Promoting Something? Here’s Some Advice.

My blog is not nearly as popular as some other websites in the industry. But I regularly get emails from people through my contact form, asking about various things, including:

  • Link exchanges
  • Buying text links
  • Advertising on my site
  • Paying me to post a product review
  • …and so on…

I understand why business owners are trying to do these things, and a few of these are legitimate business practices. It’s not easy getting a startup off the ground, and it’s not easy for a new company, product, or service, to get SEO-driven traffic. I feel your pain, I really do. We all face these issues.

But 99% of the people who contact me about these things haven’t got a clue about human relations. It’s annoying, because not only does it waste time for both of us, but it also takes away a legitimate opportunity for me to actually consider whatever it is they’re offering.

So if you are in the business of cold-contacting people online to promote your product or service, here is a very simple piece of advice:

Tell me what your product is.

I can’t believe how many vague emails I get that sound like this:

Hi, we would like to have one of our product review on your blog ImpressiveWebs. Do you allow sponsored reviews? How much does it cost?

The above is a real email I got about 1 minute before beginning to write this post. I get so many of these, and they sound like they’re all written by the same person.

For the love of all things good and pure, fill in some pertinent details! Why should both of us waste time exchanging 3 or 4 emails before I even know what it is you want to advertise? Even if I did publish sponsored articles (which I don’t; but it certainly is tempting in this age of ad blockers), there are some things that I would never publish. I have to know what your product is, otherwise you’re just wasting my time. In most cases, I won’t even respond to these emails, I’ll just insta-delete (which, interestingly, saves me tons of time).

This applies to anything you are emailing me about: Sponsored articles, link exchanges, text link buying, etc. It’s not that difficult, really. Just tell me about the product, and send me a link or two.

I know that many of these requests do not come from the companies providing the services, but instead a marketing company makes these requests in their behalf. But truthfully, this is even more surprising, since it’s the marketing company’s job to open these doors of opportunity. With these vague emails, they’re harming their clients’ chances of getting any exposure.

Of course, nobody should resort to this type of thing. Most of these requests are for spammy products and services that I would never want associated with my website. But even so, if these emails were specific, considerate, and written in a more down-to-earth manner, I would be much more likely to give them a minute or more of my time.

From this point on, whenever I get an email like the one above, I will be directing them to this post.

Web Tools Weekly

14 Responses

  1. hi Louis, u are absolutely right,like u said even my blog is not that popular but the emails asking for guest posts and sponsored reviews are too much and I even lost the PR of one of my nice blog due to stupid guest posts….

    • You should be able to just delete the guest post, and that should fix it. But maybe you have other inboiund/outbound links that are causing the problem. Use Google Webmaster tools to disavow certain inbound links, if necessary:

      But be sure to use that feature carefully. Read the notice on the page.

      • Glen:

        Agree, delete the guest post. Though be careful of using the Google SEO disavow process. First try and get the backlinks removed by approaching the webmaster of the site(s) linking to yours. If that does not work, consider disavowing.

  2. Louis, that’s normal I think. You are not alone. The same also for other people.
    About 95% of my emails are advertising, junk or useless email.
    The same percent also for my SMS on my mobile phone.
    The same number also for my clients in out office, most people call us, are not potential customers.

    In past there was not such situation and things were better of course.
    I think we should live with this situation.

  3. Josh:

    Also, direct promotion rarely makes good results. It is better to do something for other people first before offering them something.

  4. I’m with you on this, Louis. I get these emails EVERY single day, and some of them just seem pathetic and failed attempts at grasping some common sense. I mean, it’s so easy to see people who’re genuinue, and people who’re literally sending out the same email to hundreds of people at a time.

    I’d rather focus hard on quality, than on crappy quantity ;-)

    Great analysis!

    – Shawn

  5. adam:

    It’s exactly right that too often many marketing companies are turning people off to their client’s products by generating, vague and spammy emails.

  6. You are so right. You can tell just by looking at the subject of those emails whether they are spam or real ones. Try to be as real as possible, don’t just copy paste the same thing and send it to hundreds of webmaster. Nobody will respond to them.

    Write separate application for every individual webmaster. If you don’t bother to write a separate application then also nobody will bother to read.

    Thanks for sharing this precious information.

  7. Hi, Great to hear that you get so much offers.
    Even my website is not that much popular it’s average but I get a lot of guest post offers in exchange for exposure, though exchanging links I never got such offer. But look forward to it.

  8. Louis, it happens and it will. I am not a blogger but I am having my own business blog and website which is ranking high for competitive local keywords related to my business. I used to get these types of emails with vague requests of link exchanges, guest posts, product reviews etc. I instantly delete all those unsolicited junk emails and if I get anything spurious, I even mark them spam. Thanks for sharing your own experience.

  9. Same here, but personally I would rather spent a minute or two to read their highlight offer first :)
    and as you said “It’s not easy getting a startup off the ground, and it’s not easy for a new company, product, or service, to get SEO-driven traffic. I feel your pain, I really do.”
    they just victim of the “nowadays”online marketing system :)
    but overall, Thanks for feel our pain :) cheers

  10. You are absolutely right, that is a waste of time for both parties.

  11. Really a great piece of advice, this would really helped.

  12. Affiliate:

    I wanted to contact you about a newsletter paid inclusion but I have changed my mind after reading this post.

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