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Don’t make it so difficult to get directly in touch with you

Summary: even if you and your staff really hate having your inbox filled with spam, you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face if you’re not making it as easy as humanly possible for anyone and everyone to reach you directly and immediately.

What I’m On About

pixabay-mailbox-357668_1280Half of what I do on a daily basis is influencer outreach. The other half is sales. As a direct result of both pastimes, I visit a lot of corporate and personal websites, explore an infinity of LinedIn profiles, and pick through thousands of Twitter, Facebook, and even Google+ profiles.  Why are so many of you guys making it so difficult to connect with you directly? Why are you making folks jump through so many hoops when you profess to being open door?

In a world where everyone’s obsessed with SEO and inbound marketing, it all comes down the the “last mile,” so to speak. In telecom, the last mile refers “to the final leg of the telecommunications networks delivering communications connectivity to retail customers, the part that actually reaches the customer” where “the last mile is typically the speed bottleneck in communication networks.”

One of My Analogies

In the case of the last mile in telecom, the problem comes down to these companies not having access to your home, your land, and not easily being able to rewire your world in order to properly support the services they’re trying to bring to your house. After stringing gorgeous fiber optic cable all the way to your front door, companies hate that your home is a hundred years old with moldering copper wiring right under a powerful transformer.

No matter how blazing fast and reliable the bandwidth service may well be coming right up to your door, your expectation is that it’ll be that fast all the way to your laptop.  That’s often not the case, and the reason is often you with your aged home or apartment block with it’s barely legal wiring setup and the terrible WiFi router you’ve had since 1999 and the 10 Mbps LAN card you’ve had since you bought that brand new Toshiba 3010CT in 1997.

Bringing It Home

Consider your social media, inbound marketing, and content marketing campaigns — and Google — to play the part of the big telecoms, optimized for bringing fat bandwidth in the form of traffic and attention to your website; in this analogy, your site is the home at the end of the line, the end of the last mile. Like the telecom companies, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Biznology are working hard at getting big traffic to your house, your website; in this analogy, if you don’t make it as easy as humanly possible to contact you, your site is basically that creaky farmhouse with crap phone lines and noisy old coax cable lines thick brick walls and other impediments to your antiquated wireless router and your ancient TV and old Gateway desktop.

Security Gate at the Entrance of a New Gated Community
Security Gate at the Entrance of a New Gated Community

Even if you pimp your crib and make sure Google can make the sweetest hand-off search to site and you have made sure that all roads lead to you — even if your site, your online hope, is wired for sound — it won’t mean anything if you don’t install a doorbell, a knocker, a telephone, a mailbox, a TV, a PC, and maybe a fax machine (you dinosaur). And what’s with that big wrought iron gate? And why isn’t there a bloody intercom and maybe a little cam at the gate? How does anyone get through to you?

But I’m Overwhelmed By Spammers

I understand. You’re easily overwhelmed by all the messages you receive when you make your email available on your site, aren’t you?  You prefer the world to be pre-qualified, don’t you?  Well, I hate to tell you something you already know but don’t you hate it when you can’t reach someone you need to get a hold of in order to make your connection or make your pitch?  If everyone you contacted made you go through a bunch of hoops or remained inaccessible, how could you do business? You really couldn’t.

I know your heart is in the right place. I know you used to have a blog; and, before that, you used to have a blog with comments enabled. But you gave that up because nobody was commenting except for spammers. You used to have an email form and your email address on your site until you started getting spam there, too. Now, you make visitors fill out CAPTCHAs and then, when they do email, you send them an auto-response with more instructions as to how to really connect with them.

You Live in a Prison of Your Own Making

pixabay-firefighters-756828_1280In your desire to armor yourself against spam, you’ve committed every casual visitor to your site to a scavenger hunt, you’ve shown with your actions that every visitor is guilty until proven innocent. Instead of a presumption of innocence, you make each suitor buy you drinks and dinner before you’re even willing to offer a handshake.

You’ve basically sealed yourself in a fallout shelter of your own making just because maybe a hundred unwelcome people come to your door every day to try to sell you vacuums, the Lord, bottle brushes, cookies, raffle tickets, or encyclopædias. Instead of being a good neighbor and just learning how to do a little bit of discernment, you’ve put up walls, hired gatekeepers, and oftentimes moved out into the hills to get away from all these blasted people.

