This weekend, I was the subject of a spammy marketing practice. Now, call me naÃ¯ve, but I always respond to people who email me for help - college students, people looking to start their own businesses and those with questions about marketing. I love to help people and legitimately spend time answering their questions. So when I got the email below, it didn't cross my mind that this could be part of a less than reputable marketing practice.
I hope you are well and I'm sorry for bothering you...I found you online and was intrigued.
I'm currently researching business opportunities/ideas with the hopes of finding something I can do from home full-time.
Your business sounds interesting - could you tell me about yourself and how well you're doing in your present business?
Thanks so much!
Of course, I'm thinking that this person needs to do a little homework on their skills and passions to decide which business to pursue. Although the email did cause me to think about it a bit, I have received legitimate messages similar to this one. So, not wanting to ignore the person, I sent the following response:
Working from home is a wonderful thing for some, not so good for others. I happen to love it because it gives me the lifestyle I want.
However, I spent many years working in corporate America to gain the experience to start my own marketing coaching and consulting business.
Before you start a business, make sure you know what you're good at and what you love to do. Then starting it will be much easier.
So what did I get back?
Thanks for the information. I'll get back to you.
In the meantime, check out this social networking site... http://www.dirsbiz.com/
So this person succeeded in getting me to respond to the email, but unfortunately that's all that happened. However, I did check out the directmatches.com web site and found a report spam form which I filled out with this person's affiliate link.
Needless to say, this type of marketing for a social networking site runs counterintuitive to social networking. Truly, this type of marketing will not help this business succeed.
Don't use this type of underhanded, bad marketing tactic. With all the talk of authenticity, building relationships and social networking, these types of behaviors will only hurt your business. This is analogous to a Twitter follower sending back an auto-direct message saying "Thanks for the follow. Find out how to make $20,000 a month in affiliate sales. Visit my xyz.com site".
To build your business, you need to develop and nurture relationships, educate your prospects and customers about why they should consider doing business with you and give more value than they expect. That's good marketing.