Oh, no she didn’t…

These have been a rough few months for people who like to think the best of others.

Right now I’m astonished that a man who hasn’t paid income taxes since 1995, says you should “Grab women by the pussy” and states “When you’re a star, you can do anything” has a double digit lead in the polls in my home state of Tennessee.


Lately I’m also having some marketing adventures in LinkedIn. It’s been a pleasure reconnecting with some old acquaintances. I’m also seeing some signups for my email list, which is a good sign that my strategy is working.

I’ve also had some rather dissatisfying encounters.

At least they have resulted in some valuable tips on effective direct outreach, which I am pleased to share with you here.

The rules vary depending on the specific medium you use, for example postal mail, email, or LinkedIn message. The principles of success remain the same, though.

This is how I feel when I think about Trump and bad marketing Photo by Anthony Crider / Flickr

This is how I feel when I think about Trump and bad marketing Photo by Anthony Crider / Flickr

Remember, you are not carpet-bombing random people asking them to buy something. Rather, begin a direct response dialogue. Send them something of value, and invite them to respond. Here are some specific DON’Ts:

Do not send an email or LinkedIn message advertising a freebie, then make the recipient opt-in to your email list to obtain said freebie. You can put advertisements for other freebies on the page where they get the thing you advertised, but don’t make them opt-in to send them the thing you said they could have for free.

Do not leap into selling as soon as the person at the other end of the dialogue shows they have a pulse. Here is an actual, obnoxious conversation I just on LinkedIn just today:

On Tuesday, Sharen B. said the following: Congrats on the new gig! Hope you’re doing well.

On Wednesday, Andy Riegler Andrews said the following:Thanks, Sharon! I’m enjoying writing my book. What does [your business] do?

Yesterday, Sharen B. said the following: Hi Andy, Thanks for Connecting! I just wanted to give you a quick heads-up about my business where I’m working in and trying to grow. It’s my Company “Company” I provide all kind of web services like Design, development, Event promotion, SEO, SMO, Brochure, flyer work, sales pages etc. My company is a place where you get your web solution. To know more about / want to see samples/ package plans/ portfolio, please email us, we will happy to assist you. Thank you for your time! Cheers Sharen Company Brochure: https://www.dropbox.com/s/notthereallink.pdf?dl=0

Sharen made several mistakes here. First, she began the conversation with the default text from LinkedIn. That’s fine if you’re simply congratulating someone. I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with many past clients over the past few days, and just hearing what is up with them.

Sharen, though, clearly had an agenda, as shown by her followup message.

The message was obviously copied-and-pasted, because she thanked me for connecting, even though we already had. The rest of the message was dreadful, too. She launched into a pitch about what she does, but not how it benefits me. The pièce de résistance for me, though, was the Dropbox link at the end, which I, of course, did not click. It looks like she’s trying to send me a virus. And if she really has a web services company, why doesn’t she even have a website?#fail

Here is what to do instead: personalize your messages. Make sincere comments. Keep your message relevant and interesting to the recipient. Give value before you ask for something. If you aren’t genuinely interested in connecting with someone, don’t pester them with messages. If you’re not genuinely interested in your customers and their best interest, then you don’t deserve to be in business. Just sayin’…

If you are genuinely interested in the best interest of your clients and customers, I want to help you get more of them. Get started:

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