Consider this post “Online Relationship Building 101”.
The longer you blog and the larger your following gets, the more inevitable it is that you’ll run into things that quite simply, drive you crazy.
Now I’m lucky in the sense that the vast majority of people I interact with are totally cool, respectful of my time, and are very appreciative of the interactions we have.
Occasionally however, there are others who, well…are the exact opposite. These are the people that are usually only thinking of themselves and not making the time to really develop a relationship with me.
During the last 4 years there are a few different things that stand out as the actions that really bother me – pet peeves if you will.
This post is written both for new and established bloggers alike, who might not always think things through before reaching or meeting with other people online.
1) Not Notifying Me if Our Skype Call is Going to Be Video
This is probably the biggest one at all. And this is by no means saying anything bad about the person I’m on the call or doing the interview with, they probably legitimately just didn’t think about it – but it drives me crazy.
If I agree to an interview and you say nothing about it being on video, I assume that it’s just an audio only call. So when it’s 8am and I’m sitting there with greasy hair and basketball shorts, and you turn on video, I’m not going to be too thrilled about it.
This is a very simple problem to solve.
If you’re going to do a video interview or video call with someone, tell them beforehand!
2) Wanting to Guest Post So You Can “Leverage My Traffic”
There’s an art and a science to pitching bloggers on guest posts. Years later I still point people to this post by Ramit.
Here’s a hint, don’t pitch me like this:
“I understand that you have a pretty big following online and it would be great to get a testimonial from a well-respected, veteran traveller like yourself!
…It would really awesome of you too if you could just mention it on your blog, as I know you receive tons of traffic, and I really do believe this eBook has a lot of value for your readers. I am hoping to get the word out as much as possible.”
Now the guy who wrote this is relatively new to this whole online thing, so I responded by telling him his pitched sucked and to try again – which he did, and did a much better job.
But at least once a week I get someone who flat out tells me they want to guest post because I have a big audience (and it’s really not even that big). WRONG APPROACH. Tell me about all of the reasons I’m going to benefit. Is it great content for my readers? Is it actionable and useful?
Focus on that, rather than what’s in it for you. I’ve done a lot of guest posts, I know what’s in it for you.
3) Assuming We’d Make Great Partners – When We’ve Never Met
Sean! I’ve got this unbelievable idea for toy furry kittens that we could sell online. I don’t have much experience, but if you want to train me in the ways of ecommerce and online business, I’d gladly split the profits with you 50/50.
Ok that one wasn’t real, but you’d be surprised how many very similar emails I get.
In the last month I’ve had three people ask me to help them setup affiliate sites for Location Rebel. Now tell me, why on earth would I help you setup an affiliate site for my product, that you haven’t bought and don’t know much about, when I could feasibly do the same thing myself (if I wanted to be shady about it), and keep all the money for myself?
Think on that one.
Don’t get me wrong I’m all for finding a mentor to help you along the way, and I do my best to play that role for people inside Location Rebel who have proven they’re committed to the process – but if you’re going to pitch me on some kind of partnership where I “teach you online business” at least make an attempt to build a relationship with me first.
4) Marathon Introductory Emails
On any given day I get about 200-300 emails.
I love hearing from new and old readers alike. I even ask you to email me with the response to a couple questions as soon as you sign up for my mailing list.
However, there are a few people who take this a little too far.
It’s one thing to write a marathon response to my questions for yourself. Often I’ll get an email that will end like this:
“Thanks for this exercise Sean. I totally don’t expect you to have read all of this, but this clarified a lot in my life that I hadn’t quite been able to get straight – I expect that perhaps that was the point.”
I’m cool with this, in fact, the email I ask you to send is just as much for you as it is for me.
Other times, I’ll get a marathon response that doesn’t follow that formula.
Rather it’s paragraph after paragraph of life story, that asks for questions and feedback all along the way.
Now it can take a long time to read through all of that, but to read through and then answer every question you ask – when we’ve never talked before? That’s a tall order for anyone.
Point? Short introductory emails are always best whenever possible. This guarantees your best chance at a response, and me being much more willing to answer questions and help in future emails.
5) Buying a Product, Returning It, then Asking for Advice the Product Answers
I don’t get many returns on Location Rebel. In fact the refund rate is under 5% – which is pretty remarkable for a $500 product.
However occasionally it won’t be a good fit for someone, and I’ll happily give them their money back as I don’t want anyone who isn’t a good fit for the community.
A couple times though I’ve had people buy a product, return it, and then ask me questions about growing their business that the product answers:
“Hey Sean, we’ve talked a bit in the past, and I’m currently trying to setup my e-commerce store through Shopify. How do I find the right theme for my site and handle the SEO for each of the products?”
So, the material in Location Rebel “didn’t apply to you?” – Tristan and I built an entire blueprint on this exact topic!
I answer every question I can from people who email me. But on the rare occurrences this has happened, it feels pretty disrespectful of my time and doesn’t make me want to invest much more energy into the relationship.
We Want to Help
Don’t take all of this the wrong way.
Every blogger I know does it because they want to help others. However you’ll learn that as your business and site grows, you have to pick and choose where you can spend your time. I’ll always be much happier to help and respond to someone who is respectful of me and what I do than someone who is clearly only out for their own benefit.
What are your biggest relationship building pet peeves?
Carnivorous Plant Image via Bigstock