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5 Ways to Entice Your Parallel Market to Trade Links
|Copyright 2004 Tinu AbayomiPaul
Lots of people get confounded when attempting to exchange links, you’re not alone. The people who have the spot you want are competitors. The people who don't aren't worth exchanging links with. What to do?
It's not necessarily the method you're using, it may be the approach.
If you know anything about SEO, you know you need relevant links to your site, preferably more in than you have out. And whether you actively pursue search engine listings or not, you’ll find that many surfers travel the web through the links they find, often without realizing it.
So how do you achieve this without linking to the sites you are competing with?
Think Parallel Markets.
When most people think of this term, they are speaking from an investment standpoint. In this discussion, I'm simply referring to groups of products and services which cater to people with similiar needs.
If your market is delivery or carry-out pizza, your market is fast food. But your parallel market might be frozen pizzas, Italian food store chains, or cheese, maybe even films.
Pizza delivery chains offer free DVDs with a delivery order because they figure that people who eat pizza at home watch films while they eat - ordering in and watching a movie is (sadly) the new third date.
To discover your parallel market, think of things that your customers have in common that brings them to your site, then eliminate things that compete.
So now you know *who* to ask to link to you. But *how* do you get them to link back?
Especially as a new webmaster, it helps if you think from the opposing end of your desires.
Meaning that, before you ask for something, think of what you can give in return. What are the other person's needs? If you don’t know, you can probably find out by subscribing to their newsletter or feed.
That way, when you write to them, instead of sending the standard cookie-cutter email, you can add personalized information that lets them know that you have been to their site repeatedly, list specific issues they have stated before, and use this information to make it worth their while.
Which email would you answer? The one that is obviously a copy, personalized only with your email address? Or the one that states your name and shows that the other person has actually been to your site before?
So take a look at your site. Why should anyone link to you? What will they get out of the deal? Is your site a great resource? Do you have a higher Google PR? Do you do site reviews? Or maybe you’ll just use whatever text they ask for?
When you first start out, with no links back to your site, find other people in your parallel markets who need links too. You're both in the same boat. Help each other.
Then as you see your traffic rising, you can start going after bigger and bigger fish. But again, make it worth their while.
Here are some ways in which you can make a link trade a little more attractive.
Method One: The Recommendation Exchange
When I know of a site that sells inexpensive tools for new marketers that are ready to advance to the next level, I refer a lot of my more advanced crowd to them, and they send me their beginners.
So in approaching them, I might tell them that not only have I already linked to them, but if they link back I’ll also write about them in my blog and my newsletter. Costs me nothing but an extra five minutes, and I’m more likely to get a little bit more than the link trade.
Method Two: The Bribe
This can also increase your reputation as an expert in your field.
Pick five people who are a bit more knowledgeable than you. Ask them if they’d like to be interviewed, for a collection, and offer to distribute the resulting resource for free to their audience, if they’ll link to your home page, where the free ebook can be downloaded.
You've got their link, they've got free publicity in a book they can - and probably will - distribute for you.
Method Three: Use That Feed
There are the sites that want to carry a relevant, frequently updated feed in order to get more search engine visits. So, if you have a feed, you could send that webmaster a link to your feed, and tell them how they can use tools like CARP, RSS Equalizer or RSS Digest to display your feed on their site.
If you update daily, and you're willing to take the bandwidth hit, you might find that they don't even mind a one way link.
Method Four: The Barter
Give them a free copy of your book if they’d link to you. Offer to link back to them if they’ll write a testimonial about the book.
Method Five: The Testimonial
This is a slight variation on the recommendation, because it sometimes ends up as more of a one-way trade.
If you sincerely enjoy a service or product that you bought, go back and pull up the sales page. If the links on the page for the testimonials are live, offer your testimonial.
Caution: Only offer testimonials on products you really used and benefitted from. It’s fine to put your name on something controversial if you really believe in it, but if you give a testimonial just for a link back to your site, you’re messing with your good name.
You should also know that they may not use your testimonial on their site, unless it’s really good - so and try to be as specific as possible about how their product helped you.
The point is, if you think creatively, you can solve your linking problem.
About the author:
Tinu carries on various internet marketing related discussions in her blog at http://FreeTrafficTip.com.
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