It All Goes to Crap Eventually

Today I mentioned to a private coaching group that they can buy 18,000 leads – first name, last name, company, domain, company size, and email address – for $399.

This is amazing, of course, but the ramification is that lots of other people do it too.

In 2017, SPAM as a share of all emails was 60%. I’d guess it’s quite a bit higher for business email.

Here’s what I saw on my LinkedIn newsfeed today:

  • A picture of a desk supported by a model tie fighter (which is cool, btw)

  • A video of a Canadian goose migrating

  • A video of MC Lyte and KRS One

  • An ad for a knockoff handbag

  • A video commanding me to make my bed if I want to change the world

Of course I cherry-picked these examples, and there are still plenty of business-related posts on LinkedIn. But I see a trend that can’t be ignored.

I also get messages daily asking me if I want more leads for my coaching business. No thanks.

At risk of sounding like I’m shaking my fist at middle-school-aged skateboarders, this isn’t a complaint about LinkedIn. It’s simply an acknowledgement that, eventually, every channel used for sales and marketing erodes.

Andrew Chen pointed this out in his wonderful article The Law of Shitty Clickthroughs, and to my eyes, it’s still true.

Here’s the thing though: it doesn’t all go to crap. There will always be a market for making people better off.

Said another way, business problems are evergreen, but the tactics used to solve them are not.

I have plenty of friends running LinkedIn lead gen companies, and they’re doing really well. But it has an expiration date. Not that LinkedIn lead generation will go away, it’ll just get more difficult, more specialized, and therefore less profitable for most.

I say this as a cautionary tale: don’t chase today’s trend. Play the long game and focus on the problems that never go away. Find one, and spend your career solving that.