Starting up a link marketing campaign is easy. Thorough preparation before starting up a link marketing campaign is often neglected, however. By thinking everything well through in a structured way, you dramatically improve the chances of your link marketing campaign being successful.
Make a snapshot of the start
You’ll never know what you’ve achieved if you don’t know where you came from. Capturing your starting situation is very important for an evaluation of how successful (or not) specific strategies or actions have been in a later stage.
Think about your goals
Try to think as ambitiously as you can. Don’t limit yourself to anything just yet, but try to picture where you want to be in an X amount of time. I usually refer to these goals as the ‘wish-goals’. The real goals will be determined later on, but it’s important to think about this early as well. It not only gets you thinking about what you want, but will make sure that the research you’ll perform is more targeted.
Investigate the competition
Look at the keywords you want to rank for and determine who your online competitors are. Don’t limit this to organic competition only, but look at the paid results as well. Check out what the overall quality of the competing sites is, what the most important features of these sites are, what kind of content they carry, where they’re listed, and so on.
Evaluate what you have
Now that you know where you’re at right now, where you want to be in the future, and who you’ll have to compete with, you can start evaluating what you have. Is your current situation enough to reach your goals?
If not, try to determine what you’ll have to adjust. Your internal link structure, the amount (and quality) of your content and your website’s design are easier to adjust than your external links. After all, you’re in control.
Of course, it could also turn out that the goals you’ve set can’t be reached with what you have right now and a few additions or adjustments. In that case, adjust your goals to something more acceptable and try to aim for those higher goals at a later stage.
If it turns out that you can easily reach your goals with what you have right now, adjust your goals and start being a little bit ambitious, dammit! You won’t get anywhere if you don’t push yourself.
Determine your goals & strategy
Now it’s time to rethink the goals you’ve thought about earlier, but keep them SMART. You know what you want to reach, you know which companies you’ll have to compete with and you know what you’re current situation is like. Try to calculate where these three lines meet, put the bar just a little higher and there: you’ve determined your goals.
Because you’ve done your homework, it’s also a lot easier to create the perfect strategy for your campaign. Whether it’s building links to specific pages, creating link targeted content or any other strategy; write it down before you start. This makes sure that you don’t forget certain tactics and that the overall campaign will be a well-structured one.
Find the influencers
Although there are tons of link building strategies that you can use during a campaign, there is a specific group of influencers for any campaign that you just have to target. These influencers not only reach your target audience spot on, but may be able to boost your website to top rankings with just a few links. Connect with them, but don’t harass them with link requests or whatsoever. People are much more willing to link to you if they’ve known you for a (short) while. Networking is a process, not an action.
Plan moments of evaluation
This is a very important step in the process of starting up a link marketing campaign. Compare your achievements with your snapshot of the start and the goals you’ve set regularly. Plan these moments in advance, in order to being able to adjust your strategy in time, if things don’t seem to work out like you’ve planned.
Start your campaign
Finally, it’s time to start the campaign. First, there are several link marketing tactics that you can use that don’t envolve hunting, cold calling, or any other mind numbing activities. After picking the low hanging fruit, you can move on to the next part of your strategy. Contact the influencers you’ve been chatting with for the past few weeks or months, leverage your existing network, go after those .edu’s, or whatever you have to do to reach your goals.
Don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy during a campaign, by the way. Things change, and so do your competitors, your online environment, search engines and their algorithms. Follow your results, link building news and your overall campaign very closely, and you’ll probably be safe.