There are two things I cannot abide: liars and thieves.
This is a story about a liar.
Last night, I got an email from an internet marketing company who knows nothing about marketing and nothing about me. How do I know? I simply read his marketing email to me.
It started like this:
I’ve been following your blog for some time now and I just had an idea that I think you’re going to like.[Uh oh. Reminds me of guys who would come up to me in a bar in college and say, “Hey, I bet you’d love to dance with me.” I’ve never heard of this guy before and already he has an offer I can’t refuse.]
We help companies double their sales using Internet marketing tactics such as Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing and Pay per Click.[Whoa, Nellie! Isn’t this the same work Aly and I do for our clients? But he said he’d been reading my blog “for some time now,” so why doesn’t he know this about me? After all, there’s a category on my blog called Internet Marketing. ]
I’d love to work with your clients to help them grow their businesses.[I bet.]
Obviously, you wouldn’t recommend someone you don’t know, so I’d like to analyze your website and Internet marketing strategy, and put together an Online Marketing Plan for you.
Okay, now I’m laughing so hard, I’m sliding off my chair. Had he read my website, he would have known:
- I teach classes and give speeches on Internet Marketing Strategy and SEO.
- 90% of my marketing is done via the internet.
- I have excellent rankings on Google for “small business coaching,” “small business consulting services,” and “mastermind group” — I don’t really need SEO help, thanks very much.
Then I stop laughing. And a weird angry-calm comes over me. This guy is a liar and I hate that. He doesn’t care diddly-squat about me and my business, he just wants someone to help him make sales for his company.
Good Marketing is About Building Relationships First
The first mistake he made was not really getting to know me before he tried to sell me something. One of the internet marketing gurus says it’s akin to meeting someone new and saying, “Wanna get married?” in the first five minutes of conversation.
Rule #1: Create rapport with your customer. Get to know them. Strike up a conversation in their blog comments, in Twitter or Facebook, in online message forums, or via email. Meet them at events. Go out and give speeches or classes, then chat with the participants afterwards. Let them know you exist and you’ve got some great resources to share.
Find Common Ground
Rule #2: See if your prospective customer has a problem you can help solve or a dream you can help fulfill. Don’t assume they have a problem or dream: ask them.
No Speed Dating Allowed
Rule #3: Stop trying to make the sale in the first conversation. Relax and enjoy the unfolding of a new relationship. Don’t look desperate and don’t hurry them along just to get your needs met. Always, always, always look for a win-win.
Did I tell you the story about when I ran into a thief on the Internet?
Oh, so what did I do with the email? I let my assistant handle it. She’s so much more diplomatic than I am!
Oh my! Sounds like a door-to-door salesman. They come and interrupt your day (usually while you’re trying to have dinner with your family), and they have THE product you’ve been looking for.
Yeah, right. You’ve just meet me. How do you know I NEED what you’re selling???
Rule #1 is where they missed the boat to begin with. Well, that and lying. I definitely agree with you – lying will get you nowhere in my book.
At first I was just going to delete the email, Heather, but then I realized it was the perfect opportunity to show bad marketing at its best. 🙂
I’ve started getting phone calls from guys like this (and yes, they are almost always men.) Yuck! People are getting more desperate I guess…
I’m getting those phone calls, too, Terri. I wonder if companies are hiring “marketing firms” to implement their marketing for them, and these marketing firms simply robo-dial small biz owners from a list, or visit websites from pre-ordained keywords? In any case, they haven’t heard the news: the way to market these days is with “relationship marketing.” 🙂
I’ve received emails like this as well that start out the same way “I’ve been reading your blog for a while . . . blah blah”. As I don’t have anywhere near the rankings as you do, this surprised me the first time I got one but I thought – wow, ok – even though I could tell they hadn’t REALLY read it based on what the rest of the email said. They want me to include a link to their site/product/whatever in return for a link to their “high ranking” site (which, when I researched it, wasn’t). At first, I thought it was an interesting idea that a small business owner came up with, then realized it wasn’t. The worst thing, I think, about this sort of thing is that I pretty much delete/block just about any email even remotely resembling this now unless I personally know them because there’s so much out there that is a scam.
Liz, you have a point. I think I need to add something to my site and voicemail that says, “I’m not looking for any JV partners or service vendors at this time.” Think it will help? 🙂
I have been noticing an accelerated increase in the number of slimey, salesy emails that I receive in my inbox each day – and several by voice mail as well! This is what gives sales such a bad rap!
Looks like its time to stop deleting and start unsubscribing again!
