The other day I was looking at the web-stat graphs for one of the websites we manage. I noticed a recent spike in traffic and looked at the referrer details to see where it was coming from… The majority of it was from a recent post in Google Groups.
Apparently, some people had been trying to get ahold of the web site owner and weren’t getting a response. The owner quickly dug through his spam box and located the attempts to contact him – responded to those requests and regained the otherwise lost business. He even generated a few sales in the process.
The experience brings up a few quick suggestions, to avoid the same situation yourself.
1. If you utilize a spam filter in conjunction with your email, make sure that you frequently check your spam box, scanning it for legitimate mail. Spam filters aren’t fool proof, sometimes it will see a legitimate inquiry into your product or service as spam.
2. Set up a few email filters related to your product or service. For instance if you sell blue widgets, create a filter for the words “blue widget”, “quote”, “request”, etc. and have it go directly to your inbox, bypassing the spam filter. Yes, you’ll get a bit more spam showing up – BUT, you’re also less likely to miss out on some important inquiries.
3. Use a service like Google Alerts to stay alert to new links to your website from the world wide web, blogs and newsgroups. It is easy to set up. Go to http://www.google.com/alerts and fill out their simple form supplying the keyword phrase you want to watch (in this case use your company or product name), the email address you want the alerts delivered to and the frequency with which you’d like to receive them. Confirm the Google Alert request by checking your email box, click thier confirmation url and your set – a personal search bot ala Google.