Dear Email Diva,
I came across an example of what I would commend as a way to marry green as a reward for a simple "mundane" task, while simultaneously, albeit subtly, "guilting" you into compliance with the request. Even if a company is offering something in return for updating your profile that's for yourself, you can usually ignore it without much guilt, but jeez, here's a company making it easy for me to be greener -- heck, look at the baby tree, helpless until I plant him -- just for updating my profile. Now is that too much to ask? Of course not.
I must go now, because even though I'm not actually a real prospect for Company X, I owe them the clarification, and that baby tree the chance at life.
Update: Unfortunately, the sign-up dropped the ball in my opinion. I think that knowing who on your list is not a viable prospect for you is as valuable at times as knowing who is, so your targeting is effective. But, the landing page gave me absolutely ZERO opportunity to identify myself as anything other than their target market. No way for me to tell them I'm just a lurker and not to worry about wasting their efforts nurturing me.
Dear Green Girl,
Thank you for highlighting this smart approach. As the Email Diva mentioned in this column, I believe that combining commercial and charitable interests is a win-win-win for the corporation, the charity and the consumer.
As I have warned in other columns, however, one must be careful about offering incentives of such broad appeal that they encourage people to sign up for email regardless of their interest in your product or service.
You say you are not a legitimate prospect for Company X, but have a professional interest in the company, and should have been able to indicate this. Did they really "drop the ball"? Once someone has subscribed to an email program (without bribes or sleight of hand), the company should be able to assume that this person has an interest in them. There will always be a small portion of subscribers with other motivations: competitors, vendors, journalists, etc. But these people are still looking for company messages. If non-prospects were able to identify themselves as such, what should the company send them via email?
For companies that use email subscription as the first step in a lead generation program, however, identifying "lurkers" will prevent salespeople from wasting time.
So the Email Diva says, good for Company X for improving its targeting while contributing to the greater good. Go green and...
The Email Diva
Send your questions or submit your email for critique to Melinda Krueger, the Email Diva, at email@example.com. All submissions may be published; please indicate if you would like your name or company name withheld.