Unsolicited Marketing and Optimization Reports

Unsolicited Marketing and Optimization Reports
Chris Lonergan
Chris Lonergan April 5, 2019

One of the most ironic things about crafting and expanding a marketing presence is that you improve your overall visibility for a bigger audience than your typical prospective client base. As your presence grows, you become an increasingly more prominent target for spam and cold call sales for your business.

Let's talk about all of those phone calls, emails, marketing / sales / optimization reports that you get – how to reduce the amount of cold call and junk mail you get, and what value – if any – there can be in that content. There are three main categories of such content:

  • Highly targeted sales prospecting
  • "Common problems" Emails with little to no customization
  • Pure spam and fraud

Highly Targeted Marketing & SEO Reports

Highly targeted marketing reports sent via email appear professional, well structured, and official. Time and effort were put in to target a specific sales pitch to your company. Generally speaking, in those moments a salesperson has found your business and identified you as a potential sales target. Without any other previous contact, they will then prepare a report of some sort – identifying proposed strengths and weaknesses in your marketing presence, search engine optimization, etc.

Generally speaking – without specific reference to any particular company's sales tactics – I would review that content with a few key points in mind.

  • "Optimization Reports" are very easy to misrepresent. There are so many details and factors that go into what affect optimization – including the physical location of the search query examined.
  • Make sure the numbers add up. I've seen a specific report that suggested a client had poor online review quality because they only had two Facebook reviews. This report completely ignored the fact they had 50+ Google reviews.
  • Ultimately, a report is a sales tool. While there may be some specific truths amongst all components, the end goal is to identify you as a prospect and convert you to a customer.

To be clear – we are not 100% dismissive of this type of content. There are times where there are bits of truth in these unsolicited sales efforts. Regardless of who your current provider is, I would advise that an unsolicited marketing report is taken with a grain of salt. While a salesperson may represent a company that does good work and has a core expertise, don't forget that you likely selected your current marketing team because they also had experience and insight to you or your business that you found appealing. Don't immediate trust an unsolicited report by a salesperson over a company that you've trusted for years.

The "Overly Generic" and "Common Problems" Marketing Reports

There are also the occasional marketing or SEO reports that contain hints of truth here and there by complete accident. For these messages, companies will simply compile a laundry list of common problems or make reference to industry jargon without much substance. Depending on the craftiness of the messages, they may be personalized with your company name or domain name – you can rest assured that in most of these situations, the report content itself is still generic. Footbridge Media gets tons of these messages on a regular basis. They say things like "Your website – domain.com – has a good design, but you are not getting enough web visits due to optimization problems" or "Your favicon is not optimized"

These reports are basically digital cold calls. Once you verify it isn't a vendor you actually work with, you're safe to ignore and delete the email messages. Reducing how public your email address is on the web may also reduce the amount of junk you get, but once that bell is rung and your email address is on one of those lists – chances are you'll continue to get them.

Spam and Fraud Messages Pretending To Be Marketing Or Advertising Information

Spam and fraud messages are getting more advanced. The more convincing ones are messages that look like a service you may already have or a company that is already familiar to you.

That's why those "Google Robocalls" and "Domain Registration Soon" emails and work so well – they are plausible things likely related to common business operation. Companies don't want their site to go down because they didn't pay a small invoice. That's why we still see these spam and fraud tactics run rampant – unsuspecting companies fall prey.

There is no value to any of this type of content. The best way to handle these types of reports is to simply ignore them. If you are concerned that the invoice may be legit – check your records to see if you've done business with the organization before. Know where your domain name is registered, so you can know to ignore that particular type of spam. If you are not sure about the validity of someone claiming to be associated with a company you may work with – ask them for return contact information. Research the contact info on Google to see if it is legitimate. You can also add commonly used and trusted vendors to your mobile phone's contact list so that you can avoid the vetting process at each communication. If you also have a front office staff, you likely train them to avoid forwarding sales calls – but you also want to make sure that the right vendors get through. You can have "Approved Vendor" contact lists for your office staff – so that they can have an at-a-glance resource.

While many spammers use purposefully forward facing information – like your business phone number and web forms – you can mitigate this a bit by not adding your email address to your website and by using private domain registration. Spammers will crawl websites and recent domain registration information to try to get email addresses.

No matter what type of marketing or optimization report you get – It doesn't hurt to double check. If you have a marketing company that you currently work with and you receive one of these types of messages, I would suggest sending it to your marketing contact and get their opinion on it. Your marketing company can then help you to identify if there are any suggestions that would be worth considering.

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