This subject always reminds me of a good quote I heard years back, I never forgot it:
“A smart man learns from his own mistakes, a brilliant man learns from the mistakes of others.”
We have been very proactive in learning from the mistakes of others. Nowhere else is this more apparent than in our approach to building links. I am very proud to say that we have never, since the birth of this company, built a “spammy” link. All of our links, we’ve earned, through the natural process.
We earn our links through relationships; personal, authentic relationships. You can do it yourself. The beauty of our organic approach is that it is not difficult to understand. It is, however, difficult to manage because it requires the most coveted of all human traits: discipline, patience, and consistency.
We have said over and over again, that we do not like to get too concerned with fancy marketing internet tools. The internet, through all of its complexity, is still a medium for people to communicate with each other. Personal relationships and evoking emotion is, and always will be, the driving force behind marketing campaigns.
Why is it so common for addiction marketers to forget about human interactions when working on the internet? The power is in the people.
This is exactly how we do it. We don’t have any fancy secrets behind our link building approach. Obviously, there are other methods such as directory submissions, and these are widely accepted as good techniques in the right medium. However, we still stand behind our 5 step approach to building links through relationships.
1. Go Out and Meet People
There is nothing wrong with introducing yourself. We see a lot of people getting stuck at this beginning step because introducing yourself and putting yourself out there, naturally comes with a bit of anxiety. This does not have to be the case. The more you do it the more comfortable you will feel.
Shake hands, introduce yourself to strangers, collect business cards, tell people who you are and what you do. We suggest keeping a binder full of business cards and keeping your contacts organized. Take it from me, it is very unbecoming to call or reach out to a person while thinking they are someone else. Please, don’t do that.
Now, if you are 100% against meeting people face to face, keep in mind that there are hundreds of social media outlets to use. Twitter has proven to be the best networking tool for our business strategy but, obviously there are plenty of others to choose from.
Whatever your venue is, we suggest that you’re always being genuine. Listen to people when they speak to you. Think of ways you can help them and be sincere in your desire to help. Try to find ways that you can contribute to them, because people will see right through you if you are saying one thing but actually meaning another. Don’t bullshit people just to get something from them. It’s bad business, bad energy, and bad link building.
2. Understanding Your Contacts
Know who you are speaking to. There are plenty of resources available for us to get a better understanding of the accomplishments and character of our contacts. LinkedIn is a great tool for this. It is also a good idea to Google any potential business partner.
Organization is key. We keep a company wide spread sheet that lists all of our contacts, what they do, what websites they control, and what businesses they may be a part of. When applicable, we also keep important notes on conversations that may take place or any points of interest about our contacts.
Don’t make it too complicated. In the dark ages, (the 1980’s of course) entire businesses were kept and managed through address books, phone books, and accounting notebooks. How did the world run before the internet?
3. Cultivate Your Relationships
We assign this role to one person. Our social media manager is always entrusted with the responsibility to keep and cultivate relationships. This means sending out emails to check in with our clients, keeping people in mind when seeing something that may be beneficial to them, and sharing some content or throwing out ideas that may help them.
We cannot over state this concept enough: the point is not to manipulate people into doing favors for you. The point is to build, grow, and nurture valuable relationships.
At the end of the day, we hope these relationships will help build upon a link network. However, you never know exactly what will come of your relationships. One thing is for certain: good relationships are more valuable than any fancy tool or link building scheme out there. Relationships can be molded and built upon. Who knows exactly what great things could grow from the creative energy being harvested?
The sky is the limit, and when smart people come together, beautiful work is created.
4. Have Something to Offer
There is no such thing as something for nothing. Building a relationship is a two way street. You must have something to offer in return for whatever it is you may ask for.
Here is an example…
Over time, we have been able to build a strong social media following for Sober Nation, one of our clients. We were approached recently by a video marketing company who was looking for publicity in their newest project.
We put our heads together and came up with ways that we could help each other. We started by promoting their kick-starter campaign on social media. They also asked if Sober Nation would be willing to write some content for one of their “Personal Story” pages on their website. In exchange, we asked if they would be willing to put a link in the text of the content.
They agreed, we agreed. They got traction on their fundraiser. They got some content for their site, and we got a naturally earned back link. They benefited, we benefited, and everything had value which makes for a better internet.
That, is how it’s done!
5. Don’t Stop There
Keep it going. Remember what we said in the beginning about discipline, patience, and consistency? You never know what other opportunities will come from working with other influencers in the addiction treatment field.
This process is a revolving door. There is no final exam. You keep at it, you continue to make yourself available. Before long, you will start to see some real cross promotional benefits from your efforts.
There is no reason to separate digital marketing from relational marketing. Behind every computer, behind every iPhone, and every analytics graph, is a person. That person feels emotion and gets excited just like anyone else.
Be honest and be genuine in your approach. We welcome you to try this approach on your own. If you think you have a better way, we welcome your input as well. Until that day comes, Stodzy will continue to use personal relationship building as the foundation for our link building efforts.
Till next time.