If you are in networking and if you have your name and email address available on the internet, I guarantee you will get spammed.
When you get these pieces of spam, you have several options. You have the option to hit the delete button. You have the option to report the offender to their email service. You have the option to report the offender to their company, or finally, you have the option to answer the spam.
I’ve tried all of the above. Hitting delete gets rid of the piece of email but it doesn’t stop the person from emailing you again and again. Or worse yet, it doesn’t stop the person from passing your name and email onto the next person as someone who “might be open to a new idea”
Reporting the offender to their email provider usually produces no result at all. Regardless of the email provider, I find that reports are ignored completely as I’ve often received numerous pieces of spam from the same person.
There are times, if you’re dealing with a reputable company, that reporting the offender to their company will produce results. Legitimate companies do not want their reputation tarnished by those who spam others.
I also like to sometimes hit reply. I have two goals in mind when hitting reply. One, I hope to help the offender know that what they’re doing violates TOS for companies and email providers but I also hope to engage in conversation and begin a relationship that may or may not lead to business for me down the road.
Depending on what the spam says, I’ll usually invite the offender to read one of my existing articles. I offer a brief overview of what the article is about and then I provide a direct link to the article.
I do not offer a link to my business. I simply try to offer something of value to the spammer. I’ve received many varied responses by doing this. Sometimes, I never hear from the person again. Sometimes I get an argument back, that my article is not correct or not something they agree with. I’m not looking to enter into a debate so I usually just hit delete at that point. Sometimes I get a thank you. This allows to me to make another effort at a relationship with the person. This of course is my preferred response.
I will NEVER respond to the email chain letters. This just isn’t the person I wish to enter into a conversation with. The spams I respond to are from those representing a legitimate company or those that have some measure of sincerity in them. If I get an email that says “I earned a million bucks last night”, I know this person isn’t being honest. I just hit delete.
I continually form new relationships, some that lead to business, some that don’t, just from hitting reply on spam I receive. Try this yourself. Respond to those emails that have a sense of sincerity to them. Point them to your own articles or blog that might be helpful to them. You’ll find over time that you’ll build unexpected relationships that often lead to additional business for you.