As all of you may have read in this blog before, I have published my book "The Healing Elephant" (in Dutch) at the end of last year. As this was done on a non-commercial, print-on-demand basis, I need to do the marketing for it myself. I therefore came up with a direct marketing experiment a month ago to see how this would work out. The results a pretty interesting. What I did was basically go through portals where NLP coaches and counselers like myself publish links to their websites. I visited all those websites and collected (and best-guessed) e-mail addresses for those people. In that way, I collected around 180 addresses of Dutch and Belgian people who share a similar background with me (and this took me several hours). This is a pretty highly focussed target group, so all people on the list should have some interest in what I have written. So I prepared a decent email to make them aware of the existence of my book and sent it out to them under my own name, with my company name and URL listed in my signature. And it had the following effects. - Five addresses bounced. I had to guess a few based on the domain-name of their sites, so this was to be expected. - Four people requested me in one way or the other to take them off my mailing list. Given that this was a one-time mailing, that was easily done. - One out of the previous four accused me of using spam and told me it was illegal to do so. This made me look up the legal rules and those say that spam is defined as unwanted mail generated without human intervention without the option to unsubscribe from it or an address listed to file complaints to. Given that there were several hours of human intervention involved and I sent out the message with my full contact details, I don't think my email could be qualified as spam. - One person reacted enthusiastically and stated he worked pretty much in line with the contents of my book and would be happy to stay in contact (yay!). - The effects of this eMarketing campaign were interesting: my book's website got 10x as many hits right after the campaign than before. This declined rapidly afterwards, of course. Most interestingly, though, my book sales in January soared and was twice as high as in the previous month, i.e. right after the launch. Conclusion: eMarketing works. There is a fine line between sending out messages like this and real spam, though, so the ethical boundaries need to be verified. What surprises me, is that people who publish their e-mail address on the Internet don't seem to realise that this invites people to send email to them. Also, people who complain about unwanted mail forget about rule number one: never react to spam, just ignore it.