Today I received yet another cut and paste email asking to exchange links. I wouldn't doubt that most webmasters receive at least a few of these each week. While trading links with similar websites is a great way to build traffic, there are a few faux-pas that are important to avoid while building links to your website. Perhaps the best way to explain these marketing blunders is by dissecting an e-mail I received today:
I recently came across oshkoshmagic.com through search and really like it. I was just wondering if you would like to exchange links with me?
You may be aware that exchanging links would be mutually beneficial and also very helpful in increasing traffic or visitors for both yours and my websites. If you are interested in exchanging links, please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience and I will send you more details.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
Best regards, Sandy
Mistake #1: Don't Use Canned E-mails!
Whenever I see an e-mail that has been cut and pasted, the only thing that comes to my mind is that this person is obviously undermining my intelligence. Do you really like my website? Tell me what you truly liked about it. If there is even a glimmer of a thought in my head that tells me you probably have no idea what my website is even about, I'm probably just going to delete your e-mail without giving it a second thought! I'm sure almost anyone else will, too.
Mistake #2: Don't Solicit Websites That Have Nothing To Do With Yours!
From this rookie marketer's email address I assume her website is about go karts. My website has nothing to do with go-karts, racing, driving, or even video games! If you want to make quality link exchanges, they absolutely need to be with similar themed websites.
Mistake #3: Not Being Up Front About What You're Offering
Of course I know what a link exchange is. If you do a WHOIS lookup on several of my domain names you will see I was not born yesterday. Instead of trying to sell me on the concept of a link exchange, tell me more about your website. What does it have in common with my website? Why would my readers like it? What does it have to offer? Be specific.
Here was my reply to Sandy's canned link exchange request:
Thanks for your email. I'm glad you liked my site.
Having been an internet marketer for over 10 years, I definitely know the value of exchanging links. I also know that it's also only beneficial when done with related sites. I can't be 100% certain what your website is as you haven't told me, but by your e-mail address I assume it is a site about go-karts. This has nothing to do with my website unfortunately. Therefore, no, it would not benefit us at all.
I also know the benefit of writing personalized emails. Writing a canned email like the one you sent me will not impress any webmasters, or get you many links.
Better luck in the future.