One of the things that most frustrates me in a morning (well, once I’ve got over the frustration of my husband, my child, running out of milk, the school run and my dog, that is) is mass generated emails. They drive me insane, as they pop up, one by one, in my inbox every morning; “Hi there, we just thought you may be interested in our link building process – we generate 5 million links per week for 50p” etc. etc. – argghhh!
I bet you can guess what I do with them too? I sit down and write a personal reply to each one, explaining to them the error of their ways. Only kidding! They go straight in the bin! As do, I would imagine, 99% of every other email that company has sent out in the same ilk too.
Economies of Scale
So why do people still do it? What exactly is the point, when they’re well aware that this is the most common response they’re likely to get? The answer is simple really, money.
As any marketer will tell you, the old fashioned email campaigns that this deluge of mail comes from is based on the economies of scale; basically, you send out 5,000 emails in the knowledge that only a very small percentage will actually respond to you.
Hence, the cost involved in emailing those 5,000 people is based purely on the value of, say, 50 responses. Bottom line: it needs to be cheap and, in order to make it cheap, it needs to be mass-produced, same for everyone, insipid copy that inspires nobody.
The Changing Times
The thing is that, once upon a not-so-long-ago, that would have been fine; backlinks were cheap and meaningful relationships were still uncharted territory for your average SEOs. Insipid copy did the trick so why try for anything better.
Fortunately (for us forward thinking, ethical SEOs at least) the times they are a changin’ and now, if you want to grow your link profile, then you have to do it organically with different tools and different rules. This means building genuine relationships based on reciprocity, hard work and – wait for it – actually talking to actual people.
Not Everyone’s Got It Yet Though
Now the problem is, as my inbox will attest, a lot of people haven’t cottoned on to this yet and seem to think that they can just exchange one mass-produced email campaign for another.
The thing is that I can’t quite decide yet whether or not I think this entirely a bad thing. On the one hand, I can’t deny that the emails do drive me up the wall but, by the same token, it comforts me somewhat to know that a lot of what could be deemed as our competition is still floundering around in the dark ages. Silly fools!
Time and Money, Money and Time
Essentially, the only way that you’re going to start getting these vaunted ‘genuine relationships’ is by – ahem – forming a genuine relationship and I’m sure you don’t need me to explain to you why this is or how you go about doing it. (Or, if you think that you can do it by sending out 5,000 of the same emails to randomly selected people then please leave now!)
So, costly as it is and time consuming as it definitely will be, you really are going to have to go back to basics and start researching potential allies and then get in touch with them one by one to see what you can both offer the other to mutual benefit. There’s no short cut around this one and there’s no longer any way that you will get something for nothing I’m afraid, although, in my opinion, that’s no bad thing.
And in all of that, if you remember nothing else, then please, please, please, for heaven’s sake, send every single person you contact a genuine email written without a script. Yes, a lot of them will still go ignored, but the recipients will be able to tell and they will stand you in good stead in the long run. The first person who sends me such an email will not only get a reply, but I’ll go round to their house and give them a kiss!