself.
  2. Your “address book” is your most important mailing list.
  3. Stop writing content for emails and start curating it from others.
  4. Commit. Be consistent and frequent – at least once a month.
  5. Stop wishing for a marketing department and go do it yourself.

An extended version of this article is posted on a great blog site called the Funnelholic, so feel free to take a peek.