Same thing happening here, Ann! With the emails, it’s easy to tell which ones to simply delete. With the phone calls, they simply leave their name and phone number, and it’s hard to know which ones are genuine prospects and which ones are marketing calls. I changed my outgoing voicemail message to say something like, “Please leave a detailed message about how we can help you so that your call can be forwarded to the correct person.” 🙂
thank you Karen for bringing this to light. I have had quite a debate between the fantastic guys who are building my site, who are very much the ‘build slowly and allow your market to get to know you’ style vs. the internet marketer guy who I look to to guide my product to market. I find myself being quite torn; but I know what feels right and what I want to represent and stand behind for a long time not a JV one night fling.
When you used the word ‘slimey’ in your facebook post it caught my eye because I so want to avoid slimey.
Slimey may make many monies, but through it all and in the end, was it good?
Anyway, thanks for bringing this alive:)
Ah, Lisa, I love that…”a JV one night fling.” Feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it?
There’s no need to be manipulative in marketing…it’s an honest conversation where we tell others, “I can help you with your problem.” But when marketers start to lie to us blatently, it’s time to hit that Ol’ Delete Key. 🙂
Trust your gut instinct…if something doesn’t feel right, figure out why, right?
I hear you Karyn. In addition to my business consultancy I also have a translating and text revision business. One day I get an e mail from a company offering me their translation services – it’s not clear whether they are offering their services as a translator in case I need an extra resource or if they are offering my business their translation services. So – just to satiisfy my curiosity – so I write back and ask what services they are offering. Seems they can translate my website so that it is bilingual (it is already) and they can translate my documents (I write them in French or in English depending in my audience). I write to tell them this. No response. No apology. Then I get the same e mail every couple of months. I write to suggest they read up on spamming not to mention how not to pormote your business. Errrrk ! So many people out there who need to learn how not to market, how not to try to sell. The problem is, they don’t seem to realise that they have this to learn.
Oh and I bet you too get new friends on facebook who immediately spew their sales pitch over your wall the second you accept them as a friend. I unfriend and delete the wall message.
Gillian, don’t you just want to say, “Ewwwwww!” sometimes? These people are either so self-absorbed, or so desperate, that they don’t care whether they freak people out. I know…there’s a fine line between “enough” email marketing and “too much” email marketing, and each individual has his/her tolerance level. But getting an email from them every day? Sheesh!
Maybe they’ve always been there, but as a Realtor, I get more and more phone calls and emails all the time. People want to sell me their no-fair prospecting system or their lead generation system, or just LEADS for that matter.
They assume that the market and the economy have driven us to desparation, and we’ll bite. As if we didn’t already have enough to spend our marketing dollars.
Ali R. Rodriguez
These guys are getting better thant the good old “used car salesmen” – It makes me want to miss them! – I have a similar situation as Gillian’s where some of my articles and specific pages are in Spanish, including a tab that clearly states so, and yet, every so often I get the same BS email, almost identical to the last. I used to delete them, now I forward them back to the sender. If it comes back as a mailer daemon, I report it. Most of them, though, really get returned back to sender, so it has slowed down the spamming.
And then there are the phone calls. Some are even trying to represent legitimate Coaching schools and the like; I simply tell them “One moment please, while I go get Ms. Rodriguez for you”, and let the phone off the hook until they get exasparated and eventually hang up. – Those particular phone calls have stopped, once I decided NOT to engage them in any kind of conversation whatsoever. – Hope my feedback helps.
I agree with everything you wrote. What puzzles me is that even though evolution is very fast on the internet, so many people haven’t yet evolved out of this type of marketing. You would think they’d be extinct by now…
There is an old rule of media marketing that says that you have to see (or hear) a commercial SEVEN times before it makes an impression (be it good or bad). Perhaps they feel the same applies when they send out this junk mail.
Forgetting the 400,000+ emails I get per month for “health aids” and such (one ISP dropped me because I was clogging their email servers), there seems to be a group that is insistent that THEY are THE marketing gurus for my industry and can propel me to number one in my industry while I sit on a beach just taking orders. If it were that easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it? Business-in-a-box doesn’t work for everyone anymore, including McDonalds.
Anyway, I digress. A couple of pointers for marketers…
#1 – Thank you for your inquiry. If I find your offer interesting, I’ll subscribe to your blog and/or email updates. DON’T take the liberty (without my permission) of adding me to your mailing list without my requesting it. Just because YOU think it’s interesting doesn’t mean that I will.
