You can sell backlinks and make a killing online in 2023.
We used to sell backlinks and earned $470,998, and acquired 507 customers.
In this guide, I’m going to show you how to sell backlinks (just like we did).
Let’s dive in.
12 Easy Ways to Sell Backlinks Online
1. Position Your Service Differently
Back in 2016, there was still a lot of fear and negativity around the concept of “guest posting” because of Matt Cutts.
That’s why I knew I had to position my service differently. Plus, there were already tons of guest posting services.
So I decided to call my service a “Blogger Outreach Service.”
I didn’t magically come up with this idea, either. I simply did some keyword research and found it. More on this in a second.
2. Map Out an SEO-Focused Content Marketing Funnel
Understanding and executing a proper content marketing funnel is the key to driving sales online.
Here’s what a traditional content marketing funnel looks like:
The key difference that I focus on is creating SEO-driven content at the top of the funnel. In other words, I create keyword-targeted content.
Create ToFu Content
I’m a strong believer in the concept of “results in advance.” I learned it from Frank Kern, and it’s extremely simple (yet powerful).
Here’s how it works:
- You show a prospect how to achieve a result (so they can get results in advance)
- You then offer a product or service that helps them achieve that result easier, faster, etc.
It’s that simple.
That’s the exact approach I used on my Gotch SEO blog.
Then within the content and at the end, I would pitch my blogger outreach service.
Create MoFu Content
If I were to restart this service today, I would have created more middle-of-the-funnel content like webinars or lead magnets.
The only MoFu action I pushed was for prospects to create a free account.
1,436 people created free accounts. This was big because I was able to push promotions to them.
Create BoFu Content
Bottom-of-the-funnel content is anything that’s going to persuade a prospect to buy.
That’s when a sales page comes into play.
Here’s what I did:
- First, I identified transactional keywords related to my service.
- Secondly, I created a long-form sales page targeting “blogger outreach service” as my transactional phrase. This phrase gets around 150 searches per month.
Now before you roll your eyes at that search volume, you need to understand that all searches are not created equally.
If you were new to SEO, you would probably think it’s smarter to focus on “backlinks” (9,400 searches/mo) instead of “blogger outreach service” (150 searches/mo) because it gets over 6,000% more searches.
The truth is:
You should focus on keywords that have transactional intent because they drive direct sales.
They’re also easier to rank for.
Informational keywords are great for long-term sales, but they rarely drive direct sales. That’s because most people searching informational keywords early in the buying cycle (“Awareness” stage).
You’ll need to spend time nurturing these people before they’re ready to buy.
That’s also why it’s critical to have a lead capture strategy. The best way to capture leads is to create a valuable lead magnet and then a high-converting squeeze page.
The other thing to consider is:
Search volume numbers aren’t always accurate.
Here are the organic search traffic numbers from my blogger outreach service page from October 2016 to February 2019:
That averages out to 935 page views per month. Or, 523% more organic search traffic than the search volume estimate of 150.
3. Emphasis on the Key Benefit
Outsourcing your link building has several benefits, but the biggest is time savings. That’s why I emphasized how much goes into a proper link acquisition campaign:
Show the prospect how much time and effort they would be saved by using your service.
4. Call Out Your Target Market
Who is the absolute best person to use your product or service? Once you’ve figured it out, make it clear:
No product or service is for everyone. That’s why you need to spend an enormous amount of time thinking about your perfect customer. It’s time well spent.
5. Establish Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
How is your product or service different than your competitors?
I spent a ton of time analyzing the feedback from customers who purchased services from link vendors on Black Hat World.
My goal was to see if there were common complaints or issues. That way I was creating a service based on real user feedback (instead of guessing).
Here are the common “problems” I tried to solve with my service:
6. Do Anything to Get Social Proof
Don’t even try to sell a product online without social proof. It’s fundamental.
It’s so important that I offered huge discounts for customers that wrote testimonials for my service.
Discount your product or give it away for free to acquire more testimonials.
Do whatever it takes to get them because they’ll have a huge impact on sales.
7. Price Intelligently
Pricing is a topic within itself, but I’ve learned a few things over the years.
1. First, identify what the “competitive” prices are for your product or service.
Then, in most cases, make yours more “expensive”.
