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How To Alienate Potential Customers

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Note from Sarah: This article was originally sent via my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers receive essay style pieces like this before anyone else. Click here to subscribe!

Recently, I made a terrible mistake.

Yes, I waded into a Facebook conversation.

I know, I know… Big mistake.

In this discussion we were talking strategies for managing email lists (I am very cool obviously) and I mentioned that I have Josh got through our list in ConvertKit manually and do “hygiene”—deleting obvious “burner” addresses, fixing weird capitalization, fake names, and addresses that have never had an email open.

One man in the discussion thread was horrified at our analog approach to this and said, “Well if you’re okay with a small list, I guess that’s fine.” (Spoiler: our list isn’t small, but it is engaged because we’ve decided to devote human resources to it—since it’s one of the two online properties we actually own, this is smart business to me.)

Because I am an adult, naturally, I had to go to the person’s website and I was immediately greeted with a popup prompting me to join his list. The dismissal box said,

“No, I’d rather fail.”

And this, my friends, is exactly what I 100 percent believe is wrong with modern online marketing.

I’ve talked about this before, but it infuriates me to no end to see that marketers feel the only way to grow their businesses is by making people feel like trash, to emotionally manipulate them, and prey on their vulnerabilities.

But this is what most marketing “gurus” say you have to do to succeed.

I—and the rest of Team SM+Co—believe there’s another way, a better way. An approach that’s systematic, smart and ethical.

I truly feel that pushing against this nonsense and demonstrating that there’s another way is at the core of my business, it’s my mission. We’ll never say someone would “rather fail,” because that’s ridiculous. People are on a different journey, they want a different path, they aren’t quite there yet, or they’re just exploring right now—and that’s fine.

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