Not to brag, but this article that you’re reading right now is actually a decent example of non-invasive, non-annoying marketing. I’m not forcing anyone to read it, nor spam-linking to it in the comments section of other writers’ articles. It’s just an opinion piece that exists online.
Sure, I may promote it by posting links to it, but only in places where it’s normal and reasonable to do so. For example, on my company’s Facebook page, on my personal LinkedIn profile, and/or perhaps within other articles I’ve written.
I guess I’m just not into aggressive marketing tactics, two of which I’ll discuss here today, as I’m particularly fed up with them. So, here are a few things I hope you never do:
- Put links to your own content within blog article comments. Especially if you set out to do this as a marketing practice. For example, I have a piece called “Top 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Web Developer.” It gets a decent amount of traffic (about 4k views/month), but not a lot of comments (which seems to be rather typical for my content on Medium, btw). Anyway, many times, I’ve received comments on that piece like “Great article. I wrote a similar one here: [and then a link to it].” Ostensibly, that seems like a legitimate comment from a colleague. But, in reality, it’s just an attempt to gain SEO juice for that other article. That’s not to say that such comments are always spam. IMHO, if you’ve written a piece that you’d legitimately like to show to someone because it’s truly relevant, the better way to handle that would be to comment something like: “Hi there- I wrote something very similar and would love to share the link, if that’s ok.” Ideally, I’d like to see the link first, as well, to review the piece. But, just forcing a link in the comments? That’s bad form, in my view, and I routinely delete such comments.
- Friend me and then sell to me immediately. I get this near-daily on LinkedIn, a site I’ve grown to abhor lately (for this exact reason). Years ago, LinkedIn was much more stringent about who could friend whom. Those little personal networks meant more back then than they do now because you *really knew* everyone in your personal network there. But these days, I get numerous friend requests there per week, and 99% of them are “business development” staff from various agencies worldwide. Again, at first blush, it seems like a normal friend request from a would-be colleague. So, I’ll approve / accept them. And then that same day, I’ll get the inevitable sales message: “Hey, thanks for connecting. We do whitelabel web sites, and I’d love to chat with you about it.”
I do kinda-sorta understand, at least. I mean, SEO people get paid to basically establish back-links to specific content. So, they’re going to spam scores of pages all day long, every day. Their methods, while annoying, also work very well because, once those links are there, they usually stay almost forever, thus raising the position of the pages they’re promoting and, in-turn raising the SEO positioning for their site(s) as well.
Sales people, too, are paid to reach out, all day/every day. And, as annoying as I find it on the recipient end, I guess it also must work because people still do it. God knows, I also have tried things like cold emailing prospects. (But, never the friend-then-immediately-sell approach, which I find tasteless.) For me, it never worked, even if I really, seriously tailored such cold emails to my targets.
I guess what I’m saying is that (1) annoying marketing, I will reluctantly admit, probably works, but (2) it also comes at a cost. You may not mind the cost, but I’m just not a fan of it. And, I think in the long run, it may even do more harm than good for a business. Your mileage, of course, may vary wildly!