10 Tactics for Driving Inbound Links

Oct 20, 2011 2:46 AM  By

The 2011 holiday season is right around the corner, and crunch time is here for ecommerce merchants who want to rise to the top of the search engines. Here are 10 tactics you can use to drive inbound links this holiday season:

Solicit shopping input from customers and fans:
Ask customers and fans on the social media channels to submit holiday shopping ideas. This can get the conversation going between customers who already love you, and draw in new customers looking for gift ideas. (This may also inspire marketing and promos on popular products!)

Hold contests and surveys:
Ask fans to describe the worst gifts they’ve ever received and provide a small gift to the winner, as voted by the fans. Be sure to host the contest or survey on your own domain to take advantage of the inbound links. Promoting the winners after the contest or survey wraps will ensure additional share-ability.

Run a deal-style promo on your own:
Model a promotion after a classic deal site, where X number of people must place an order for the deal to be valid. Customers will want to be sure that enough people sign up, so they will help spread the word through social channels, email, etc.

Offer how-to guides:
Time is limited during the holidays. Consider providing how-to guides for recipes, assembly instructions or party ideas that will be searched and shared.

Extend discounts and offers to fans who spread the word:
Make it worth their while to promoting your brand by offering a discount to fans who share the offer or link a set number of times.

Share your products for third-party review:
Offer a product to an established blogger or review site for a product review containing links. They get a solid product; you get a good review and links.

Beef up your blog entries:
If you don’t yet have a blog, start one. Get started with unique gift ideas or traditional gift guides. Be sure to keep your blog going after the holidays are over.

Give customers the tools to share:
Add social sharing and bookmarking tools to each page of your site. Be sure to include Google+. It might not be huge a social channel now, but you can bet Google is paying attention to who’s getting Google+ love.

Be charitable:
All kinds of charities need help, especially around the holidays. Why not help out by designing a program in which your company will match a dollar amount for each purchase made, up to a predetermined goal. Promote your charitable program online and offline, rallying people to share links to the program with their friends and family to reach the goal.

Embrace infographics:
People love sharing infographics – especially if they’re funny. Create an entertaining yes/no flow chart, in which users answer a series of questions leading to the final answer to a fun question, like “Will you get a lump of coal in your stocking, or “Will you find the gift of your dreams under the tree this holiday?”

Paul Panteleon is a strategy lead at search marketing firm Rimm-Kaufman Group.