Nobody likes to be intruded on.

In an era where people have access to DVRs to skip commercials, subscription services that forgo ads altogether, and spam filters that block email just for seeming like spam, actually engaging with customers can seem like a challenge. Many people are naturally predisposed toward avoiding any form of marketing communication.

It’s because so much of it just feels intrusive. There’s a rather appropriate term for it actually: intrusive marketing.

To put it simply, you want to avoid intrusive marketing at all costs. It’s not going to benefit your business in any way, and can actively tarnish your brand in the eyes of both current and potential customers.

Here’s five easy ways to avoid intrusive marketing.

Ask for permission. By far, the easiest way to avoid seeming intrusive, is to ask your customers for permission before sending them marketing communication. Obviously, not everything requires permission (you wouldn’t get permission from every person you’re sending a postcard promotion to in a specific area), but there are specific forms of communication that tend to feel intrusive when no permission has been asked.

Make it easy to unsubscribe. Receiving an email newsletter every so often feels much less intrusive when there’s a clear, visible, and easy method to unsubscribe. Just having the option available makes the communication feel that much less intrusive. It demonstrates that the brand understands that a customer’s time is valuable. It also gives the customer a sense of control. It’s communication that they’ve allowed to go through. It’s not intrusive, because they could get rid of it whenever they feel like it.

Be relevant to your audience. The more relevant your message is, the more likely it is to not be viewed as intrusive. Stronger audience targeting improves relevancy. This is why a deep understanding of your audience is so crucial. If an advertisement isn’t directly relevant to an audience, it feels like a piece of content that’s not meant for them. It shouldn’t be there in the first place. It’s intrusive.

Provide value. Want to really avoid seeming intrusive? Provide value. When a customer sees something they could stand to benefit from, it’s hard to feel intruded on. Examples could include a discount code, a free month for a subscription, or even a notification for a flash sale.

Cut down on spam techniques. You could be doing everything right. You’ve asked for permission, made it easy to unsubscribe, provided relevancy, and even added value. But all of that can be undone if you a customer thinks you’re spamming them.

Avoiding spam techniques isn’t difficult. Don’t send emails in ALL CAPS. Don’t communicate too much. In many cases, less is more. Don’t seem too pushy. Appear professional. Avoiding spam techniques is a good idea to begin with. Not just because customers will find you intrusive, but because, like I mentioned earlier, there are spam filters that will stop your emails from even showing up in the first place.

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What strategies has your business taken to avoid intrusive marketing? Let us know in the comments!