As the old saying goes, if I had a nickel for every time...

Countless business owners tell me that the #1 reason they are not using email marketing consistently to stay connected with clients and prospects is because they are afraid of bothering them. I get it. After all, every single one of us is inundated with information. It sounds reasonable - even empathetic and caring. Is it just an excuse? My answer is YES!

The resistance seems to be similar to the aversion that most people have about cold calling. It feels like you are interrupting someone who might not take it kindly. The difference is that with cold calling that's exactly what you are doing. Interrupting. Without permission. Email marketing isn't the same thing UNLESS....

• You are sending "unsolicited" emails OR
• All you send out are cheesy sales pitches

On a recent tele-call, I reminded listeners about this notion of permission marketing. Seth Godin coined the phrase and wrote the book. And by the way...someone handing you a business card is NOT giving you permission to add them to your list.I digress.

Two things will help your email marketing be more successful.

1. Ask permission. Don't assume they want your stuff just because they gave you a card.

2. Share valuable content. In the immortal words of Guy Kawasaki...write really good shitake.

If all you do is talk about you, you, one will care. It's OK to mention your services, but that should not be the only thing you talk about. Most people worry about "how much is too much", because the focus - consciously or unconsciously - is on the sale they hope to make. Now. Instead, they should be racking their brain to come up with content that has value and creates a relationship that over time leads to sales. And you know what...that's tough to do. It takes thought and time to pull it together! Even as I write, the little gremlin in my head says...seriously Barb, you think what you are writing has value? All I can say is I hope so, and that I trust you will tell me if it isn't:)

To support what I am saying, consider this comment from fellow Inscape Distributor and Managing SkillsSource Partner, Jennifer Miller who said...

"Barb, your comments on Inscape's telecall last week really helped me re-focus and remember some of the basics; ie: permission marketing and frequency of client contact. I got a really good response of click throughs on the email campaign....and guess what, not a single mention of SkillSource products/services. And, the variety of people clicking through on this campaign was much different than some of my others. I suffer from the "don't want to bother them" issue, but you helped me put it into perspective."

I can’t tell you how many times someone has contacted me "out of the blue" for speaking opportunities or to hire me for a training program. Every single time they tell me it is because they remember me from my newsletters. It happened again this week!

Stay in front of your clients and prospects consistently. If you are currently publishing a quarterly newsletter - that's not enough. Send it monthly at a minimum; bi-weekly is even better. You just never know when someone will want to buy what you have to offer, and when they do – you want YOUR NAME to be the one they remember!

Author's Bio: 

A well known keynote speaker, author and professional with over 25 years of business experience, Barb capped a corporate sales career at Microsoft, where she led and trained sales teams and coached executives, before establishing the company in 2002. She consults, coaches and trains companies how to turn their business connections into cash using social media strategies and tools.

Barb is the Official Guide for Corporate Training at, a Sales/Marketing Faculty Expert with the Profitability Channel, an Inscape Certified DiSC® Trainer and earned her coaching certificate from The Coaches Training Institute - accredited by the International Coach Federation.She recently signed a contract with Praeger Publishing to co-author a new book titled The New Handshake™: Sales 2.0. Publication is expected Spring 2010.

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Barbara Giamanco, The Official Guide to Corporate Training.