12 Powerful Offers that Build Links in Your Link Acquisition Phase
Once you've gathered and qualified your list of link prospects you must segment them according to the offers of exchange you'll make. For some of your link prospects these offers will be quite simple - an attractive badge, a tshirt or a discount coupon. For other segments of your link prospect list you'll have to expend more resources.
This list of 12 link exchange offers provides a starting point for strategically aligning your offers with the segments you'll find in your link prospect list. It's ordered by our assessment of resource expenditure, from least to greatest.
1) Offer Visually Appealing Link Badges
Sometimes the offer of an attractive, appealing logo badge will be enough for your link prospects to add your link to their site. Include the badge in an html email, as well as on a page of your site. Ideally this is a unique badge you can offer exclusively to the people in your outreach campaign.
2) Offer an Exclusive Coupon or Cost Reduction on Next Purchase
Savings can be a powerful incentive to some segments of your link acquisition group. Whether it's free shipping on the next order, a month of free service or percentage discount never underestimate the power of offering savings in exchange for a link.
3) Offer Exclusive Free Tshirts, Stickers, Tote Bags, Etc...
Free tshirts. Free stickers. Free tote bags. These time-tested offers consistently incent people to take action. Send these offers to the proper segment of your link acquisition list and they will link to you. Ideally you offer exclusive schwag to this segment of your link prospect list.
4) Offer Comprehensiveness of Industry Coverage
One segment of your link prospect list cares deeply about providing accurate, comprehensive coverage of your market. If your company or organization is not mentioned on their site then your offer helps them fulfill their mission of accurately and comprehensively covering their area of passion.
5) Offer Your Expert Recognition of Their Community Contribution
If you have industry or community recognition you can leverage this with some segments of your link prospect list. If you or your brand is well known in your market then send congratulatory and thankful emails that recognize specific contributions the individual has made. Badges of recognition work well in this approach, as do customized, highly personal emails.
6) Offer Something Free for Review
Certain segments of your link prospect list will not link in exchange for cost reductions or schwag. They will view this as tarnishing the critical, non-commercially motivated reputation they've built. Incent this group to link with offers of products or services for review.
7) Offer Distribution: a Mention in Your Blog, Social Network or Newsletter
For some people the offer of distribution is a powerful link motivator. If you have a blog, social network, email newsletter, print publication or other distribution method then an offer of a mention will incent links from some of your link prospects.
8) Offer an Invitation to Provide Input or Collaborate on Your Future Projects/Products
Some people on your link prospect list will have potential input to add to your future products, services or other projects. Offer them an invitation to provide this input by publishing it on the platform or social network of their choice. This offer is especially powerful if your invitation increases their reputation within the community.
9) Offer a Free, Exclusive Information Resource/eBook/Study
If you create exclusive content you may be able to exchange this for a link with some of your link prospects. Note that this is NOT a request to link to targeted content, but an offer of exclusive information that they must not share with others in exchange for a link. Not all content needs to be freely available to go viral - with the right content you'll build more links if you keep it exclusive.
10) Offer Inclusion in Your Passion-Centric Community
Developing and providing community participation opportunities - and community participation signifiers - can make for powerful offers to some segments of your link prospect list. Whether you're organizing events, launching an online community or just making badges with witty quips that resonate with passionate participators, offers of inclusion and signifiers of participation build links.
11) Offer Your Expert Input, Insight or Some Form of Assistance on Future Projects
If it suits your brand and you can expend the resources then an offer of insight or other expertise-based assistance can be a powerful motivator for some of your link prospects. If their projects are especially popular in your space - and you are already a known industry/community contributor - then offering some input can win you some very valuable links once you've put in the collaborative Effort.
12) Offer Remarkable Content that Entertains or Educates
Remarkably entertaining or educational content builds links because it makes the linkers appear - by association - smarter, funnier, fresher or more wonderful to their audience. Understanding how your content benefits certain segments of your link prospect list enables you to make more powerful offers. Regular conversation with link prospects will inform your content strategy and ensure that you maximize your content's link impact.