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How to Promote Something Without Being Annoying

You’ve made a new awesome thing – an app, an infographic or an e-book. Or just started offering killer new service.

You know they are good and you’d like to share it to the world in hopes more folks will start thinking same.


Yet, you hate promoting.

You don’t want to look like yet another obnoxious and annoying type on the Internet seeking for attention from everyone and anyone.


We all (myself included) may be guilty of doing such things, so today I’ve decided to share a short lists of tips about promoting your stuff in a non-irritating way, and actually getting more return for your efforts.

1. Target the right people

Oftentimes I get emails or messages on Facebook from some random folks asking me to fund their Kickstarter campaign, share their post, buy their book, mention their product etc, etc. I reply around 10% of those requests.



Because, 90% of the times they have nothing to do with my interests, or I have no time/aspiration to fulfill a stranger’s demand.


I don’t mind helping people, really. It’s just that I’m not the person they should ask in the first place.

The key to not being annoying is to reach out to people who would potentially be interested in your content/product/service in the first place.


Do your homework and do your research.

Approach a niche market. For instance, instead of messaging tech journalists, reach out to those who previously covered a similar topic. Not all tech journalists write about the same thing. For example, some might write about project management apps, or post reviews of new gadgets.


The same goes for bloggers, folks with big social media followings, and other online influencers and businesses who could benefit from what you are offering.

Yes, that’s going to be more time-consuming. Yet, you have higher chances of attracting massive buzz with the right targeting.


Also, never ever forget how important it is to personalize your messages. The first way to get ignored and marked as spam is to write a generic “Hi there,” when contacting a person, spell the name wrong or send obviously generic emails to everyone on your list.

Here are some good tools to help you with that:

Unomy – a browser plugin that makes cold calling easier by letting you find a list of companies and professionals according to certain criteria like geographic location, industry, funding and company size. By knowing the right person for outreach, you are more likely to get positive responses.


Getresponse – helps creating attractive email newsletters and materials, tracks analytics and schedules emails campaigns. Segmentation capabilities enable you to target the message toward the right person, thus avoiding being generic or irrelevant.

Buzzsumo – pulls out a huge database of influencers you can search, instantly follow, analyze the content they share and add to your outreach list.


2. Do not ask, but offer

The biggest issue with most letters I get is that people immediately ask me for something.


It feels like a stranger came to me at the street and asked me to give him the money. Just because.

Yet, if a stranger comes up to me and says: “Hey, I know who you are and what you are doing. Your idea X was great. It actually inspired me to create this cool infographic. Maybe you’d like to have a look at it?” I’d probably say “Sure, mate.”


Do you sense the difference?

Do not get straight to your request, but just gently ask and tell you have something they may like. Gauge the curiosity factor.


The same actually works great when offering your services. Instead of just sending your CV and service list with prices, approach them offering help.

Something like:

Hey X,

I’ve been using your website for ages and totally love it, but I’ve recently noticed your checkout form is glitching badly. Plus, you might be losing customers at step 3.

I know that could be easily fixed with a solution X. In fact, I’m a UX-designer and could do that in just 2 days.

Let me know if I should tell you more of how to solve this problem and make some other improvements.


Similar letters have landed very decent gigs and new customers to some of my freelancing friends in various niches – from writing to app development.

3. Teach, not preach

Another major problem I’m often notice is that a lot of folks try to hard sell something from the first moment you encounter with them.


Meaning, they try to persuade you that you have a problem. It’s a very-very big problem you fail to deal with, but we are your magic cure for everything.

Well, yes that might work in some cases for some categories of people and leave the other half feeling pathetic.


I don’t want to be told I am stupid and don’t know anything about subject X (I’m pretty aware of that myself, thank you). I don’t want to be constantly reminded of that.

Instead, I want to be taught of how I could fix that.

Give away something for free; teach people useful stuff and they will spread a good word for you and opt to purchase your services someday.


4. Know when to give up

You wrote a good email, you’ve followed up in a week, and still got no reply? It doesn’t mean you should look up their number and phone them.


Someone’s not engaging with you on Twitter or Facebook? Don’t turn into a stalker and bombard them with even more messages.

Enough is enough. Spill your energy somewhere on making new contacts and getting introduced to more people.


Here’s some more food for thought on the subject from LifeHacker.


And kudos to story645 for publishing this amazing piece of how you should talk to people from the Internet without looking creepy!

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