A large component of both SEO and lead generation strategies centers around building partnerships with other businesses online. Broad online partnerships, as opposed to link swapping, leads to greater opportunities for content exchange and business development: guest blogging, mutual social media sharing, access to email marketing lists, referral to other clients and customers, and maybe a formal business partnership in the long term.
However, a business website is rarely the place to start negotiating. Website contact pages typically automate to the Webmaster, who is not concerned with content exchange. Blog commenting is another option to try to form online partnerships, but it’s less direct. Link request emails can be successful – and there are even templates online that help you craft your pitch – but they usually sound generic and marketing teams are flooded with requests. So, how can you get the attention of a potential business partner? Here are a few alternatives:
Social media platforms offer direct ways to target and connect with businesses. For example, a non-profit organization recently messaged one of Liqui-Site’s ecommerce clients via Facebook Message, inquiring if they could write an article for the client’s blog. It’s a relationship that doesn’t make immediate sense – but Facebook provided an atmosphere to at least entertain the idea. The conversation moved to email and there are now plans for continued guest blogging, social media interaction, and expert information sharing between the two communities.
If a business has an updated and managed Facebook or other social media presence, chances are someone will see your message right away and respond. Don’t assume you need to reach the CEO to form a relationship. A Social Media Manager has your ear and can push your request through the appropriate channels (and is sometimes also in charge of content production). Utilize Facebook Messages, LinkedIn Messages and Groups, and Direct Messages on Twitter, as entry points.
For some industries, trade shows and conferences remain the primary way to network and promote business services – and they are still valuable tools for digital marketers, but in different ways. Tablets and smartphones now provide a way for visitors to sign-up for your email newsletter, blog, or download your whitepaper on the spot. Incorporating QR codes on your event banner and materials enables attendees to access a promotional offer, or complementary service offered on your website. Following the event on Twitter lets businesses engage with attendees across the room. And mobile event applications help capture the ROI of attending by calculating the same factors that digital marketers use to qualify a lead or potential business partner— taps, forms, collateral downloads, video views, engagement and more.
Perhaps the most import way to leverage live events though is in the follow-up. Following Liqui-Site’s exhibit at the Westchester Digital Summit, we sent all new contacts a personalized email showcasing our responsive email marketing services; connected on their social media profiles; tagged them in event photos, video and other press’ and followed up with phone calls – to name just a few strategies.
Set aside time to take meetings where there is no clear agenda or incentive to your business. Exchanging ideas and simply talking may help you identify gaps in your business and opportunities in others. People come with connections and talents that are not immediately visible by scanning their website or social media profiles.