Traffic Tips to Kickstart your Crowdfunding Campaign

You’ve had that next billion dollar idea and you’re going to raise your first $25k via Kickstarter, Indiegogo or another crowd funding site to make it a reality.

Simply put, crowdfunding is the process of asking the general public for donations that provide startup capital for new ventures. Using the technique, entrepreneurs and small business owners can bypass venture capitalists and angel investors entirely and instead pitch ideas straight to everyday Internet users, who provide financial backing.

Competition for crowdfunding dollars is already high, and destined to become even more competitive as time passes. Launching a project on a crowd funding site is far from a guaranteed success – less than half of the Kickstarter projects reach their funding goal, and around 12% don’t receive a single pledge, therefore no matter how great your product is you’re going to need to get web traffic to your funding page or you are going to struggle to raise the necessary capital to get your project off the ground.

Phase 1: Build your audience

The most successful entrepreneurs know the power of leveraging other people’s money to get to where they want to be. Well the best marketers know how to leverage other people’s audiences to do that too. You want to start this phase at least 3-4 months before you plan to launch your funding campaign.

It’s important to write down who your ideal customer is and who your ideal funder will be. I like to create personas based on real data about customer demographics and online behaviour, along with educated guesses about their personal histories, motivations, and potential concerns.

Try to answer the following questions while you write out your personas:

  • What are the biggest problems they are trying to solve?
  • What do they need most?
  • What information are they typically searching for?
  • What trends are influencing their business or personal success?

Next, develop a profile of each persona’s typical online activities. You know who they are and what their needs are, now think about all the ways they research a potential purchase on your site or on others.

  • What do they do online? Do they read blogs? Are they active on social media?
  • What kind of search terms do they use? Are they on email lists or RSS subscribers?
  • What kind of information do they tend to consume online? Infographics? Videos? Podcasts?

Continue reading

You Can get Links from Cold Outreach

There are a lot of great articles out there on how to write great outreach emails that will help to get you the attention of your link prospects but I want to cover a quick and easy way to get the attention of journalists and thought leaders in your space by creating a “need based desire” in your outreach emails.

This is a technique I have personally used to secure links for clients in the Guardian, the New York Times and Mashable to name but a few.

As a link builder it’s important to be able to communicate effectively with your link prospects. A great way to do this is to stop thinking about you/your client’s objectives and think more about the needs of your link prospect.

These types of people need to be creating content on a regular basis and not just any old content; but content that will get extra traffic to their websites or increase publication sales in order for their employers to justify paying their wage every month.

Can’t get people to link to you?

I know link building is a really hard old game and believe me when I say this, it’s only going to get tougher as the goal posts continue to move and the bar for entry onto the first page of Google becomes even higher.  It’s probably even more annoying when you see successful link builders seemingly build super high quality links with ease.

Most great link builders are very good communicators and whether they know it or not are employing NLP techniques.

What the heck is NLP?

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) in simple terms is the study of how our minds use, interpret and process language and thought. NLP is the process of talking someone into seeing their environment in a different way and was discovered by watching therapeutic experts and modeling their behaviours so that it could be taught to others in their fields.

The basic principles of NLP are:

  • Rapport – the practise of building a relationship with an individual and earning their trust
  • Anchoring – is a technique where an association is created between two separate entities where none existed before. Anchors are subtle and powerful, especially when they are attached to a strong emotion. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the anchor!
  • Swish – is used to replace a negative state of mind with a more positive outlook
  • Reframing – works by giving us a new way to look at and old idea (inbound marketing anyone?)

Using NLP in your link building efforts is quite easy if you approach it in an organised and linear fashion. First, you need to determine what it is you want the link prospect to do. That’s what it all comes down to; your link target taking a positive action and linking back to you. Now that you have defined your goal, the next step is to determine the elements of your outreach communication and the anchors that you want to attach to them.

Use representational systems in your link building efforts

Great communicators take advantage of all 4 representational systems to create the maximum impact. When you begin to understand how your link prospects process information, communicate and make decisions you can relate to them much better. When talking with a link prospect, of a different style to your own, it is important to speak their language.

Auditory: people with an auditory preference are great story tellers and love to talk. Ultimately they want to have fun and attend “fun” events. They are big picture orientated so don’t require the details so consider picking up the phone and having a chat.

Auditory Digital: individuals with an auditory digital preference are very detail orientated perfectionists, preferring order over chaos and their personal space. When you write an email to them be specific, prepared and precise &offer them plenty of links and references for further research such as charts and data.

Visual: people with a visual style are driven and very businesslike. They don’t want the detail and need the big picture so make sure your communications with these types of people are brief and to the point. These types of people prefer visualisations (infographics and photos) and very much love to win; so think about blogging competitions and ego bait to get this particular groups attention.

