2 posts categorized "March 2014"

March 18, 2014

How To Effectively Network People Via Email

EmailNetworking
This note is for generous networkers that like to use email to glue together people that should meet.  In my first book, Love is the Killer App, I call this the 3-Way-Email technique.  It helps networkers make more connections than they can by arranging conference calls or meetings.  

Over the last decade I've been on both ends of this treatment.  Sometimes I'm the person emailing two or more people to connect them and more recently, I've been the beneficiary of someone helping me out over email.  It's given me a bird's eye view of what works and doesn't work with this technique. While email intros are fast, most of them end up treated like spam.

In most cases, unless the networker writes a very good email to introduce everyone...nothing happens. This is especially true when a PowerPerson is introduced via email to a ProspectivePartner.  Unless the networker originating this connection sells the PowerPerson on replying, the email is usually ignored or deleted.  The ProspectivePartner sometimes replies-to-all with a "thank you" and then suggests that a call be set up.  But again, if the sales job to the PowerPerson is weak, nothing happens.  That's even true when the networker and the PowerPerson are good friends or close business associates. 

Here's a better way to use email to connect two or more people, especially with one or more of them are very busy or in high demand: 

  • Send a pre-connection email to the PowerPerson, telling him or her that in the following email you are going to introduce him or her to someone you think they'll want to meet.  Ask the PowerPerson to seriously consider replying.
  • In your Networking email, be succinct, but persuasive.  Make sure your subject line is clear: Introducing X to Y to accomplish Z.  The first paragraph should introduce the ProspectivePartner with a single line bio (linking his/her name to a LinkedIn profile if possible).  Be very clear to the PowerPerson why you want this meeting to occur.  Do the same in the next paragraph, when you introduce the PowerPerson or if they are on similar ground, the second person.  Don't forget to link their name to a LinkedIn profile.  This improves response rate.  
  • If you can, include some points of interest.  Talk about how long you've known either one, or what you've done with them in business.  If they have a nickname or are known for something interesting, include that for color.  
  • Your third and final paragraph should outline what you think could come out of their connection.  Be aspirational here.  As the networker, you are selling both parties on connecting with each other, so don't skimp on any details in projecting the future if they connect.   
  • If you don't see any response for three or four days, resend the email introduction and say, "I really think the two of you should connect."  

Here's an example: 

Subject: Introducing Mark Carter to John Chen to create the ultimate ChiTown BizGame!

Body of email:

Mark, by way of email, meet John Chen AKA "Big Kid".  He's an expert in the area of team building through gamification and well connected in Seattle.  He's also fun, creative and gets things done.  I told him about you, and what you are accomplishing in Chicagoland, and he wants to meet you.  PS - both of you are heavily involved in your regional MPI chapters, so you have lots to talk about. 

John, by way of email, meet Mark Carter AKA CarterOfChicago.  He's one of the biggest people/opportunity connectors in the area and a true Lovecat as well.  He's well connected with several companies that might love your game tech as well as your personality.  Follow up with him and setup a call to get to know each other. 

I think the two of you might open up a new market for gamification of team-building.  I also think you'll likely spark a friendship.  You know I don't make these intros often, so consider it a call to action! 


March 03, 2014

Google & SEO | This dog finally has teeth

6a00d8341c519753ef01a73d84159d970d-600wi

(Guest post by Brandon Wentland.  Image courtesy of Prashant_sh)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complicated, technical, and sometimes shady practice of massaging Google’s search algorithm in your favor.  It is a big deal because top ranking for key terms can mean hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars of revenue gained.

SEO has evolved through the years, but the last two have been the most volatile.  Some are calling it it the SEO apocalypse.  It has been a rough ride, but it is all for the better.

Google’s algorithm changes are a good thing

Google’s goal is to serve the best, most relevant results to you (in .2 seconds or less!).  Spammy SEO hijacks this by oftentimes getting undeserving sites in top results.  Google has FINALLY cracked down on this in a couple key ways: links and anchor text.

How Google’s crackdown affects you

You might not even know Google thinks your website is spammy.  Some big brands have been badly hurt by Google: Expedia and Rap Genius, just to name just a few.  These penalties are a big deal because you can often disappear from search results.  This is bad for business.  Lost visibility directly affects ROI, brand recognition, and more.

Even if you just have a passing knowledge of SEO, you can protect your site.  Though Google has cracked down on links and anchor text, with the right tools you can find what Google calls, “unnatural link profiles.”  

Links, links, links

Google is a link-based search engine.  Links are at its core and in its DNA.  The amount and types of links you have make up your link profile.  Having a diverse, healthy, and natural link profile will help you rank well and protect you from penalties.

Anchor text

The word(s) or phrase linked to a site is called anchor text.  In the past, you could rank well for “cheap cars” if you had tons and tons of links with that wording.  Now this is seen as unnatural and spammy.  Nobody links to you like that!  Most of the time they will use “click here,” “learn more,” or your brand name.

Low Quality Links

A few years ago the more links you had, the better.  Their source didn’t matter.  I have seen links from Malaysian flower shops and deodorant websites linking to local companies.  You can be 99% sure that such links are irrelevant for most websites.

Tools of the trade

Your linking information is not publicly available, so you will need to use a tool to gather it.  Our personal favorite is Link Research Tools.  Using one of their quick audit tools, I can see a word cloud for python.org that shows distribution of anchor text:

Link_profile_anchor_text

(This is healthy anchor text. See how the biggest terms are all branded and not commercial in nature.)

I can also see the distribution of the links for any site.  The lower quality links are on the far left. If you see a spike, it’s a good indicator of suspicious link building.

  Link profile

Take action!

If your word cloud shows a lot of “money” terms (i.e. - your service or product) and not your brand, change the anchor text to a branded term or disavow them completely.  Do the same with your low quality links.  Remove them if you can.  If not, disavow them.  Doing so will help you prevent your site from a painful Google penalty.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me on Twitter or comment below, thanks!

Bio

Brandon Wentland is the President of Optimal Digital Marketing, a digital marketing and SEO agency based out of Appleton, WI.  You can follow him on Twitter or Google+.