You’re A Global Player, Act Like It

I hate to say it but if you’re willing to compete on a world stage don’t be surprised if you get world attention. The upside to the Internet is that you immediately have access to an entire globe of potential clients and customers; the downside is that any Tom, Dick, and Harry can make it into the same Inbox as your current clients, your bosses, your lover, your buddies, your colleagues, your wife, and your kids (in order of importance? Shame on you!)

You should get down on your creaky knees and thank your lucky stars that you receive spam from Nigeria, China, India, and me! It means the system’s working! It means this mic is on!  Imagine dropping serious coin on a Grundig Satellit 750 shortwave radio — one of the world’s best rigs, I’m sort of a radio nerd — and then complaining about all the stations you’re receiving besides just NPR and the BBC!

Email Has Come a Long Way

I think spam sucks, too. I’m always afraid that I’ve missed something terribly important; or, that it got mixed into a bunch of junk and then took me a couple-few hours to see before I dug through the other stuff. I’m also equally afraid of an important email being forever sucked into SPAM hell, never to be seen by me at all, ever.

Google does a pretty good job but I have personally gone one step further to purchase, enable, train, and use an email filtering service called SaneBox. According to their site, “SaneBox keeps your inbox nice and clean by moving unimportant email into a new folder called SaneLater. Don’t worry about missing anything! You can check SaneLater at any time and we’ll send you a daily digest summarizing your SaneLater email.”  Well, I have taken it a little further. I have @SaneLater as well as @SaneArchive, @SaneBlackHome, @SaneBulk, @SaneNews, @SaneNotSpam, @SaneOld, and @SaneTomorrow.

It’s a pretty great tool but only if you’re an activist user. You need to do some training — not you, but SaneBox. Like Gmail’s new automatic categorization tabs, you just need to move less important emails to the appropriate SaneBox box and then make sure you move any and every email that’s in a SaneBox box that should be in the Inbox back into the Inbox.  SaneBox works seamlessly with DropBox, allowing me to easily have DropBox access to every document, file, photo, image, and video that is mailed to me as an email attachment. It’s pretty good but it only works if you work it, so to speak.

Digging Through Email is Part of Your Job

pixabay-letters-565554_1280Circa 2015, becoming, staying, and remaining on top of email is a primary task in your connected life. It’s more important than checking your fax machine or answering your phone. It’s surely more important than office hours. When I say email and inbox, I am also including your @replies on Twitter, your LinkedIn inbox and comments, your Facebook Messenger messages and notifications, and any message you receive through Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, reddit, and on message boards and forums.  People can engage with you anywhere about anything, even doing business. I have been asked for my professional help through Twitter DMs, through FB messages, and though private messages on the forums I’m on.

Maybe Nobody’s Calling Because Your Phone is Off

bigstock-Businessman-Putting-Fingers-In-210925Hey! Here’s a thought: maybe your expensive social media marketing, inbound marketing, content marketing, and search engine optimization campaigns aren’t working because you’re behind a fence, inaccessible in your well-armored cone of silence, with your fingers in your ears, and doing the whole ignoring by singing shtick.

My former business partner complains about never getting any gigs from his website or as the result of inbound marketing or SEO. Well, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy when you don’t actually do any inbound, content, or social media marketing, don’t do any SEO. It’s especially self-fulfilling when one doesn’t make it as simple as pie to get in contact. I don’t even believe the single contact form on his company website even works correctly. That said, people contact me all the time through Gerris Corp’s website. Every page has access to both our email address and an email form that gets delivered to the same place in addition to a phone number that also can receive SMS texts (I should actually make that clear).

I’m not telling you what to do but I think that even if you get 99% of everything right in your own marketing campaign, it all comes down to the last mile, the last step, the final click, be it through traditional email or through LinkedIn (why do you make it so hard to connect there, too! Who are you, King Farouk?).

The next step is yours. Good luck and go git ’em, Tiger!



Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, Wikipedia curationsocial media strategy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreachinfluencer engagement, and Internet crisis response, with the digital PR and social media marketing agency Gerris digital. [Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me] A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries' leading firms. Chris Abraham specializes in web technologies, including content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.  Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 79 the last time he looked. Chris Abraham started doing web development back in 1994, SEO in 1998, blogging in 1999, influencer engagement in 2003, social media strategy in 2005, blogger outreach in 2006, and Wikipedia curation in 2007. Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call. If you want to know the services that Chris offers check out Services If you want to work with Chris use the Contact Form You're welcome to follow me via Social Media You can learn more about Chris over in About Chris writes a lot so check out the Blog Chris offers webinars so check Events

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