So, you want your business to grow fast and have been considering ads, pay per click, blogging, SEO, and purchasing leads…
You are chomping at the bit and want to know where your money is best spent. What’s going to give you the best ROR?
Well I am here to tell you to forget that for a moment.
Yes you heard me right.
This is NOT an article about ROI (return on investment) or ROR as you know it (rate of return).
At Huntley Wealth, I spend very little money on advertising – we’ve tried that route (and while I continue to test advertising channels), I’ve found the results to be lack luster.
Incredibly, our exponential growth is due to a different type of ROR – a tactic we use called “Return on Relationship Marketing”.
… and the best part.
IT’S 100% FREE!
Quick Guide to Return on Relationship Marketing
Simple Ingredients Needed for Return on Relationship Marketing
- The Golden Rule: Always Add Value
- Know Your Niche Inside and Out
- Do Your Research
- Use LinkedIn
- Mailing Lists and Blog Comments
- Forum Participation
- Connect on Social Media
- Create Infographics
- Use the Broken Backlink Strategy
- Guest Posting
It’s like it sounds…
You put time and effort into your relationships and see a return in terms of business success. This success can come in many forms including:
- sales opportunities
- guest post (backlinking) opportunities
- cross promotion
- affiliate or referral agreements
- … and more
Let’s start with the friends you make online by commenting on blogs and on social media.
At the end of the day your “list of friends” and social media following has no real monetary value – BUT likes, shares and high numbers indicate brand success. There is absolutely no question that the community you bring together is priceless.
These are the people who are going to buy life insurance from you, share your articles and successes, and refer you to friends and colleagues.
The key to launching yourself into the upper echelons of your community is getting the word out that:
1. You are someone who is knowledgeable about insurance and can find the best possible rates for individuals.
2. You are trustworthy and well informed.
3. You are entertaining and provide VALUE to anyone who has dealings with you.
You are probably scratching your head at this moment asking – now what?
That would be great… but how can I prove this with so much competition on the Internet. There are thousands of insurance agents – how can I standout in the crowd?
This is where Influencers come into the equation.
When you surf the net looking for information about a specific niche you will probably find at least some of what you are looking for on the pages of an influencer’s site.
They are the people, in a particular line of work, that have a large social media following, run highly trafficked sites and are relied on by the public to provide advice to a community.
When they speak, people listen.
The most recognizable influencer in the world is Oprah. When she recommends a product, book or service sales skyrocket and sites crash because they cannot handle the traffic.
I’ve met most of the above in person, and at one point or another, they’ve shared an article for me or linked to InsuranceBlogbyChris.com They didn’t help me out because I begged them or cold called them. They did it because I took a sincere interest in them.
Having said that, what better way to get the word out about your company than to get an influencer to give you a shout-out?
Here are some basic tips to get you in the good graces of influencers:
Far too many are looking for something for nothing these days. How many sales calls and emails have you received from people trying to get you to part with hard earned cash? Let’s face it, we’ve all become jaded – if there is even a whiff that someone WANTS something most of us just press delete.
It’s really hard to make a good second impression – so you have to get it right the first time around. So reach out and add value to each and every one of your interactions.
2. Know Your Niche Inside and Out: OK, so this should be a no-brainer, but unfortunately it’s not. You really have to know your stuff when you extend yourself as a valuable member of a community. If you are faking it, people will figure it out and all of your hard work will amount to nothing.
Phonies can only go so far. Remember, this is not a race and you need to take your time. Get to know what makes the industry tick, find out what skills are most valued and target areas where there are holes that need to be filled (hopefully by you!).
Google searches will provide some of this information, but this only scratches the surface. Take part in Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus to familiarize yourself with the whole playing field. By the way BuzzSumo provides one of the best resources to dig up information on influencers. You can find out who is writing the most shared articles and connect with them.
4. Used LinkedIn: If you want to warm up cold connections there is no better place to be. The first step is to search an influencer’s profile to see if you have anyone in common. If you do, reach out and request an introduction.
If you don’t, reach out through InMail. Note: Busy/Influential people receive numerous requests for their time. Whatever you do avoid cookie cutter introductions at all costs. Be creative, authentic and respectful in your correspondence – unless, of course, you want then to delete your request.
Cold emails rarely receive responses. Busy people just don’t have time to reply to all the requests they receive and if yours remotely resembles spam – guess what? They will press delete.
The key is to genuinely get involved in your community. This means reading an influencer’s blog, signing up for mailing lists and commenting on posts that move or inspire you in some way. The goal is to add value (See Point 1 – which we will always come back to as it’s the golden rule). Thoughtless, spammy comments just won’t cut the mustard. If you don’t engage the influencer, the whole process is pointless.
6. Forum Participation: Pinpoint forums where people in the insurance industry and personal finance bloggers congregate, and make some friends. Forums are a wonderful way to network. If your comments offer value, are informative and personable you will be happily embraced.
7. Connect on Social Media: Meh – anyone can connect on social media whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus or Linked…BUT a professional seasoned in the art of Return on Relationships adds value and makes serious inroads.
Tweeting an influencer’s article to your following, commenting when they request information, and generally participating in their world moves you up a notch. I especially love Twitter as Influencers are very accessible.
8. Create Infographics: Use BuzzSumo to find a hugely popular article that has been shared all over the Internet. If it doesn’t have graphics and you think it would benefit from them, mock up something super creative that will add value. This is a win-win situation. The influencer gets kick butt visuals for free and the only thing they have to do is link to you…and you get some backlink love in return.
9. Broken Backlink Strategy: This approach is self-descriptive. Use a service such as Ahrefs and plug in the address of a popular influencer into site explorer. There is a section that contains a report that documents broken backlinks. Go through the links until you find one where your site could add value. Once you have established a relationship with the Influencer, send out a quick email to let them know they have a broken backlink and you have some content that could fill this gap. To find out more about the broken backlink strategy check out Quick Sprout’s Guide Here.
10. Guest Posting: This is a great way to network. After you familiarize yourself with an influencer’s content – figure out if there is a way to provide an article that will add value to their site. For example during your review, you noticed that the last time Whole Life Insurance was written about was back in 2014. You might want to pitch an updated idea that would add value. There are so many unique ways to nail a guest-posting gig, take some time to consider your options. The most important thing to remember – it’s about filling a need for them.
This is NOT a short term plan. It’s a mindset and a way of doing business, that pays off in spades. It may take you months, possibly years to cultivate these relationships…BUT when you do you will have a network of like minded business people to rely on. IMHO there is nothing that builds a stable, growth driven business faster than Return on Relationship Marketing.
There are no shortcuts. You are not seeking a momentary surge in traffic or the occasional backlink. Your goal is ongoing connection to your community and influencers. Maintaining engagement is imperative to achieving this objective.