Howdy! I really love answering your Shopify Marketing questions on Search Engine Optimization and Email Marketing and wanted to provide a sharable place for our collective wisdom. You can expect answers within a week or so, maybe sooner — ask away!

  • What should people who have written some piece of content (like a blog post or article) that they’re really excited about do to get other people excited about it?

  • Kai Davis says:

    Excellent question.

    In broad strokes, I think it comes down to your client understanding who their audience is, why their audience should listen to them, and what they can do to provide value to the audience.

    Often, when people say they want traffic, the actual outcome they’re looking for is one of:

    • More sales
    • More revenue
    • Better image (perception as an authority or expert)

    And to achieve those outcomes, it’s a slow, incremental process.

    If they want traffic today they can invest in Cost-per-Click advertising and buy all the traffic they want. If they’re comfortable looking to the medium-term/long-term and earning their traffic, they can follow a system like this:

    First, identify who the audience is and answer these three questions: What questions are they asking? What content are they trying to find? What knowledge does the client have that the audience is looking for?

    Then, identify the influencers in the industry. Who are the people who already have an audience? Who can we work with or partner with to expose our content to their audience?

    After that, what can we build that the influencers will be excited to share? It’s about making something so awesome that people naturally want to share it with their friends. (I think of these as ‘Linkable Assets’, content or resources that can be used to generate traffic and build links). Some examples of the type of linkable assets I’ve built for clients:

    • Scholarship — We launched a scholarship specific to the client’s industry, researched the different schools in the nation that offered a program related to the scholarship, and contacted them to link to the scholarship page on our site. Then, we contacted influencers in the media (journalists, bloggers) with targeted press releases, letting them know about the scholarship and working with them to write stories.

    • Interviews — A client and I launched an interview series where we identified and interviewed relevant influencers in the client’s industry and published the audio + transcripts on the client’s site, establishing the client as an authority and expert, building links from the interviewees’ websites, and attracting traffic from the interviewees’ audiences.

    With each of these implementations, we were focused on investing in creating an asset of high value (a scholarship, an interview series) and then promoting it, building links and generating traffic.

    For your clients, two valuable question to ask them when they ask you for more traffic could be:

    1) Okay, traffic is great, but why do we want more traffic? What outcome will that help us achieve?

    2) What assets or information do you have that your audience wants or values?

    Maybe they want more traffic to increase sales of their product. Maybe they have industry knowledge as an authority / expert and that knowledge can be packaged into an asset, like a mini-course, that’s then promoted through outreach to influencers.

    In the end, the process is the same: create a valuable asset, build relationships with influencers, work with the influencer to promote the asset to their audience.

    It’s work. There’s no short-cut. But it’s work that pays off in traffic, links, and and a perception of expertise and authority in the client’s industry.

  • Kai Davis says:

    Hey Rishabh,

    Thanks for asking. I’d think that beyond the run-of-the-mill SEO best practices, the best thing to think about is who is your audience.

    • Who, specifically, are you trying to reach?
    • When you reach them, why would they listen to you?
    • If they do listen to you, what can you do to make the conversation valuable for them?

    All the outcomes we want from Search Engine Optimization (more traffic, more links, more sales, more revenue, etc) flow from understanding who we’re trying to reach and how we can help them.

    Let’s say that you have that all figured out. There are two other best practice areas to focus on:

    • On-site optimization (title tags, meta descriptions, internal links, etc)
    • Off-site optimization (outreach, link building, etc)

    For your on-site optimization, make sure that your page titles and headlines are clear, speak to the visitor, and communicate the topic of the page. There’s a lot of guides out there on best practices to follow. The golden-rule I try to follow is asking “If I was the visitor, would this help me or confuse me?”

    But on-site optimization can only take you so far. The metaphor I use is that on-site optimization is like buying a really nice mailbox for your new house and attaching balloons for your housewarming party. Doing that will help your visitors find your house when they’re driving by — but if you live up a windy, dusty gravel road, people might not be able to even find your house.

    If on-site optimization is like picking out a mailbox, off-site optimization is like working with the city planning department to build a better road in your neighborhood.

    For off-site optimization, the best practices I recommend are answering these questions (similar to the ones at the start)

    0) Who is our audience?
    1) Who do we want to link to us?
    2) When we contact them, why will they listen to us?
    3) What do we have of value to share with their audience.

    By identifying the people and websites influential to our audience, we identify who we want to earn links from.

    By understanding what their needs are, we’ll understand how to build a relationship with them through outreach.

    By understanding what we have of value that we can share with the influencer’s audience, we understand how we can attract traffic to our website.

  • Kai Davis says:

    Partly, it depends who we want to get excited about it. The audience for the article? Influencers with a sizable audience?

    In either case, it breaks down into three parts:

    1) Who do we want to share it?
    2) Why should they care about it? What’s in it for them?
    3) Why does their audience care about it? What’s in it for them?

