November 2012 is more than a year away, but White House and congressional contenders are already hitting the campaign trail. It’s typically easier for local incumbents to gain re-election than it is for outsiders to be elected. This is because familiarity breeds trust. The same applies to marketing, if you already have an affiliation with a website, there is a much greater likely hood that they’ll be willing to link to you.
As you should always start a link acquisition campaign by contacting those you already know, below are a few steps to help you get started.
Identify Your Voters
First you’ll need to create a spreadsheet of contacts to outreach to. This should include businesses and organizations that you work with in any capacity.
- Business Associates
List all of your major suppliers and service providers. You give them your business, the least they can do is link to you. Review your regular customers, if they carry a significant amount of your product and you have a decent relationship with them, add them to the spreadsheet.
Review and list any nonprofits you have donated your business services, cash or items to. Even if it was a onetime thing, such as speaking at a career day, you should contact them.
If you have any speaking engagements planned, go to the hosting organization’s website. They should have a list of speaker biographies that you can request a link be placed in.
Although you already have an affiliation with the websites you’ll be reaching out to, you’ll want to reacquaint yourself with them if your interaction has been limited over the past few months. Even the most well-known politicians have to campaign, they don’t just send an email asking for your vote the week before the election. If you find an article that you think a contact would be interested in, share it with them. If they’re a customer, ask for feedback about a particular product or ways you can improve your service. Basically, do anything you can to remind them that you still exist and that you care about them.
Ask for the Vote
Before making contact you’ll need to craft your template. Although you can make your request over the phone, sending an email will allow you to easily show where you want the link.
- Like a speech, the more original and personable the better. Reference past conversations or touch on any company news you discovered on their website.
- Know what keywords and anchor text you’ll request, if you have a decent rapport—ask that they use it. If the relationship is fairly new, drop hints by using your desired anchor text as a hyperlink in your email.
- Since you’ve done your research and know the exact page you want your link on, include this URL in your request email. You want to make it as easy and clear for them as possible.
If there are other links on the target page—such as a list of distributors—include your link in a similar format. If all the other links have a logo and a few sentences, be sure to include the same in your email.
- Emphasize what’s in it for them. Will they be able to provide their visitors with useful information, flaunt their affiliation with your awesome brand, or receive early information?
If your list of prospects is short, start building relationships. Interact with your customers more, go to networking events and donate extra supplies to a local nonprofit. Oh, and from a SEO point of view, it helps if the charity you pick has a website with a decent page authority.