Kinaesthetic: (try saying that after a few sambucas) individuals who have a kinaesthetic preference are doers and want to take action. These types of people enjoy getting out and interacting so why not arrange a meet-up with other webmasters in their location, pick up the phone, invite them for a coffee or host a webinar.

Every one of us has a mixture of all four representational but we have one that we prefer and operate in most of the time. When we take the time to learn to recognise other people’s preferred representational styles we can relate better to them by adapting our style to theirs. In other words, if you love facts and figures you need to realise that not everyone you have dealings with will appreciate your passion for in depth detail and therefore only want a “big picture” view.

The key influencers we want to target with our outreach efforts are likely to be keen social media users, bloggers or published authors. This makes it very easy for us to pick up on the words and language they use without having to meet them in real life and make these decisions on the spot.

We stalk can follow them on social media sites e.g. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, subscribe to their blog’s RSS Feed or you could use Google and a few advanced search operators to find any comments they may have left on blogs, forums or Q&A sites.

As someone who likes to visualise things I will add a person’s Twitter profile, Google+ or RSS feed into this free HTML5 Word Cloud or Tagxedo to see which words they are commonly using and then analyse them to gauge their preferences.

Visual Style

People with a visual preference are often direct, business and career focused, driven, leaders and action takers. They dislike small talk, too much detail and time wasters.

Phrases they are more likely to use:

  • I see what you mean
  • I can see the big picture
  • It appears to me
  • Picture this
  • Mental Picture
  • 30,000ft view

If you are following them on Twitter or Google+ they are more likely to be sharing articles and talking about business, productivity or boasting about their latest achievements.

Kinaesthetic Style

People with a kinaesthetic preferential system are laid back, casual and are very people focused. They are risk averse, avoid confrontation and really don’t appreciate being pushed in to make quick decisions. It’s quite common to find these people in roles that involve a lot of physical activity.

Key phrases that they use:

  • That feels right to me.
  • Come to grips with
  • Let’s touch base.
  • Let’s connect.
  • Take care.
  • Get a handle on it.
  • I feel strongly about this.
  • Let’s do this together.

Auditory Style

This group are very talkative, animated, day dreamers, like the big picture, prefer to deal with people and want to have fun. They are easily distracted and can get bored quickly.

Key words they use:

  • Hear
  • Ask
  • Talk
  • Tell
  • Fun
  • Sound

Auditory Digital

People with an auditory digital preference will often be in careers that involve data, analysis and considered planning. They love details, facts, order and being prepared, they therefore do not appreciate people who are late, don’t deliver on time or are unprepared.

Key words that they use:

  • Process
  • Think
  • Know
  • Details
  • Research

Below is a word cloud from some interviews people have conducted with Wil Reynolds over the past couple of years.

Even though the ultimate point of an outreach campaign is to get something you want, the prospect needs to feel like their own best interests are at the heart of the request. Be very clear about what the reader should do and why s/he should to it in light of how s/he will benefit. Also never underestimate the power of reciprocity. It’s an influential social norm that you can use to your advantage to develop rapport and create an anchor when carrying out link building campaigns and is the true secret behind the nature of many successful link building tactics.

How do you get responses to cold emails?

I’ve read lots of outreach posts over the past couple of years but very few have touched on creating a psychological need for someone to actually want to respond to your cold emails. This is quite a an easy tactic to employ in your outreach methods and can be implemented in your next link building campaign almost immediately.


In emails to people you don’t know you want to create an information gap.

Dr. George Lowenstien wrote a paper about Information Gap Theory in 1994 and it works like this:

When we come across something new that is not explained by our previous knowledge or experiences, an information gap is formed, and we have a desire to find the answer. 

If you’ve ever read “Driven”, “Make it Stick” or Derek Halpren’s blog you will have inevitably come across this theory before, but how many of you are implementing this right now in your outreach methods?

This is marketing 101 and yet very few people utilise this in their outreach efforts and instead spend their time “creating relationships”. So, when you email a person you don’t know for the first time you  generate an information gap and hence create a need based desire for them to have to reply to you.

You have created an anxiety, and only you can resolve it.

You do not, I repeat do not, include the link in the first email as this will look like any other spammy link request your prospect will receive day after day.

For example, if I was promoting some research my client had recently carried out on Pinterest traffic and conversions I might send the following email:

———————————————————————-

Hi (blogger name)

I came across some data that shows Pinterest traffic is worthless for eCommerce stores. The research was carried out by a major online retailer and shows that Pinterest traffic has a 40% higher bounce rate than Facebook and a conversion rate which is 25% lower than Twitter. 
 
If you would like me to send across more information about the research let me know, and I’ll happily email it across.
 
Thanks,
 
Chris
 

———————————————————————-

Did you see how quick and easy my email was, honestly now how many times do you blindly send out press releases or “please link to my post type” stuff?

