There is Gold in that Spam – Search Engine Tactics for the 21st Century It’s not often you’ll hear anyone praising spam. Until today.
Ok, ok, ok -- we all hate it. When I check my e-mail box for the numerous domains that I own, I have hundreds – if not thousands of spam messages. It had gotten to the point that I could not tell between real e-mail and spam. I remember not logging into one account or a week, only to find out when I did that there were over 1,000 e-mail messages of which 995 were spam!
First off, what kind of strategies can you use to fight spam? Here are a few that have worked very well for me:
1.DO NOT put your e-mail address on your website in ‘plain text’. There are several other ways to give your e-mail address out. The one that seems to work very well is by creating a small GIF or JPG image and placing your e-mail address in there then displaying the image on your website. 2.Make use of FORMS. Rather than have your visitors e-mail the domain, create a form for them and have the form e-mail the domain OR another address. This is a very successful way for visitors to contact you. You could go one step further, and add a “verification word” to the form so that the form does not get abused.
Now that we have talked about two simple ways to fight spam, let’s talk about why you may not want to chuck all your spam message away. Am I crazy? Nope, just some common sense niche building techniques at work here.
You remember those supermarket tabloids, right? Have you ever leafed through them? Have you ever read the advertising in them? You know, it is pretty expensive to place advertisements in those magazines mainly because of the distribution they have and because people buy them. Now do you think that an individual will pay thousands of dollars per year to advertise in the tabloid, it if was not delivering results?
Advertising is only placed in magazines, newspapers – and tabloids – if they deliver results. Companies spend tens of thousands of dollars (if not more) ensuring that their advertising is delivering the expected results. They track and monitor everything that they do, nothing is left to chance. But you knew all this already.
I'm not trying to equate tabloid advertisements with spam -- but I think you get the picture.
So how can you find gold in spam? Simple. When you check your message, see if there is one type of message that you are receiving more than the others. Filter past the gambling, and adult “entertainment” and focus on stuff that you and I could use every day. You will see e-mail advertisements for education, careers, divorce planning, private investigations and several other areas of interest.
If you have been paying attention to this, then you now know that maybe you should be targeting those niche areas. I say niche, because if you look at the content of the messages you will see that they are very specific. Some of the education messages I get are for particular schools, or programs – like website development, search engine optimization, business management, small business development or entrepreneurship. Same with the career e-mails I get, they are always targeted at a specific profession – nursing, truck drivers or other medical related fields.
So how can this help you? Supposed you are getting 100 messages per week about careers. You go through these and group them by profession. Once you have done this you notice that 75% of the messages are about nursing. You now have a profession you can target for additional research.
You first start performing some preliminary research to see if this niche is worth targeting.
If your research shows that it is worth pursuing, then look at what types of phrases are being used and who is in the top 10, 20 or 30 sites providing this type of information. Look at the pure search engine listings, but also pay attention to the paid advertising – since this will give you a good idea if you will make money by targeting this niche.
Once you have done your homework, and find that this is indeed a field worth pursuing then it is time to start developing your website, and thinking about the type of content you will be offering to your site visitors. You may want to think about offering free courses on nursing, what it is, how someone can become a nurse – basically what you would want to know before you decided to pursue this as a career.
It is very easy building your business, if you spend a little time and look at the unconventional ways of determining what business you need to get into – that is, what niche you should be targeting.
A little research and your spam e-mail box could help you make a name for yourself in the world of internet marketing.
Mohammed Bhimji is the owner, and developer of Turbo Traffic Engine – www.turbotrafficengine.com – an application that makes it easy to develop niche portal websites that are optimized for the search engines.