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Legitimately Promoting Your Site On The 'net
I was spammed today by someone pushing an employment site. This isn't uncommon at all. The site they were promoting was unprofessional, looking like it was thrown together in about 5 minutes using MS word and there were several "Coming Soon" links. This isn't unusual, either. I sent her (the spammer) a note telling her that not only was she spamming, she was spamming a very poorly thought out site with little content and terrible design. We're still not at the unusual stage, yet.
What prompted me to write this article was the fact that she wrote back. She was apologetic for bothering me, saying that she was only trying to promote a site that was beneficial to those seeking jobs and that she found my name and email address from an online directory. Since she took the time to actually reply in person to me, I got the impression that she was yet another new web business owner, trying desperately to get the word out about her new service at the lowest cost possible.
This is not only not unusual, but depressingly common. It used to be, not too many years ago, that when you received commercial email in your in-box, it was at least a semi-genuine attempt to promote a legitimate business. You don't need me to tell you that the trillions of spam mails sent out over the past couple of years have completely ruined email as a legitimate, or even effective, method of first-contact business promotion.
So what are you supposed to do when you've got a hot new online business, little to no promotional budget and a burning desire to succeed ? Some people turn to spamming, thinking that while it is distasteful, it is a low-cost method to reach millions of people. Some even rationalize that those they tick off with their spam weren't going to be customers anyway - how naive this thought process is!
It's not just that you're annoying, aggravating and angering millions of people at once - even that some businesses can live with - it's the fact that some people - like me - get so annoyed with spam that we take the extra ten seconds out of our day to forward the spam to the spammers mail AND web provider. Most legitimate ISPs absolutely cannot afford to have entire IP blocks blacklisted by Real Time Blackhole operators that it is simpler and more cost-effective to simply cancel the offending spammer's email and web accounts without notice.
Some people figure "Well, I'll just get a new web provider and a new ISP" - but they fail to think about the double-whammy in doing that: Out of the millions of unsolicited mails they sent, they may well have recieved a few legitimately interested customers. In the time that their ISP has cancelled their web and email accounts and they restart with a new ISP, however, those legitimate responses were lost - deleted by an annoyed ISP. Now you've got people who are even more ticked off with you because they actually replied to your message, but you never replied back to them - because you were shut down - forever causing them, your potential customers, to go out of their way to avoid your outfit.
It is a shame that so many people think that the Internet operates in a vacuum - they forget that the Internet is just one tool of the business person - it should be used in conjunction with the rest of your business acumen to achieve success. For example, I have recently started a small venture on my own called White Water Classifieds - I know the classifieds and auction market online is saturated - I'm doing this to prove a couple of points to myself:
My point is that this site I'm working on is like, in it's concept, a thousand others - but I'm going to generate at least a moderate amount of success for it without resorting to spamming the living daylights out of people. If, in the possibility that I fail at achieving success for this site, I'll leave this article up and post a follow-up as to what I did wrong. Don't count on it, though :)
So what can you do to promote your site legitimately?
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Tags: E-commerce and Internet