I created an information gap by showing them the results of the research and they now have a “need based desire” to close that gap; the quickest and easiest way for them to do that is by replying to my email for me to send them the link to the research. I’m giving them what they want… I’m not soliciting a link, I’m just getting my content in front of someone who wants to read it, it just so happens they are thought leader in my niche.

But Chris I don’t have the budget to do all this research – well you don’t need to use your client’s own research, you could cite other people’s research in a blog post or infographic.

A lot of universities and government agencies aren’t great at making their data or research into news-worthy pieces. So you could cite them and by publishing the data in a new way or creating an exciting conclusion on your website you have some credible research that can be used as part of your outreach methods.

The next time you are carrying out an outreach campaign create a need based desire in your link prospect in order for them to reply to your emails.

Relationship Building ≠ Link Building

I’m going to let all you link builders in on a little secret… you don’t always need to be “building relationships” to be “building links”. Tweet this

Yes, a pre-existing relationship, even a passing acquaintance, is going to increase the likelihood that your outreach email will be acted upon. But let’s get serious for a moment most of the recent posts I have read on “relationship building” simply will not scale.

Despite the sinister undertones of forcefully trying to create some sort of relationship, the reason I am saying this is that the tactics people are employing involve putting a lot of focus on just a handful of prospects at a time.

They’ll attach themselves to a prospect and give a little, then wait, then give a little more, then wait…. rinse and repeat.

All you are actually doing is wasting time, not building links relationships Tweet This

Developing a mutually beneficial relationship can take a very long time and it is normal in the world of link building that no matter how great your pitch, your client or you are that these people you’ve spent time developing a relationship with will say NO.

That’s amazing to believe isn’t it, you’ve invested hours and hours building a “relationship” and when you finally got round to asking for the link they said, no!

What have you been doing on your client’s money for the past month.

I’m sure they can’t wait for their next monthly report…

If you really, truly, want to develop relationships online in order to build links then you need to change your mindset and begin to think about it in a scalable way.

Find the right people to target

As a link builder it is important that you cast your net far and wide. Don’t just focus on the big fish in the pond. Build up a prospective list of people who are a little lower down the pecking order; find out who is in the extended network of the influencer – oftentimes there are people influencing the influencer who are a lot more accessible.

This can be done with a social media tool such as Mentionmapp which shows you visually see who is talking to who and will help you to identify sub-communities on Twitter; simples.

If you are struggling to find new link prospects for your campaign then consider chunking up, or chunking down.

In NLP ‘chunking up’ refers to moving to a more general or abstract piece of information, ‘chunking down’ means moving to a more specific (niche) or detailed information. They help you think laterally fast. 

Kieran Flanagan source

If you spend a little time and think creatively you will come up with a lot more prospects in similar niches that you can begin to “build those relationships with” and at the same time developing a serious database of link prospects at various stages of development.

Automation is not a dirty word

What!!! You’re talking about automated link building in these post-penguin deep dark times… yes but not in the way’s you’re thinking about. No I’m talking about automating some of the processes I have discussed earlier in this post.

What you want to do is find tools, build tools or outsource the parts of this job that are so mind numbingly boring and ultimately are so cost inefficient you’re not going to make anywhere near the kind of money you would like.

For example you can use Mechanical Turk to outsource some of these link prospecting tasks for you, below is a video from Ben Wills, Ontolo:

How to Leverage Amazon’s Mechanical Turk for Link Building from Ontolo on Vimeo

You can also use advanced search operators in tools such as Scrapebox to return lots opportunities in a specific niche, or even a Chrome plugin such as Scraper can help you with this. If you are not sure what to do then this post from Justin Briggs will help you out.

I did say that you don’t need relationships to build links, didn’t I.

Well we can do this by building rapport quickly and not having to spend hours stalking people on social media or including them on a link round up post every few weeks. This involves understanding what motivates your prospect, knowing how to talk to their language and having something valuable to offer them, whether that’s fixing a broken link, offering a guest post or whatever link building tactic floats your boat.

So I’ll leave it to you to decide but I know I’d rather spend my time scaling my link building efforts, developing content that will earn me links and not sitting on Social Media for hours on end +1ing and RTing everything a few people are doing.

Add to Your RSS – Best Link Building Blogs for 2013

 

I think a lot of Link builders will be glad to see the back of 2012. The bar to entry on the first page of Google has been reset by Matt Cutts and his team:

  • Anchor text no longer holds as much weighting
  • Penguins are causing Negative SEO problems
  • Google are sniffing around Infographics and Guest Blogging

So it’s important that you are keeping up to date with the industry news, learn what is or isn’t working and perhaps pick up a few tips to make sure your link outreach emails are opened or acted upon.

