Cold calls don’t need to be clammy

Please stop spamming my Linkedin profile.

I understand, its the end of the year and as a sales person you have quotas that you have to meet.  I’m not judging you for using your premium account to search out people like me that may need your good or service, but don’t let yourself think I’m not judging your approach.

“Dear Sir,”

Your first failing: I am plainly a female and would have preferred that since my first AND last name are already on my profile you would be best to address me as Erin, Ms. Burrell or even the slightly more annoying Mrs. Burrell. It would have only taken a moment to edit that form letter to incorporate my name. A clever person may even find a method to automate the Linkedin message to include a pull of the name I have displayed.

“It appears that my (fill in the blank good or service) may be of use to you or your company”

Can you get more generic? It appears to me that you did not take the time to READ my profile or do any research about where I work or what I do. Had you taken the time to read my info you may have realized that 1) your service might not actually be relevant to me,  2) I am actually responsible for providing the very service you are selling, or 3) This girl needs what you have to sell… tell me more!

I’m not saying that I dislike cold calls. They are sometimes a cost of doing business. You as a sales person need to create relationships, but ask yourself: Would you approach a potential future spouse this way?

Google just told me there is a guy that has the following tags associated with him: #job #car #doesntliveinparentsbasement.  He’s perfect!

Dear Sir,

I think that you and I would be a great fit since I want to marry someone who does not live in their parents basement.

Please reach out to me soon to discuss our upcoming marriage.

Best,

Random Girl

416.XXX.XXXX

randomgirl@youhaventmetyet.com

What?  You think that is a bad idea?

Some of my best professional relationships have been started with a well-researched cold call, but I can’t tell you how much more likely you are going to be to get a reply if you at least know why you are reaching out to me. Figure out how your goods/service would best fit my organization/role and use my name and that of my organization in your message.

If you spend the time to do at least that, I will read the rest of your message and likely even send you a reply. If you cannot take the time, I am afraid that neither can I.

Are you making promises that your content can’t deliver?

Search marketing is hard work.

Writing good ads, getting them approved.  Sending the customer to the right location.  All work, but you are tracking that.  Likely every day.  Watching conversions, tweaking, adjusting correcting.

What about search engine optimization?  SEO has been a sexy topic for quite some time now, but just because your site is optimized, DOES NOT mean that your customer is going to get to where they want.

Are you writing keyword rich well tagged blogs about products?  Great!

Now… are you doing this before you actually write good quality product content?

STOP.

Do Not Pass GO.

DO not collect $200.

Start writing good product content.

Now!

Today!

Do not wait for more resources, do not bother questioning the time it takes to write (and translate) better product content.

Start with the answer your customers questions.  Give them information and images they didn’t even know they wanted to see until you showed them.  Tag the products.  Tag the images.  Offer more information on the product warranty and specifications.  Offer links to relevant accessories.  Offer them product reviews and ratings.

This will give them what they want first.  The product itself is so much more relevant than your blog post on hot new products, or the stuff FILL IN THE BLANK celebrity is using.

Now go write your blog.  Link the blog to the products and services that are relevant so that the customer who gets to the blog first can still reach the product they want.

NOW…If you want to be really fancy add a bullet to your product content to talk about your blog and link it back there too.

Give your customers value in multiple ways and locations and they will see you more times in what Google or Bing or Yahoo serves in the organic search results, but they will have an opportunity to chose their own adventure about how they get to your stuff.

Maybe..just maybe they will add something to cart in the end and become a real conversion to your store.  If they decide not to buy something today at least you won’t have a 100% bounce rate because what you give them will be closer to meeting their needs, and they might just be back.

Want to know what makes a complete product?  Check out this post.

There’s No Swearing in “Good” Content (but maybe there should be)

I love content.  I am the first person to credit a site that finds that perfect balance of words and images for their brand.  That being said, I think too many of the little guys are afraid of really shouting out what makes them special and instead sound like a dirty little brother of the big sites.

Unfortunately they don’t have the budgets that big brands have for SEM and digital marketing so they find themselves on page 4 of the search results because while their content sounds just like everyone else, their site has less links and credibilty.

While the socially acceptable way to approach both product and site content is to think about telling the customer your story while weaving in responsible SEO and deep links; is that the best way to address every brand?

Some pretty successful small/medium businesses make their brand by specifically being clear and concise in their copy.  Sometimes that means the use of words or phrases that a lot of us shy away from.

A great example of this use of light profanity comes in some great blogger/web/copywriting talents likeRedheaded Writing and The Middle Finger Project.

Their specialties are not just about helping your brand sell its stuff, but also about defining a voice for your brand.  If your brand is “The Shit!” and you are afraid to tell people you risk becoming another bland voice in an ocean of bland voices.

I understand that most big corporations need to focus on their voice and their customers expectations, but if you are a small or medium business that is designed as clever and cheeky don’t be afraid to use a bit of real language to get your message out there.

Translate your passion about your level of awesome in your content.

Differentiate yourself and define your own online voice.  Don’t let the big guys define you.

I can tell you I am personally more likely to click on a link claiming that this widget is “the best fucking widget on the planet!” before I click through to another beige sounding widget.