Yesterday, my partner in crime Shelby shared her “How to market via email and social media without spamming” blog post. It’s a must-read piece for anyone who wants to market professionally online without spamming existing and potential customers.
This blog post, on the other hand, is going to be a rant. There are three specific forms of online spam I am subjected to on a regular basis that are difficult to avoid and time-consuming to deal with when you add up 20 seconds here, a minute there and multiply it out over days, weeks, months and finally years.
Stop abusing company contact forms!
The image with this post highlights the language I’ve finally felt compelled to start adding to all my contact forms. The contact form on a small business website is not intended as a back door for potential vendors looking for access to management. The contact form is a place for customers and prospective customers to communicate with the company about ongoing business issues.
I know that those who specialize in online spam choose these contact forms to promote their search engine optimization (SEO) and blog writing services will say, “Well, just ignore it if you’re not interested.” That’s in fact what I do; but let me tell a little story about how long ignoring all that online spam takes over the course of a year.
First, understand that I watch for those contact form emails because they quite often represent a sales lead of some kind. That means those communications should take priority and be addressed ASAP. So, I see a contact form email, open and start reading. I’d guess that by the time I go through that process I’ve wasted about a minute of my life I can never get back.
Now, add that minute up by the dozen or so of these pieces of useless spam junk I get each month (that’s a conservative estimate) and you have 144 minutes of my time wasted by these marketing geniuses who will never get one cent of my money. Almost two and a half hours a year, which if I convert to the value of my time to the two companies I run, is a lot of money; at least to me.
Spammy email with no one-click opt-out
It seems that the biggest offenders of email marketing that lack a one-click unsubscribe are sellers of email lists (yes, the irony is thick) and providers of offshore development services. I get no fewer than 4 to 5 of these a day. Yes, you read that correctly. These slime balls are masters at gaming the system (and quite possibly breaking the law if you could catch them).
However, if you take the time to reply that you want to unsubscribe they actually validate your email address and then just start selling it to other people’s buying lists … Seriously, it really works like that. Instead, just find that “spam” button in your email program and mark the offending pieces accordingly.
If we all do this together as a group, it becomes more and more difficult for them to operate. Large email operators now look for and tag spam providers much more quickly based on feedback from end users like us.
Keep your T&A out of my social stream please
I think the biggest offender of offering up porn I really have no desire to see right now is Twitter. It’s not really Twitter; it’s another group of brilliant slime balls who have figured out how to game the system and send me messages on Twitter even though we have no connection of any type.
That’s one of the downsides of an open network like Twitter. We have to have some faith in the human race as a whole to be ethical and moral. Well, you can see why that doesn’t always work out so well.
Again, if we band together as a group and don’t ignore it but instead flag it as spam, we make it easier for Twitter to quickly get the account closed. I’m sure it’s something Twitter is working on; but as Shelby pointed out yesterday, now the spammers mess with our chat hash tag and that spam ends up in our sidebar to your right. Yep, this week we had Twitter avatars over there with pictures of naked women. I know – very professional.
Please be ethical
Content marketing, is not just something we do to promote SheHe Media. It’s the core of our strategy consultations with clients. We try very hard to keep our white hats on when it comes to marketing online. When you see a black hat marketer, call them out or at the very least take the time to tag their spam. The more of us that do this will make it more difficult for them to operate.