Below are a few of my recommended reads for 2013 to make sure you are getting the most bang for your link building $ (but not paid links – no, that’s bad)…

Update… I have updated the list to include 2 new blogs I have started following this year which I am sure you will enjoy…

 

 

 

  • Sky Rocket SEO –  James Agate has really owned the guest blogging space over the past 18 months and has deservedly built up a great reputation when it comes to guest blogging techniques and outreach advice. James doesn’t just write about guest blogging, as this article on finding local link opportunities proves.

 

  • Buzzstream – provides a great link building outreach tool and they have a pretty decent blog that’s updated regularly with practical advice on advanced ways to use their product but also on link building in general.

 

  • Kaiser the Sage – Jason Acidre is a Manila based SEO consultant. He only began working in SEO in 2010 and his support to the online marketing community and his dedication to his blog have been inspiring in the past 12 months. Oh and don’t bother trying to take his crown as King of Inbound.org – you’ll regret it. One of my favourite posts of 2012 was on Conversion based Link Building.

 

 

  • Cucumber Nebula –Peter Attia’s shares his advice and thoughts on link building and online marketing. Peter offers a lot of good advice on outreach techniques and also some outside the box thinking with his Evil Ways to Build Links posts.

 

 

  • TLC SEO – this is the personal SEO blog of John Henry Scherck. It was launched in the last few months of 2012 and it already shows a lot of promise. John Henry writes a couple of times per month on tips that can help you scale your link building efforts using various tools such as Screaming Frog or the Citation Labs Link Prospector. Check this post out How to Scale Link Prospecting.

 

  • Backlinko – Brian Dean launched this blog in 2012 and I have been checking out some of his recent work. His link building techniques might be a little risky for some people but I recommend that you read his post 17 Untapped Link Building Resources which contains some creative link opportunities.

 
So fire up your RSS reader and if you aren’t already reading these blogs regularly I highly recommend you do.

I know there are probably some link buildings blogs I’ve missed off my list but many of them haven’t posted that frequently in the past 12 months which has meant they’ve not made the list.

So who have I missed? Tell me in the comments…

Identify your Link Prospects Preferred Representational System

Following some feedback from my last post on NLP and link building, I’m going to follow up with some quick and easy ways that you can identify a link prospects preferred representational system to improve your chances of success with your outreach communications.

Every one of us has a mixture of all four representational but we have one that we prefer and operate in most of the time. When we take the time to learn to recognise other people’s preferred representational styles we can relate better to them by adapting our style to theirs. In other words, if you love facts and figures you need to realise that not everyone you have dealings with will appreciate your passion for in depth detail and therefore only want a “big picture” view.

The key influencers we want to target with our outreach efforts are likely to be keen social media users, bloggers or published authors. This makes it very easy for us to pick up on the words and language they use without having to meet them in real life and make these decisions on the spot.

We stalk can follow them on social media sites e.g. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, subscribe to their blog’s RSS Feed or you could use Google and a few advanced search operators to find any comments they may have left on blogs, forums or Q&A sites.

As someone who likes to visualise things I will add a person’s Twitter profile, Google+ or RSS feed into this free HTML5 Word Cloud or Tagxedo to see which words they are commonly using and then analyse them to gauge their preferences.

Visual Style

People with a visual preference are often direct, business and career focused, driven, leaders and action takers. They dislike small talk, too much detail and time wasters.

Phrases they are more likely to use:

  • I see what you mean
  • I can see the big picture
  • It appears to me
  • Picture this
  • Mental Picture
  • 30,000ft view

If you are following them on Twitter or Google+ they are more likely to be sharing articles and talking about business, productivity or boasting about their latest achievements.

Kinaesthetic Style

People with a kinaesthetic preferential system are laid back, casual and are very people focused. They are risk averse, avoid confrontation and really don’t appreciate being pushed in to make quick decisions. It’s quite common to find these people in roles that involve a lot of physical activity.

Key phrases that they use:

  • That feels right to me.
  • Come to grips with
  • Let’s touch base.
  • Let’s connect.
  • Take care.
  • Get a handle on it.
  • I feel strongly about this.
  • Let’s do this together.

Auditory Style

This group are very talkative, animated, day dreamers, like the big picture, prefer to deal with people and want to have fun. They are easily distracted and can get bored quickly.

Key words they use:

  • Hear
  • Ask
  • Talk
  • Tell
  • Fun
  • Sound

Auditory Digital

People with an auditory digital preference will often be in careers that involve data, analysis and considered planning. They love details, facts, order and being prepared, they therefore do not appreciate people who are late, don’t deliver on time or are unprepared.

Key words that they use:

  • Process
  • Think
  • Know
  • Details
  • Research

Below is a word cloud from some interviews people have conducted with Wil Reynolds over the past couple of years.

So, how would you approach creating an outreach campaign to persuade Wil to link to you?