Despite coding Roster Brain in language I hadn’t used extensively, on a platform I hadn’t used before, with a database larger than I’ve ever managed, and more dynamic features than I’ve ever put into a site, I was most concerned with the marketing aspects of the project.
I figure the sports fan who would appreciate Roster Brain spends their internet time on message boards and reading sports blogs/news. To get in front of these audiences, it means I either need to post on a bunch of forums or get featured on sports blogs somehow. Since spamming forums that I don’t regularly participate in is not likely to go well, it means I really need to pitch to sports bloggers.
The trouble is that any kind of direct marketing seems intrusive and I don’t like to be the guy filling up email boxes with unwanted messages. Admit it – when you get an email that’s obviously just trying to get you to do something, you delete it immediately and develop a negative impression of the brand.
Because of this, I’ve defined some rules to keep my cold messages from annoying people:
- Messages are either very brief or customized
- Messages are not pushy
- Messages are only sent to website owners with posted contact information
Either the person is interested or they’re not. Since there are about a million sports blogs, I don’t really have to worry about contacting bloggers several times and agitating anyone. I am keeping a list of bloggers I contact so that I don’t accidentally hit anyone with the same message multiple times…this also lets me follow up later with any leads that seem promising, but didn’t materialize.
Fighting pitch anxiety
I’ve always been easily immobilized by anxiety and sending out the first few of these pitch emails was certainly subject to anxiety. I intended to send them out the day after launching, but it took me a week and half to work up to it. I was fighting the same nerves and uncertainty I had when launching, but managed to finally work through it. After all, who cares if a no-name blogger doesn’t like my website?
The rush of success
So I only sent out about 10 emails yesterday and did not receive a single reply. However, I did see on the analytics that a couple of people checked out the link I sent, which is a good sign. An even better sign though, MLB Trade Rumors, a blog I contacted, included a link to Roster Brain on a weekly Bloggers Weigh In post.
I got so excited to see some new traffic flowing in from that link, that it completely invalidates any anxiety I had about sending out the emails in the first place. I guess that’s the rush of success that propels salesmen forward. Sure this is only a small victory in a marathon of promotion, but it’s a huge first step and definitely gives me some marketing momentum moving forward.