In today’s article, I’m going to be sharing with you the exact two-stage campaign that I used with high success back in March of 2020 to increase one of my sites referring domains by 60% within six months, as well as referring backlinks by 46%.
So by the end of this article, you’re going to have a simple understanding of how you can use a resource backlink building approach to significantly ramp up the number of folks that are linking back to your website.
The process of building a prospect list
The very first thing that I did when it came to building backlinks was to build my prospect list. It is really important that whenever you’re doing any backlink building campaign, that you have a really curated prospect list. In other words, you have a great list of people that you think are high potential candidates that would want to receive the content that you are going to share with them.
The reason why this is so important is because in the case where you’re just kind of emailing everybody under the sun without actually qualifying exactly what is a good website and what is a bad website, it leads to either bad backlinks or just leads to bad outcomes because you’re potentially reaching out to a person that doesn’t care about what you’re sharing.
The first thing that I did was I had to do the process myself in which what I did was I set up a very simple spreadsheet that had a few key columns of contact information that I would need to collect in order to begin having an outreach list. And then from here, I actually went on to Google, went through the search operators that I wanted a virtual assistant takeover, and then showed examples of what made a good site versus a bad site.
The difference between a good site vs. a bad site
So that naturally leads you to potentially ask what makes a good site versus a bad site. One of the ways that you can do this is you can just look up a website’s domain authority or paid ranked as a starting ground for answering this question. But there are tons of free online tools that you can use to essentially run any URL you want to see whether or not there is a potentially spammy link profile to this particular domain or a particular page that you think might be interesting.
So here’s what the process would look like. I created a simple spreadsheet in which my virtual assistant would follow the documentation of me going through the process that I tasked them with. And then from there, they would start to look through all those results and then submit a milestone every 100 or so websites that they had prospected for my review.
And from there, I would just spot check whether or not they potentially aligned or didn’t align to the instructions that I gave them before they started to queue them into my outreach tool. So let’s go ahead and take a look at what exactly that spreadsheet might look like.
Example of a backlink building master spreadsheet
I had a master spreadsheet in which my columns were name, email, first name, last name, salutation organization, the website that the particular resource page was found on as well as who it was found by, and then I started to create different batches in order to signal to me as I was loading it into my outreach tool, which particular set of testing that I was going to be sending this group of contacts to.
And this is it that’s as simple as that. Any time that anybody is telling you that it takes a ton of time to do some prospecting, it doesn’t have to be super complex, especially when you’re in the early days of your backlink building.
You’re not going to be at the level where you’re ready to do super personalized outreach yet and so in this situation, it’s not the end of the world to just have a simple system that keeps things organized. And so the way that this would work is that over time my virtual assistant would fill in the sheet and then I would pay them based off of every key milestone that they hit.
So by the end of this, what I’ve got is I’ve essentially got a master spreadsheet that I’m actively tracking where I can then pull it out based off of batches and input into an email marketing solution for an outbound prospecting tools such as a Mailshake or Outreach or Sendy.
And then from here, what I would do is I would export this into the tool that I’d use to send my outbound emails, whether that’s a Gmail, Mailshake, Mixmax, or even other tools such as Sendy and whatnot.
How to plan the outreach campaign
Now that we’ve gone ahead and set up our core spreadsheet for outreach, it’s time for us to start planning our outreach campaign. Something I want to note here is that what I’m going to show you is a two-stage campaign that I use for just a bulk approach.
It could have been a lot more personalized and as you get further down and leveling up your backlink building strategy, you might end up taking a way more hyper-personalized approach to see better results. But at that point in time in this particular website’s lifetime, I knew that I could still get results with this sort of bulk approach.
And so I just want you to know that upfront so that in the case where you do end up taking this a step further, then by all means do so. But at the same time, if you’re in the early days of your backlink building, it can often be super helpful to just get some feelers out there to see the momentum start to build since you’ve done none up to this point.
First stage campaign
From here, what I have is:
Hope you had a great week. I was searching for [term] today and found this page [their link]. Great job providing resources to help [your niche + topic].
Just want to tell you that we publish a comprehensive list of [resources] that your [niche readers] may find useful.
[Title of post]: [URL]
If you think that this would be valuable and worth sharing, I’d be honored for you to add it to your existing page, to help more of your [niche readers].
Either way, keep up the great work giving your [niche readers] resources.
The reason why I include the entire title of the post, as well as the URL is because sometimes tech is hard for people. And even though they have a great website out there, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a nuisance for them to update their website. And so this makes it really easy for them to copy and paste that entire section of my email. You have noticed that I essentially separated between a different line break section. So it’s its own standalone paragraph. That way there’s no potential mismatch of what to copy and what to paste into a particular page.
Second stage campaign
And then from here, what I do is I’d send a second stage. So the first stage would typically go out on a Tuesday. I avoid Mondays because generally speaking open rates are not going to be as good on Mondays versus Tuesdays. And then from here, I would send a follow-up on Friday.
That would go along the lines of:
Happy Friday! I know you probably had a busy holiday, so I didn’t want this to get buried in your inbox. Did you get a chance to check out the [resource] I shared last week?
[Title of post]: [URL]
If you think it’s valuable and worth sharing, I’d be honored for you to add it to your page here: [Their Link]
Now, obviously, you don’t have to use like the busy holiday. If it’s not an actual holiday, it was around a time when there was a holiday going on. And so that’s why I positioned that accordingly. But the reason why I do this is just so that they get a little bump up and then I would get some response from this particular campaign as well.
And this would be where I’d usually get most of the conversions in terms of them adding to the page. They may have read the first one and the second one really pushes them to take a look at the post again. And from there they decide whether or not they want to add it to their website.
This is honestly it. So from here, what I would do is I would upload the latest batch and then every single, start to have my virtual assistant upload those batches and start the outreach process. It’s not rocket science, it’s not super personalized, but it did get the job done.
In this particular situation, it increased the referring domains by 60% within six months, and then the backlinks by 46% within six months.
What I could have done better
Now, what are some ways that I could have taken this even further and gotten potentially even higher conversion rates or performance from this campaign? The first thing I could have done was I could have done even more research behind the prospects that I was reaching out to. I could have looked at particular sections of their websites and curated a particular personalized first-line.
Another thing I could have done is I could have actually created a lot more value here. I could have potentially started this out from a relationship-based approach in which I first wanted to get their thoughts to add to our existing resource and then potentially create a new section on my page where I could feature some of the quotes that these people might respond with.
These are the different things that you can think about as you’re starting to become more advanced in your backlink building. How can I build meaningful relationships with these people that manage different websites of that value to me, because then I can create more of a value for everybody involved in which I can feature them and effectively ego bait them into them, wanting to link back to my site as well.
And then another thing that I could have done is I could’ve followed up with more than just a two-stage campaign. This was super low-hanging fruit at this point in time in this particular website, but I could have also sent a third campaign, for example, that shared three or four different resources that were as semi-related to the first resource I shared, but potentially would cover a different facet of the niche that way in the case, or my first article that I shared wasn’t valuable to them, they may find the three or four other articles valuable to then add.
Whatever the case may be. It’s all about adding value when you’re doing your outreach campaigns. And so in the case where you are just starting out with your resource backlink building, I highly recommend you just take this sort of approach and keep it simple in the beginning, and then start to layer on sophistication as you get more results from this sort of effort.
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