#2 – Make it easy for me to unsubscribe. If I DO subscribe (or find that you’ve subscribed ME) and find out what you’re doing just isn’t for me, make it easy for me to be like Elvis and exit the building. Don’t have links to here, there and everywhere (if I can find them) to ask me if I’m sure. Trust me… I’M SURE. For those that do make it difficult, I just adjust my email filters to take any mail sent to me by their domain (i.e. *@iamstupid.com) directly to the trashcan (do not pass go… do not collect two hundred dollars).
#3 – Respect my time and learn what I’m doing to see if we’re a match. Don’t try to impose your business model upon me. Maybe we can do business together… maybe not. Take the time to learn what I’m doing before you give me your elevator speech about how your product dices and slices. I particularly love the marketing phone calls I get from people who sound extremely anxious and motivated… to get off MY call and onto the next one.
Great post, Karyn!
I can’t tell you how many emails and phone calls I would receive from people swearing they saw my website and could help me market my ‘pet supply products’ — This was for my freelance design business I previously ran, simply because I had ‘cat’ in the name of my business.
All I could think was ‘yeah, sure. If you’d REALLY looked at my site, you’d know that I’m a graphic designer and that you’re an idiot.’
And, I get at least 3-4 emails and phone calls a week from people trying to sell their website design services to me.
It’s unreal the companies that get away with such blatant spamming and lies. They’re either completely oblivious, or very ballsy.
To be honest, I’m thinking it’s both. But, either way, it’s annoying and aggravating.
Thanks for the heads up.
I fell for a one-day intensive get-your-business-up-and-running-including-all-the-nuts-and-bolts. From the website name to incorporating my concept, etc. etc.
Over $10,000 US later, I had to go back to square one.
The slow, steady approach is what is working for me now.
I’m very very leery now.
What I like about your site and products is that they don’t promise the moon, aren’t flashy – yet deliver what they say they will deliver.
I’m so very aware of not taking any of my clients for a ride.
My goal: is to give way more than promised. I don’t ever want a single one of my clients to feel like I felt – taken advantage of and used.
Keep up the great content.
I have been self-employed since 1981 either full-time or part-time, and in all those years I have never seen a “system” that can start people from square one and go to outrageous success in one day. Not even in one month. 🙂
I agree: slow and steady wins the race.
Pushy marketers – I do not like. I don’t like to be pressured. The sad thing is this works on some people who may think others know what they need more than they no themselves. Take the time to know yourself. Choose what is useful and what to ignore.
Build a relationship, get to know the person, and watch it unfold – I like that.
Thanks Karyn for posting such a great topic. I was away from my office for 6 days and found upon my return that 80% of emails were from nasty people such as you describe. In fact I had most of them send to spam already but learned that my cable company does not automatically delete spam messages I wasted so much time sorting out what belonged to me or not.
However, I also learned that I must officially unsubscribe (assuming that’s what is needed) not simply send them to spam.
As always, I learn from my own errors. Thanks, Karyn
Helga, if it were me, I would not officially unsubscribe from emails that I don’t know are legitimate, as clicking on any link within the email may send you to a site with malicious software on it. If you don’t know the sender, I would mark them as spam and block the sender from sending you any more using your email system software. If they’re legitimate, they will get notification on their end that their emails to you are marked as spam and they can manually remove you from their list.
Thanks Karyn. I had no idea that the senders were going to receive notice of my spamming them. How unprofessional – I never cease to be amazed. Actually, Karyn, after I had written my response above, I found a great article about this very subject on your website – a veritable library!
Keep going and stay “weighty” in your knowledge, teaching, and passion for assisting me – all of us.
This is GREAT, Karyn. I get those kinds of emails plus lately I get a lot of calls from SEO companies saying that Google ASKED them to call me so that I could increase my Google rank…Like you, I’m already on page one for many of my keywords. They say that they have looked me up and reviewed my site and have suggestions to improve my ranking. Such blatant lies, and they never apologize, they stick to their script no matter what I say so now I just hang up. Clearly, they have purposely chosen to ignore all ethics. That sad thing is, I bet it works in the sense that some people actually do buy their services. Thanks for putting the word out about scams!
And ditto to other comments – your site (and you) are FABULOUS! : )
Aw, thanks, Ariane! 🙂
Hey Karyn – I love this artical and once I figure out how to retweet it – it shall be done!.
It might be an idea for you post a Top 10 tips list on what to look out for from these guys. I’m sure it would be useful to have on our desks.
Many thanks for this post.
Thanks for re-tweeting it, Jennifer! And I love your idea of a Top 10 list for finding good JV partners (and staying away from the badies). I’ll add it to my editorial calendar.