A client of mine is a Cardiff-based IT support company. While seeking out relevant links, I came across the website for a London-based IT support company who have a resource section on their site that basically says that they only cover London and the south of England, so here are some links to other companies that provide IT support services in the rest of the UK. Aww… isn’t that nice of them?
My client wasn’t included in the South Wales section, so I rubbed my hands together, hopped onto their Contact Us page to find… that there was no email address listed or a contact form. Oh.
All they had was a phone number and a postal address.
This was my moment, I thought… my first ever link request by phone! I first came across the tactic of asking for links via phone (rather than bog-standard email) on Jon Cooper/Point Blank SEO’s site. It’s in his link building strategies list – I also thought he had a standalone post/case study about it, but can’t seem to find it (if anyone else does, please let me know). (EDIT: Jon has commented at the bottom of this post and shared a link to it.) I’ve always been a bit of a phoneaphobe (even now), so I tend to rely on email more than I do on phone, but Mr Cooper is wise beyond his young years and so I thought I’d give it a try…
I called the IT company’s office. I got through to someone and explained that I had a client who’d love to appear in their site’s South Wales category. He sounded a bit baffled, but said “oh yeah, I think it’s Todd who takes care of that” (I can’t remember if his name was Todd… let’s just go with Todd) and he put me on hold to patch me through to him.
The hold music was unusual but hilarious. It was a message to the tune of Double Rainbow, i.e. this song:
The message had Double Rainbow-style vocals, with lyrics saying something like: “we’re sorry, we don’t accept sales calls / please write to us instead / I hope we can still be friends”. Very odd hold music for their clients to hear and for all other calls! I was chuckling away to myself while waiting for Todd to pick up, except that when the song finished, the phone cut off. Oh.
I called back, assuming it was a mistake (I bet you can see where this is going). I spoke to the same guy as before and explained to him that I didn’t get through to Todd, that I was cut off while on hold. “Oh, I’ll try again,” he said. This time, however there was different hold music, something more normal: calm chill-out music. Then 30 seconds later, it changed… into the Double Rainbow remix.
Yep. I’d been trolled. Royally trolled. Those cheeky
bastards monkeys. I’d been mistaken for a sales call.
I was a little annoyed at first. Yes, my call was unsolicited, but it wasn’t a sales call. I wasn’t asking them to buy anything, I was just hoping for a wee favour. I have no idea whether: a) the guy I spoke to simply didn’t know what the hell I was on about and simply assumed it was a sales call, or b) they treat this type of thing in the same way as sales calls, or c) Todd simply couldn’t be arsed that day.
I contemplated calling back and speaking to them a third time, but quite frankly I didn’t want to embarrass myself any further…
Instead, I thought back to the Double Rainbow message: “please write to us instead”. What’s an SEO to do? Yep, you’ve guessed it… This post is not only the account of my first ever link request by phone, but also my first ever link request by snail mail! I had Todd’s name, so I could address the letter to him directly. I spoke to my client about it – asking them if they were happy for me to send a letter on their behalf – and they said yes. So I sent them a letter, explaining how I’d been mistaken for a sales call, asking for what I wanted (again) and passing on the link. On a piece of paper. Very old-school.
Weeks have now passed. I checked the page recently and my client’s still not on there, so either Todd ripped up my letter and threw it in the bin, or it’s on his low priority to-do pile. I’m hoping for the latter, as it’ll be awesome if they get a link in the end, after all of the above!
But one thing’s for sure… I don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to ask for a link over the phone again…!