    We want to sell the sizzle to them, so in outreach and promotion, I advocate understanding what the article will help them do better.

    If we want to get an audience excited about the article, focus on the outcomes that the article will help them achieve. If we want to get an influencer excited about the article, focus on the value to them (your audience will see you as an authority!) and the value to their audience (your audience will learn how to make more money).

  • Paul Jarvis says:

    Thank you sir! This needs to be a blog post (or I will just start linking to this comment, haha). Such great insight/info – I appreciate you taking the time to write this lengthy response!

  • Zell Liew says:

    Many people I spoke to recognize the importance of SEO. Yet, the most common thing I hear from them is this: I know a blog is important, but I don’t have the time to blog.

    How would you respond to this sort of statement?

  • Kai Davis says:

    First, congratulations on launching + selling your ebook Zell! I absolutely loved your post (http://www.zell-weekeat.com/my-first-ebook/ ).

    I know a blog is important, but I don’t have the time to blog. How would you respond to this sort of statement?

    This is a really good question. There’s a lot of ways we can take it. At a high level, I’d say this: SEO shouldn’t be about blogging, it should be about providing value to your customers, clients, and audience and then promoting that value.

    In the end, we want to make more money. To make more money, we want more traffic. To get more traffic, we want to produce something valuable for our audience.

    How can you create that value? It can take a number of different forms:

    If a client doesn’t have time to blog, that’s fine! Blogging isn’t for everyone. And content doesn’t have to be daily. You can produce an interesting, engaging piece of content monthly. But it needs to be valuable.

    If the client doesn’t have time to add value to their audience, clients, or customers (and as we can see, there’s a number of ways to create value by creating different types of content), I’d be curious what the client’s goals are.

    Am I explaining all of this well?

  • How would you generalize and map out the path from start to finish for moving from having zero relationship with someone semi-internet-famous and busy to having invested enough time & effort to legitimize asking that person for something like an interview?

  • Kai Davis says:

    At the highest level, you want to focus on providing value to the person you’re outreaching to. Your end goal is to receive something from them — their authority and expertise in an interview. Along that path, you want to focus on providing value to them.

    I’d break it into four phases:

    • Initial Outreach (giving)
    • Relationship Development (giving)
    • The Ask (giving + asking)
    • Continued Relationship Development (giving)

    In the Initial Outreach, you want to focus on connecting with them and providing value. So, leave a meaty (1-2 paragraph) comment on one or two of their recent posts. Tweet out a few links to their articles (manually, not buffered). If they have a book or resource, buy it, and then reply to let them know that you’re enjoying it.

    In the Relationship Development phase, you want to focus on taking the relationship to the next level. In a sense, you’re switching context from ‘conversation in public’ to ‘conversation in private’. To do this, you want to initiate an email relationship. (If they’re an ultra busy person, mention an email on Twitter first and get appoval). Have 1-3 email ‘volleys’ with them, providing value and feedback. You don’t want to come off as a lamprey or barnacle, attaching yourself to them. You want to approach this from a position as an expert or professional, who is interested in providing value.

    In The Ask, you’re transitioning the conversation from giving value to them to asking for something, but framed in terms of the value to them. In the case of the interview, I might say something like “This has been a really interesting conversation about {topic}. I’d love to share your knowledge about this with my audience. Would you be free for a 30-minute Skype conversation that I’d professionally edit into a podcast? We can talk on {date 1} or {date 2}. Which works best for you?”

    {Interview Happens Here}

    In the Continued Relationship Development, you’re switching back to providing value. So, for this interview, you’re promoting it, sending them a copy to share with their audience, throwing some traffic at it, and closing the loop and letting them know you appreciate their contribution. At this stage, you want to make them know that their time was valued and you appreciate them working with you. This way, you’re priming them for a future collaboration or a referral to someone in their network.

    Am I explaining this well?

  • This is fantastic! I really dig that you’re not providing a scripted playbook here, but a framework that any intelligent person can apply to a diversity of situations. :)

    How do you like to remind yourself to stay in contact with people? As a natural introvert, I sometimes need a nudge to do the right thing in terms of staying in touch.

  • Kai Davis says:

    I use Boomerang (http://boomeranggmail.com/) or similar programs like YesWare or StreakCRM. When I send an outreach email, I’ll have the email ‘recur’ a week later.

    That way, if they don’t respond, I can politely and persistently followup. If they do respond, awesome, I can fire back a reply.

  • Martín Centurión says:

    Hey Kai,

    How do you build your first list of productized consulting clients? Did they work with you in the past? Do you reach out through cold emailing/calling? Thanks!

