Avoid Bad Links: When buying followers and email lists buys bad business

Broken Link
This bicycle link is a metaphor for how some connections are not as strong as they should be. Evaluate purchased lists – many contain profiles as weak as this link.

Avoid vendors selling lists of email addresses, Twitter followers, and Facebook fans.

Ok, this post will be more elaborate than that sentence, but I wanted to keep this message simple. I am standing by the statement.

I am sure you’ve seen them in your email – an unsolicited offer to purchase hundreds of email addresses. The email starts with some line like:

“We are a Global Multi Channel Stupendous Some-Terrific-Radiant-Humble Marketing Database service company. We specialize in lists for B2C and B2B firms in all major Industry verticals. We have over 20 Million records of double verified Emails, all opt-in and ready for your business to use….”

These offers are appearing increasingly, with all kinds of lists available. Many firms sell buy Facebook fans or Twitter followers, promising such a choice will make your company look more popular online. With social media now an influence on search engines results, the temptation to buy social importance is great.

But purchasing lists creates more strategic and operational problems than they are worth. Let’s review a few concepts on why this is a negative:

Creating a flood of followers that your team does not interact with makes your business appear to have poor service capability. There is power in numbers, but people do not solely buy your service or product just because x thousand people are following you.

Adding a fake list overlooks an audience who can give real feedback on your business – increasingly people are going to social media to comment on their product or service. So why have a set of fake followers when real ones can yield genuine interactions that your business team can feel good about?

Purchasing lists is simply “anti” analytics – good analysis begins with the best data possible and solving real problems, not something created just to make the company look good.

Better methods are available to build an audience – Your analytic solution can be linked to CRM to increase your understanding of which aggregate traffic source is responding to your content. Moreover, plenty of social media analytic dashboards like Crowdbooster and Sprout Social indicate which Facebook Fans or Twitter Followers are engaging with your content – so how valuable is the data if your fan base is fake to begin with? (Answer: none)

Bad website links
Examine link requests, including post comments in your blog. Avoid fake generalities – “Wow, this is a great topic”. If the user can’t name exactly the topic , then the post is a ploy to link from spammy sites. Click on this image and look closely at these commenters – see the URLs under the commenter’s name, and you’ll get the idea.

Good savvy customers will notice that your social media fans, Twitter followers, and email communication are not real. Accurate verifying tools such as StatusPeople’s Fake Followers are increasingly appearing  Savvy customers will vet your customer references, so why build so many arbitrary unreal contacts?

Customers do not automatically become customers because your business has their email address. They become your customer because of the quality of engagement your business provides. Using social media and adding events hosted by your company can generate a more valuable list of contacts.

Purchasing lists can seem to create immediate value when it actually becomes a valueless activity. A long list of items will become another set of tasks that will consume valuable time – maintaining a list that really is not valuable and diminishing hours from profitable activity.

Lists also do not have any value without implementing the business development and marketing strategy to the information. It’s difficult for a company to vet the right customers from a manufactured list without an in-depth conversation with those customers to understand what they need business.

Develop a marketing and social media plan in which you and/or your team can comfortably follow up with the potential customers you meet. Building awareness of your customer pipeline or sales process brings your data to “life” – your business will better understand the steps needed to build an active email list or social media followers. If you need help while running other operations, seek a good consultant or have a trusted employee periodically review your effort.

Your business can then implement some steps to cleanse and update contact information, as well as plan some adjustments in marketing. You’ll find your business with a more serviceable customer database, which is the essential secret sauce to your analytics – and business – success.

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