I find some of the sales and marketing techniques of SEO firms to be very interesting if not hypocritical.   SEO firms tend to push the benefits of inbound marketing as opposed to telemarketing or emailing. Yet it seems that this industry uses both of those methods quite extensively.    A week doesn’t go by where I don’t receive an email or a phone call from someone trying to convince me that I need their SEO services. Here are a few examples of inquiries.
1.       I get an automated phone call with a message that says: “Our records show that you have not claimed your free Google listing, press 1 to claim your free Google listing”. My take:   Well I bet that if you click 1 someone will be trying to sell you something, more than likely a local search package.   The services that are offered may be legitimate but not free. It’s pretty easy to hang up on an automated call so it doesn’t seem that intrusive.   This call may be a little misleading because it mentions Google twice, but doesn’t mention the name of the company doing the calling.
2.       I get a call from a telemarketer that basically says: “A local Google listing relating to your business just became available, are you interested in claiming that spot?” My take: I may be paraphrasing what they said, but this is very deceptive, because the telemarketer has no legitimate way of determining this. In all likelihood, they are just trying to hook the business and then tell them what category they can put them in after they analyze the business.    This is very deceptive as they are implying that they have information that does not exist. I would stay clear of this company. If they are deceiving you this badly during the sales call, then they will continue to try to deceive you when they get your business.
3.       I get a call from someone that says he urgently needs to talk to the business owner regarding something about his website that is hurting his business.    This is basically a ploy to get around the secretary or gatekeeper. Once he talks to the business owner he is discussing how his site is not ranking in some “essential” search terms because of some issue with his site – it could be linking, meta tags, alt tags etc.   My take: the site could maybe use some optimization and content, but the “emergency spiel doesn’t sit well with me. I believe it is deceptive.
4.       I get a call from someone who introduces himself or his company and asks if I would be interested in sitting down with him to discuss internet marketing.   My take: he obviously did not research my business, because one look at my website and he would have seen that I was my business. Other than that, I felt the approach was honest in that he wasn’t trying to name drop or imply he was something other than a consultant interested in getting my business.   If I wasn’t an internet marketer myself and was genuinely interested, I probably would be willing to meet with this person.
Emails:  I get a lot of emails either by direct email or through my contact form. There are a variety of approaches, but I would not give the time of day to anyone who emailed me out of the blue, trying to sell their services.   Regardless of how they found you or emailed you, it was not wanted, so it is spam. I don’t do business with spammers.