quit trying to sell me more stuff provide valueYesterday I was enjoying a nice Friday afternoon finishing up the work of the week and then taking a couple hours off before a big meeting this weekend. Friday is usually a day when I start to unwind from the week and take everything into perspective. I am usually already working on refocusing for next week to ensure we are staying to true to our objectives and vision.

Friday is also a day I completely turn all thoughts on inspiring others to clear their minds for the weekend to turbo! My content on the social networks on Friday is less formal, more personal (not that it's ever formal, ha). I focus on helping my followers feel empowered, energized and excited to take on life and biz in the week ahead. I inspire them to “take a weekend” and enjoy life so they can come back refreshed.

Just because I trust you with my email or as a LinkedIn connection doesn't mean you should spam me.
As I enjoyed my Friday afternoon I couldn't help but notice how my iPhone was consistently buzzing and beeping. I was receiving message after message from business leaders and entrepreneurs whom I have entrusted my email address to. The messages were coming from email and LinkedIn.

There were a few in particular that grabbed my attention more than others. Unfortunately it wasn't because they were good. It was because they were complete spam.

I received messages to join groups, purchase SEO services, get a mortgage, attend events, buy a new book being launched and even another invite for a Microsoft Excel training courses that I had received a couple times already throughout the week.  None of the emails I received focused on any value to me. None of them even mentioned how they could help my business. Instead they were focused on “me, me me” in regard to the person sending them.  Nothing about “me” the recipient. #fail

Hello people, have you thought about getting to know me first? For the LinkedIn spammers, I never asked for your emails. I never signed up for your newsletter so please don't assume that because I entrusted you as a LinkedIn contact the right for you to spam me every Friday afternoon.

What happened to hello, my name is “insert name here”, how are you today? Why don't you build a relationship with me? Why don't you offer me something useful before you spam me on Facebook groups, LinkedIn and email? Why don't you provide me more value?

My advice to everyone reading this is to not spend your time thinking about how you can your audience, clients and partner more stuff.  Instead focus on what value you can offer them above and beyond what everyone else is doing.  Imagine if you did that? Imagine if you offered a whitepaper that can help me grow my business for download via your LinkedIn account? I might just sign up for your newsletter?! What if you provided me a video with tips on how I could do something more quickly in Excel to help my clients. Or even better how  about a blog post that provides an integrated set of content to help me such as a whitepaper, video, case study and a comprehensive blog post with free tips? Now we're talking. Now you might be providing me value versus trying to sell me something.

Remember every brand touch and communication you have with me is a reflection of you and your brand. Just because you “can” spam me doesn't mean that you should.

10 Tips To Provide Value vs. Sell More Stuff

1. Know your audience. Everything always comes back to your audience. Who are they? What are their demographics? What do they do for business? Who do they serve? What tools do they use? What tools do they need? What other products do they use that are similar to yours?

2. How can you provide value to your audience and target markets? You can not and will not ever know the answer to this question unless you take the time to know and understand your audience.  Invest in the people. Invest in understanding how you can inspire them. How can you help them? What makes them tick? How can you connect with them in a more intimate way? How can you help them meet a business goal? Solve a problem? Provide better service to their customer?

3. Keep the message value focused. Don't just send me an email telling me to check out your “world class” training class. What is world class anyway? I thought that was a word that got stomped in the early 90's? What is it that your class can do for me and my business? Why are your SEO services better than your competition that also sent me three messages this week and a video with an awesome blog post with free tips?

4. Provide a reason for me to more intimately connect with you. If you are a contact on LinkedIn, don't spam me every week. Send me one message if you must insist but focus on inspiring me to further connect with you. How about a whitepaper for download that I simply can't resist that I must provide my email address to you. Bingo! Now you have my email and I have opted into receive more communication from you.

5. Develop an editorial calendar. The better you organize your editorial calendar to your objectives with a focus on inspiring, connecting and providing value to your audience the better your results will be. If you find yourself send out spammy emails or LinkedIn messages a the last minute because you didn't take time to plan, an editorial calendar can do amazing things for both you and your audience.

6. Develop a plan. Know your own business. Develop an integrated plan that supports your business goals and objectives. Avoid random acts of marketing (RAMs) at all costs. Focus on an integrated plan of both offline and online marketing that delivers a consistent but forward moving message to connect you with your audience.

7.  Leave them wanting more. If I don't get to the end of the email or LinkedIn message from you and am either inspired or wanting more then you have failed. The chances of me taking action on your behalf are slim to none if this doesn't happen.  Leave me with something to think about. Leave me with a value nugget that I want to look at when I get back to home base on my laptop versus iPhone.

8. Don't repeat the same message over and over. Yes, I know you think your services are the best thing since sliced bread. However, so do all of your competitors. Guess what… one of them already provides me value. They don't send me the same message every other day asking me to buy the same thing like you do.

9. Talk to me like a human being. Don't talk to me like I am a buyer on the cheesiest used car lot in Detroit.  Instead treat me like a friend, a professional, somebody you know and respect.  Don't talk to me like a bank ATM that your only objective is to withdraw money.

10.  Be real. We know your business is probably struggling or you wouldn't be sending me a message every other day.  Share something about yourself. Help me get to know you. It could be if I got to know you I would be better able to help you as well. I could probably help you tweet your content to a broader audience or provide you tips on how to actually connect with me. Don't pretend you are on top of the world if in reality you need help.  Share your ups and downs with me in a newsletter. Invite me into your brand and I might just stay awhile!


Your Turn

What tips can you offer others for providing value? Are you also seeing the increase in LinkedIn spam from people who you know and thought you could trust? Are you focusing as much as you should on your audience and providing them real value?