Looking for some link marketing strategies to give you the last minute edge on your competitors this holiday season? Some of these strategies are bold and some are simple. But all of these strategies will create direct links, while others are about creating conversations that will lead to others linking to your site.
1. Viral Contest
For the bolder, start a viral contest centered on your product or brand. Offer advice to participants on how to use social media to promote their viral material. To keep costs low, offer a gift certificate to your store as the top prize.
You could further incentivize it by offering a large cash prize if a viral material gets the attention of mainstream media. Of course, be very specific when describing what you consider mainstream media (e.g., major television and news networks, Oprah, national morning talk shows, etc.) when outlining the rules of your contest.
If your goal is mainstream media, then make sure to check with your hosting company about adjustments that can be made to handle a rapid increase in traffic. Nothing would be worse to get the exposure and then traffic overloads your site.
This is all about creating buzz and exposure. Give away an item every day for the next month, or right up until Black Friday.
Design your giveaway to get users involved promoting it. Maybe they get an extra entry if they tweet about it on Twitter or recommend it on Facebook. The more they're involved, the more others will participate.
Reduce your cost by finding an item with a low cost of goods or something in overstock. Talk to your suppliers about items they want to move. They may even drop ship it for you making this even easier.
3. Local Organization Sales Promotion
Budget cuts are happening worldwide -- from local fire departments, to police, to teachers. Reach out to one of these in your community to sponsor a fundraiser.
Offer to donate a percentage of each sale they send. Give them a promotion code, or a special URL. Some shopping carts may even allow them to remotely host the store on their Web site. This strategy will work particularly well if you cater to mass-market items, such as clothing, gifts, etc.
4. Get Customers Talking
Ask customers to share their experience about your product online. This is about generating conversation and buzz. Although some of the places they talk about your product may not have much link value, it still creates conversation. It also creates opportunities for others to read about it and create secondary links (i.e., blogs, columns, articles, newsletters, media, etc.).
For example, say you get people talking about your handbag store on fashion blogs, forums, and social media. This grabs the attention of a couple major fashion bloggers who then mention your store. Results equal great links, quality traffic, and even more exposure from others in the fashion industry.
5. Ask Customers for Links
This is simple, effective, and often overlooked. Tell your customers that you're trying to grow your business and you need their help. If you've provided outstanding products and customer service, they'll be glad to help.
This could be incentivized to increase the results. Perhaps give them a percentage off their first order of 2011. Or create a custom T-shirt as a giveaway. Custom T-shirt printing companies that offer drop shipping make this easy.
These are just a few link building strategies retailers can use to increase their exposure and search engine rankings for the 2010 holiday shopping season. Some are bolder, such as a viral marketing contest, and others as simple, such as asking customers for links. There is something for everyone here.
What has worked for you? Let us know in the comments.
Remember, good link development is just good marketing.
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