  • Kai Davis says:

    Heya Martin,

    Excellent question. For me, I started slow: once I had conceived of my first Productized Consulting Offering (http://doubleyourecommerce.com/products/x-ray/) I pitched it to a lead in my pipeline to see if it was something they would buy. I did this before I had a sales page up, because I wanted to understand their potential objections first.

    And they decided to move ahead!

    From there, I gradually transitioned to only offering Productized Consulting services to clients as they enter my universe.

    For finding future clients, I’ve followed a number of tactics:

    • I white label my services with other agencies and consultants. This allows them to offer SEO and Link Building services, without needing to hire a new employee or train an existing employee.
    • I regularly appear on podcasts — which has helped me gain exposure to new leads, clients, and strategic partners.
    • I regularly reach out to past clients to check in on their business and find out if there are opportunities to work together.

    But for those first few clients, it was very much a system of:

    • Selling my productized services to new leads that came through the door – Contacting previous clients, offering them my new productized services
      Alan Weiss has a great passage in Million Dollar Consultant about how selling new products breaks down. You can…

    (I’m quoting this from memory, the book is in a box)

    • Sell a new product to an old client
    • Sell a new product to a new client
    • Sell an old product to an old client
    • Sell an old product to a new client

    You want to be selling a new product to an old client — or a new client. This encourages your business to grow. In my case, I had a list of clients that I had previously worked with on an hourly basis. Switching to Productized Consulting let me contact them, tell them about a new service I was offering, and tell them that I was happy to share the risk with them by offering them the project at a flat quoted rate.

    And it worked!

    Let me know what else I can answer. I love talking about Productized Consulting. In fact, I’m preparing to launch a small virtual agency entirely built on the Productized Consulting model.

  • I just listened to this: http://nathanpowell.me/podcast/interview-kai-davis/ It’s FANTASTIC.

    Here’s the problem, though. I can understand and visualize every part of the outreach process you describe EXCEPT what happens after it’s successful. This is kind of a big mental block for me!

    So if I create a targeted, helpful, awesome piece of content/link asset, build relationships with the gatekeepers to link ecosystems I want to promote it to, reach out to those gatekeepers and promote the content, and they say yes, what happens next??? How do they put that content in front of their audience?

    Do they link to it from their blogroll? (haha, totally kidding there–I know nobody really does that anymore) Do they write special blog post just to feature this content/link asset? Something else?

    Maybe if you could provide some examples of what a “home run” in terms of outreach looks like it would be easier to picture the process from end to end?

  • Kai Davis says:

    A home run, at a high level, looks like getting exposure to their audience in whatever way their audience engages.

    There’s no one-off answer, but here’s a handful of ways that I’ve seen success in outreach campaigns:

    • We collaborated with a successful blogger to feature my client’s product in a review on their site (article, blog post)
    • My client appeared as a guest on a popular podcast, exposing their brand and products to the podcast’s audience (podcast)

    • Through outreach, my client received a link on a popular resource list for their product (link building, resource list)

    • We invited a popular musician to appear on my client’s podcast, attracting their audience to our podcast and website and earning a link from the guest’s website when they promoted the resource (referral traffic, podcast)

    • We launched a scholarship through a client’s business and promoted it to local media, local universities, national universities, and student media. We earned links back to our site through the scholarship from universities and other educational institutions.

    In terms of outreach, I view a homerun as a combination of:

    • Providing value to someone and their audience
  • Starting a relationship

  • Exposing my client to a new audience and earning either traffic or a link to our site

  • The form that it can take? Totally differs from client to client, campaign to campaign.

    I view outreach as a success if it moves the client from a position of ‘Who is this company? I’ve never heard of them.” to “Who is this company I keep hearing about?!” in the minds of the influencers we’re outreaching to and audiences in the communities we’re outreaching to.

    Am I explaining this well? The answer is a bit more squishy and “Choose your own adventure!” than I like. The truth is success is building that relationship. Links and traffic are short-term wins. And those short-term wins should take the shape of however the influencer’s audience currently engages with their content:

    • Product review site? We want a review.

    • Popular podcast? We want to guest on your podcast.

    • Maintains a highly-visible resource list? We want to be added to the resource list.

    • You have a large audience? We’d love to have you on our podcast.

  • This page is crazy, off-the-hook valuable! Kai, when you work with clients, what is your step-by-step content promotion process to get 1 influencer to promote the linkable asset? On average, how long does it take to get the influencer to promote that 1 linkable asset?

  • Kai Davis says:

    Heya Chris,

    Thanks so much for the compliment! :)

    [when you work with clients, what is your step-by-step content promotion process to get 1 influencer to promote the linkable asset?]

