From the outside, we know spam when we see it: links in comments that have nothing to do with conversations, emails that we didn’t ask for and aren’t interested in, and constant, high-pressure attempts to sell, sell, sell.

But from the inside, it can be harder to tell if the marketing we’re doing is spammy or responsible. Oh, sure, there are some easy clues. If you’re copying and pasting the same comment on a dozen websites, you definitely need to take a long look at the integrity of your tactics. Just to have a profile or post random things on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn is not marketing.

But if you’re truly not sure, how do you determine whether or not you’re spamming?

Listen to Peter and Jonathan chat with Cameron (who HATED our YouTube ad) on The Bcast, Bplan’s official podcast:
Click here to subscribe to The Bcast on iTunes »

How many times have you asked?

Remember when you were a kid, and you’d ask your mother for the same thing over and over, trying to wear her down so that she’d change her answer? It probably didn’t work out for you then, so why would you try this marketing technique now?

Offer your service to your customers and then back away. Trust that if they’re interested, they’ll come to you.

If you’ve created the best possible content, the kind that grabs them by the seat of their pants and won’t let them go, you’re all set. If you haven’t, then it won’t make a difference how many times you send the same email.

Are you the best person to do this job?

I was recently approached by a friend who is starting up a new business. He’s struggled for several months to get his content where it needs to be. When he approached me to ask my advice, I was surprised to find out he was still trying to write all of his own newsletters, social media posts, and blog entries, as well as actually run his business.

My advice to him? Delegate. Hire a marketing manager or outsource your marketing and let them do the work.

In our Western culture, there’s a strong push to pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps, to do it all, and to do it better than anyone. But whenever you talk to successful entrepreneurs, you hear the opposite. If you’re not great at something, find someone who is. Let them do the part they’re great at while you do the part you’re great at.

It’s absolutely okay to not be great at every single thing.

Are your customers engaging?

Do your customers respond to your blog posts? Do your social media posts move the needle for sales and conversions? Have you clearly defined your metrics for success with your online marketing, and are you seeing increases in the appropriate areas?

If not, one of the factors you need to consider is the potential quality of your posts and content. Although we are all aware that businesses are in the business of making money, we rarely, as consumers, want to feel like we’re nothing more than sales numbers or representations of dollars flowing into and out of the company coffers. Spammy, low quality content reminds us that everyone out there is trying to sell us something, and often puts us off the content that we actually might otherwise have been interested in.

When nothing’s working, take a close, hard look at what your business is doing, and start to consider whether there are places where you’re spamming your potential customers, instead of inviting them under the tent and into the circle.

When you offer your services instead of pushing a hard sell, and welcome engagement with your customers instead of demanding that they listen as you tell them what’s available, you’re much more likely to create long term customer loyalty that will see your business through all the times yet to come.

Have you caught yourself accidentally engaging in spammy marketing tactics? What did you do to fix it? 

AvatarMargarita Hakobyan

CEO and founder of, an online marketplace of local moving companies and storage facilities. Business woman, wife and mother of two with bachelor's degree from the University of Utah with a concentration in International Studies and a Masters Degree also from the University of Utah with a degree in International business.