That means you’ll need to have some type of advantage to demand higher prices. Sometimes that’s your brand’s equity. Other times it’s going to be additional features that are hard to replicate.
2. Secondly, use a price anchor.
A price anchor is a price point that is substantially more expensive than the rest.
As a result, your mid-to-lower packages seem more affordable.
One other micro tactic that I learned from Priceless is to remove the dollar sign.
This could reduce buyer resistance even further.
8. Add Value to Your Sales Page
This might be the oddest tip of all, but you should try to educate on your sales page (if it makes sense).
Not only does this increase your word count (which benefits SEO performance), but it can also act as a sales vehicle. You’re essentially giving results in advance on your sales page.
9. Be Liberal With CTAs
Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. I had 15 calls to action on my sales page.
Excessive? Maybe, but I would rather have too many, than too little.
10. Leverage Scarcity
People are way more motivated by the fear of loss than the possibility of gain. I leveraged this principle to drive sales in two ways.
First, I ran discount promotions about every quarter like this “Anniversary Sale” (from 5/14/2018 to 5/25/2018):
Secondly, I used Deadline Funnel to push first-time visitors into action.
For example, if they visited my blogger outreach service page for the first time, they would see a special discount offer.
This worked well because a lot of the traffic going to that page was from organic search and through my blog.
The latter was more effective because I built rapport through my blog content and warmed them up.
11. Sell to Existing Customers
Ever heard the statistic that “it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one”?
This needs to be permanently implanted into your mind.
Not only is it easier to sell to existing customers, but it’s more profitable (because you don’t have to spend money on advertising or invest time on nurturing them).
For example, I offered a lifetime 20% discount on all our link building services to existing Gotch SEO Academy members.
This discount code was used more than all the promotions I’ve run throughout the years.
12. Don’t Do the Work
There’s no way I could have sold as much if I was doing the work.
You need to build systems and get help from other people. Identify what your core strength is (for me it’s SEO and marketing) and focus on that.
Everything else should be systemized and delegated.
What I Would Have Done Differently
Sometimes to have to walk away from a project to know what you would have done differently.
Want to know what I discovered after some reflection?
My marketing execution for these services was terrible!
That’s why I want to share two things I would have done differently if I were starting today (with what I know now)…
1. I Would Have Created a Lead Nurturing System
Taking the time to build out a lead nurturing process is so incredibly worth it.
The truth is that ~97% of your website’s visitors are NOT ready to buy. You need to take the time to nurture them, gain their trust, and then maybe (if you did things right), they’ll give you a shot. Don’t rush it.
2. I Would Have Used Video
None of my sales pages used video. This was a big mistake.
Here’s the truth:
I was still super insecure about being on video when I created these services.
I know for a fact that my insecurity hurt sales. That’s because I now know the positive impact video has on building relationships with your prospects and driving sales.
Moral of the story? Don’t let self-imposed limitations and fear hurt your business.
Should You Sell Backlinks? Here Are Some Frequently Asked Questions
As of March 1, 2019, I no longer offer link building services. The post explains it all, but I needed my mind to be clear so I could focus 100% of my attention on Gotch SEO Academy.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m quite the scatterbrain. Sometimes I jump from one idea to the next.
That’s why I have to train myself to focus because otherwise, I won’t get anything done. I’ve also learned that the ability to consistently focus on high-impact actions is a huge factor in success.
That said, let me tackle some questions that I’m sure you have:
Is the $470,998 revenue or profit?
That’s total revenue. My profit margin on link-building services was between 46-50%.
Was $470,998 the total you made?
No. It was much more because I originally sold my services using WuFoo forms before moving to Service Provider Pro. I also had several clients that paid monthly retainers for link building services outside of the SPP platform.
What did you sell?
My primary product was the blogger outreach service, but I sold some other supplementary services. Here’s a breakdown of the revenue by service:
Did you only sell backlinks?
From 2013 – 2016, I only sold full-service SEO. I stopped taking on new clients at the end of 2017. From 2017 – February 2019, I only sold backlinks and SEO training.
Now I only sell SEO training.
Should You Sell Backlinks in 2023?
Don’t “sell backlinks.” Sell time savings and results. Link building is time-consuming and logistically challenging. You need to focus your sales message on those problems. You’re simply alleviating the “pain” by offering your services.
The market to sell backlinks is crowded, but that’s because it’s a terrific way to make money online.