There are many perks to running a website, and a lot of these revolve around the fact that you get money coming into your account even while you’re sleeping. However one of the other big positives that many of us webmasters enjoy which isn’t quite as well publicized and talked about is the following you can get and the amount of fan mail it can generate. If you have a website that has anywhere over 1,000 unique hits a day, then you will automatically become somewhat of an authority on your chosen subject and something of an internet celebrity that can provide a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment as well as something of an ego massage.
Yes, you are likely to get fan mail, but this is something that can be both a blessing and a curse if you don’t know how to handle it. Here we will look at some helpful advice.
Among your fan mail you are likely to get various different ‘opportunities’ offered to you by other webmasters, film producers and people who want to meet up for drinks and maybe more. This is all fine and well and it can be very exciting, but just be sure to handle all of these things carefully and with a pinch of salt. You should be willing to look into the opportunities that come your way because some of these will be genuine and I personally have enjoyed featuring in a documentary, having websites built for me for free and more thanks to the e-mails I’ve answered. However there are also those people out there who are looking to take advantage of you or who are just plain nuts. You should be very cynical when answering your e-mail and you should be very critical of each message you get to ensure that it seems legitimate and that there is nothing suspicious about it. Don’t give out your personal address or phone number and make sure that you establish a professional relationship with whoever it is you’re talking to before you trust them. If they are genuine then they will understand your reluctance to dive in.
Some fans will write to you and gush about your YouTube videos and your writing style and these messages can be fun to answer – you get an ego boost and they get to hear back from someone they clearly admire. However you also need to know where to draw the line here and when to cut things off. If someone continues to e-mail you multiple times a day then this can simply take up too much of your time when you could be working. Likewise if they become too obsessive… well it’s a little bit creepy.
The solution is to be friendly but somewhat removed in all of your communications with fans and to take your time responding so that they don’t come to expect a fast reply. Another tip is to make sure that you have somewhere to talk such as a forum or a comments utility on your site. This way if they are taking up too much of your time you can simply ask that they correspond from now on using your forum. This is a good strategy because it then benefits your SEO and because it means your discussions are now public and thus less creepy…
Spam is a big problem if you give your e-mail address out on your website, and the obvious solution is to write your e-mail address without the @ and to avoid using a mailto link. However if you find this creates a barrier and stops you from being contacted as much then you might want to write a PHP contact form with a spam filter to solve the problem. Finally, it’s always a good idea to have a separate e-mail for business and for leisure.
Brad Campbell is a successful internet marketing coach and works with web entrepreneurs to help them learn the rops of blogging and affiliate marketing.