Last week my company was listed in an article on VegasInc.com titled Eight Las Vegas tech companies you probably haven't heard of. I always find it interesting to get listed in articles that aren't directly related to the WordPress community. The attention they garner is very different than, say, being mentioned on poststat.us.
What I found interesting this time around was the types of companies that contacted me after seeing us listed on VegasInc. First up, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. They didn't bother sending an email or filling out a contact form. They picked up the phone and gave me a call asking me to join the LVCC. While that was the only call, it was just the tip of the iceberg. I received a slew of emails and contact forms from people who took this as an opportunity to sell me something.
Why your ad sucked
Obviously, since the article suggested that nobody has heard of my company, what I really needed to be doing was advertising my business. I got offers of every shape and size offering to drive new business to my doorstep. If you go by my inbox, apparently SEO is the answer to all problems. Ever.
After reading through a dozen or so email offers, it finally dawned on me. The reason none of these ads was of any interest had nothing to do with what they were selling, but HOW they were selling. I'm no marketing genius, guru or rock star, but I can tell you that starting off by telling me all the things I'm doing wrong is probably not the way to my heart (or wallet). It is, however, the quickest way to the delete key.
Now, I realize that most of the people who sent me these offers are simply playing the numbers game. They send the same offer to every warm body they can in hopes of meeting some magical conversion rate. But I really think you missed a golden opportunity here.
Let me help you out
Again, for the record, I am no marketing ninja, but here are some things you could have done to actually get my attention.
Step 1. Check me out.
Yes, you clicked the link to my site, but you used it only to find the contact form. But you missed dozens of talking points. Next time, go to the blog and scroll back a few posts. Read one of them. Hell, just skim the damn thing. Pick out something even mildly interesting, or something that relates to what you're trying to sell me. “Hey John, I saw your post about underwater basket weaving. Funny coincidence, I just helped a professional basket weaver take over the top spot on google for the term ‘basket weavers.' Guess what, I'm probably going to at least read the rest of what you say in the email. That's already a win for you, because by that point, I've probably deleted the email.
Step 2. Don't send me a four page email.
In the email client I use, when I open an email I can typically see 3-4 paragraphs of text at a time. If I open your email and I'm not able to see your signature because it goes off the bottom of the screen, you've said far too much. Really want my attention, try this: Hey John, I saw you mentioned in that article. Cool. My company offers xyz service and I think it could help you [insert benefit to me]. You can check it out at [link]. Or, if you want to schedule a call at your convenience, shoot me an email with a time that works for you.
First off, I'll appreciate that you kept it short. Second, I like that you gave me options on how to move forward. You will get bonus points if make the link go directly to the page that you want me to see. Don't send me to your home page where I have to try to find what it is that you want me to see.
Step 3. Figure out what I do.
Dude. My site says I build websites. Why the fuck are you trying to sell me web development services? At best you're just dumb. At worst, insulting. Either way, FTFO.
Step 4. DO NOT EVER COLD CALL ME
I make you this promise now, if you cold call me, I will not buy your product or service. You could be offering two for one discounts on USB desktop bacon makers, I'm still not going to buy it. So if your product is less exciting than that (yes, SEO services are less exciting than bacon), guess how much of a chance you have.
So, there you go. Want to sell me something, I just gave you the blueprint.
Hysterical. I get chain emails because I am sometimes on media lists. A grapeshot approach is bound to fail with most, but many companies are too lazy to read and do the work. Permission Marketing is my favorite marketing book, and I encourage old-school companies to check it out.
Yeah, I get that people are really just shotgunning their marketing. I think if any of us were to receive an even slightly straight shooting email ad, we’d almost buy the product just out of shock.