As the Marketing/Membership Chair for SEMpdx it is my great pleasure to greet new members, inform them about membership benefits and help individuals interested in membership make a decision about their involvement with SEMpdx.

Of the volunteer efforts in my life, this is one of my favorites. The people are wonderfully talented and engaged in search marketing and thrive on education and networking. But once in awhile we get the occasional spammy blog, forum comment or information request. Normally I ignore them and consider them the downside of an upside business. But today I was assaulted with the most ridiculous, most spammy, thoughtless request that I was compelled to write about it.

I’m going to dissect these four sentences one at a time and share what’s wrong with each:

#1
Increase traffic to your website. We would like to get your website on first page of Google.

If you bothered to learn anything about SEMpdx.org you’d know we’re already on the first page of Google, for a lot of fairly competitive searches. Do your homework before you approach a client. Nothing pisses people off more than to get bulk one-size-fits all messaging. It’s bad marketing, it’s bad relationship building and it’s just plain lazy.

#2
All of our processes use the most ethical “white hat” Search Engine Optimization techniques that will not get your website banned or penalized.

I learned quickly in life that people with integrity don’t say “hey, I have integrity”. The truth speaks for itself. The minute you say “we will not get your website banned” makes me worry it might. I wasn’t worried about it getting banned, but now that you’ve brought it up I’m concerned. Reality is, if you say this it also makes it sound like you’ve been banned before. If the value and benefit of the quality of your services is so small that this is a benefit you feel compelled to talk about in your first pitch to me, you’re in trouble.

#3
Please reply and I would be happy to send you a proposal.

A proposal for what? You have not a clue what our business goals are so how in the hell can you provide a proposal that meets my needs.

#4
In order for us to respond to your request for information, please include your company’s website address (mandatory) and or phone number.

You just spammed our site d-bag. You have my (mandatory) website address as well as our phone number.

Take-away: There was not a scintilla of relevant or helpful information in this request. It is the anti-relationship building conversation opener.

It is only out of the desire to assume the best in humanity that I assume this person doesn’t know how BS this message was or he wouldn’t have sent it. It is only out of the desire to remain professional in the face of spam that I’m not including the business name of the sender of this request via this blog or our forum or an email to your gmail account. But know this, if we receive another such request we will be happy to share your request with our membership.

Lecture over, what did we learn?

Know your audience. I have to question the wisdom of offering straight SEO services to an SEO organization without doing your homework. Come to a networking or educational event and share your business strengths. This is far more effective than sending a spammy info request. At the very least, spend some time reviewing our site and find areas where we could use improvement and create a need for your services that way.

Create Relationships. I’ve created many relationships through SEMpdx that have added value, including meeting mentors, finding other search professionals that have skill sets I don’t. Have a goal, but be willing to give as well as receive.

Be willing to share. Membership in SEMpdx allows opportunity for education and networking. Successful members gain value from their membership including referrals and education when they interact and share.

My friend and mentor and one of our Advisory Board Members, Anne Kennedy, is a fantastic marketer but genius networker and connector of people. She doesn’t just concern herself with making the connections she needs, she understands the needs of those she meets and helps them make connections with each other. The key element that distinguishes her activities and motivation with those of our information request spammer is that she is willing to give before she gets. She puts others first as a way to gain knowledge and influence. She recognizes the power of positive actions that result in positive reactions.

If you want to leverage the power of involvement with SEMpdx or any organization or individual, have a little faith in Karma and be willing to give, share and connect in a way that adds value.

Remember that a relationship starts with a two-way conversation. Are you listening?

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