Building Links, Gaining Trust

I found this little card in the bottom of my strawberry container, it’s a promotional offer driving people to a website or asking them to call in and complete a survey in exchange for a $5 coupon by mail.  



For such a little card the promotion sure packed a huge marketing punch.  Is there a way to use something like this to build links, drive traffic and build brand trust?   You bet!


Little Package, Big Punch


I did not contact Driscolls to find out why they were running the  promotion but if I had to guess, it was done for product feedback.  Surveys are a goldmine as far as I’m concerned,  there is a lot you can do with the information and outreach potential they have. From a linking standpoint, surveys alone don’t generate much interest but the content you create from the survey can generate a ton!


If I was going to develop content from a survey, I’d break it down into three types:  media link bait, Infographics and industry reports.  Let’s look at each.


Media link bait


Can you answer ‘yes’ to the following questions?


  •        Do you know at least four (4) journalists from four different news outlets in your industry?
  •        Have you collected their stories to get a sense of their topics and writing styles?
  •        Are you paying attention to where your competitors are being featured news wise?


If you can, great!  If you can’t, it’s homework time.   Most people think “press release” when we talk about  targeting the media and that’s fine for certain projects but if you want solid media links and to become the ‘go-to’ source for your industry, you need to identify influential media and how to get your content to them.


No two reporters are alike, some like being contacted, others don’t.  Most have “how to get in touch with me” type directions on their columns and blogs, read up on their preferences and follow through.  If all else fails, pick up the phone, call the publication and ask for their submission procedures.


The world is not always on fire or experiencing a market crash so sometimes, reporters go looking for news.  Survey results are great as factual support or as filler pieces, here’s a good example:




The fact Gen Y like hybrids is hardly news but outside the election and SOPA drama, there’s little to report on.  It’s why this piece made it to the home page of USA Today and BusinessWeek.  (at the time I wrote this)


Bottom line here — if you produce content backed by research and know where and whom to push it to, chances are it will be used and linked to.  People like facts.


Infographic link bait


I know I raised a couple eyebrows when they saw my infographic suggestion, I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan.  But other people are and the media (still) seems to be so I can’t ignore their potential for some industries.  (#willuseanythingforalink-whore)


Using your survey results you can create and pimp an infographic for educational, humorous or controversial attention.  How and what you develop really depends on the demographic using your products.  Even the strawberry industry promotes them:



Tip:  These type of niche infographics do especially well with trade publications.


Industry Reports


This is one of my favorite tactics, I use it on clients all the time and it always, always, always works.  Just ask Rae or Rand or anyone else that culls information from a number of credible sources and produces a research document for an industry, this technique link rocks!


When you write an industry report you need to expand your circle of expertise and pull in sources from outside your company.  Be sure to include a definition of your industry, bio’s of the people contributing, historical trends, and outlooks for the future.  Journalists and the people contributing like this and will link to it as a result.  Use your survey results to support trends, and/or a SWOT analysis so your company remains a focal point in the report.


Simple Actions, Powerful Marketing


A promotion like this doesn’t have to run offline, you can do the same thing for your online business by creating a promotion and launching it through confirmation emails, product announcements or any other type of email contact you make with established customers.


The key phrase here is “established customers”; I wouldn’t run a survey promotion off a website,  you can’t be sure the people filling out the survey have actually used your product.   Granted,  I can’t be sure the people providing feedback through the strawberry promotion used the product but chances are they have since the special offer can only be found on the bottom of a berry container.


Link building is, and always has been about building links and gaining  trust.  Think about new ways to use factual information and your efforts will pay off in new links, traffic and brand trust.