    Great, great question. I wrote about that a bit in this article on “What should I do to promote a great article, product, or course”, but the same process works for any piece of content: http://doubleyourecommerce.com/promote-content/

    It typically breaks down like this:

    • Identify the community you’re trying to reach (“Wedding Planners & Brides to Be”)
    • Build a linkable asset that’s appealing to that community (“How to create a fantastic wedding logo”)

    • Identify the top influencers / tastemakers (“blogs”) in that community. I have a handful of criteria I use, but I typically outreach to blogs with between 100 and 2000 referring domains. They’re large enough to have an audience and their links carry weight, but they’re small enough to not have gatekeepers in place and feel flattered by outreach.

    • Build a relationship with them. Comment on a post, follow them on Twitter, send them an email that doesn’t promote your asset.

    • Start a conversation about sharing a resource that their audience would find valuable. I try to frame all outreach and promotion in terms of the value to them and their audience.

    • Follow up by nurturing the relationship. One link or promotion shouldn’t be the end of the relationship. It should be the start of a relationship. I want to work with them over the long-term to add value to their audience.

    [On average, how long does it take to get the influencer to promote that 1 linkable asset?]

    It really, really depends. With my eCommerce clients, we’re often working on review campaigns. Working with influential bloggers to find opportunities to expose their audience to our products. In those cases, it can take ~2-6 weeks to begin the relationship, ship them the product, have them test the product, write a review, and get it into their editorial calendar.

    It’s not an overnight process.

    For non-product resources (scholarship, resource pages, how-tos, guides, etc) it can be faster. But! There’s often a decrease in conversion rate / interest unless it’s a really, really high-quality asset, because it’s harder to justify the value to their audience.

    So… it depends. I’d guess that from initial outreach, it can take 2-6 weeks to solidify the relationship and get the content promoted.

    Am I explaining that well?

  • Awesome Kai! The biggest area I’m hazy around is the criteria and methodical process to “identify the top influencers / blogs in the community”.

    I know there are influencer marketing tools out there and you can also just Google search for “top influencers in industry X” or “top blogs in industry X”.

    Are you able to elaborate at all on how to identify the top influencers / blogs in a community (or is it really just a case of “safariing” communities within your industry from the inside and building your list from their like explained in your article)?

  • Nick Toye says:

    Hi Kai, following on from your podcast with Nathan Powell, and productising, how come you don’t put prices on your products? Is it intentional? Considering doing it myself with my own suite of products.

  • Kai Davis says:

    Heya Nick,

    Great question!

    I actually split the difference on this. For the Website X-Ray, I do have the price listed – $849. For a few other products in launching in February, the prices will also be public (Digital Outreach Plan, Keyword Analysis, Link Building Blueprint).
    The one service that currently doesn’t have the price listed is the Traffic Powerup. I don’t list the price because I customize the service depending on the client, their product, their industry, and the value the service can provide.
    Some clients need a large amount of outreach. For others, a small, targeted amount gets the results we’re looking for. In either case, by not listing the price, I’m able to tune the price for each client.
    Additionally, traffic Powerup is my highest priced productized offering, so I like to have a client on a call and tell them the price after identifying how the service can help their business grow. Once we identify the value, I tell them the price.
    This is something I go back and forth on. I ~may~ be switching Traffic Powerup to have a public price again this month, but at the same time, I’m full on Traffic Powerup clients, so I’m not looking to tune it.
    Strategically, I really, really like having the prices public for one-off (and some ongoing) productized consulting offerings. I think the major benefits of productized consulting are
    – eliminating proposals
    – having a standard scope of work for a client
    – having a price quote up front so the client can judge the value when they read the sales page
    Am I explaining all of that well?

    Thanks for asking!

  • Nick Toye says:

    Yeah great reply, I’m just nervous about publicising my prices. I design and develop ecommerce stores, and I’ve never seen anyone publicise prices.

  • Kai Davis says:

    Heya Nick,

    Tell me a bit more about what you’re feeling nervous about? When you think about publicizing your prices, what about that feels like uncomfortable?

  • Nick Toye says:

    Competitors knowing my prices. Also whether people will find me too expensive even though I feel it’s a fair price.

    Also how do I make a sale? Via an invoice or purchase directly on the page.

  • Kai Davis says:

    [Competitors knowing my prices]

    Is a reasonable concern. But I wouldn’t be too concerned about it. If a competitor wants to compete with you on price, well, they could always do that. What I recommend is focusing on pricing your services based on the value that you’re providing.

    There’s a lot of ways to think about value: earnings, return on investment, more time to focus on growing the business.

    When you price your service based on the value you provide to your client, it’s very, very, very hard for a competitor to fight.

    Plus: worrying about the competitors is a bit of a scarcity mentality. “There are only so many clients and unless I’m the most affordable, I’ll lose out!”

    I recommend focusing on an abundance mentality. There are so many potential clients out there. It doesn’t matter if a competitor knows your prices, it matters if one of your clients finds value in what you’re offering.

    [Also whether people will find me too expensive even though I feel it’s a fair price.]

    There will always be folks who think you’re charging too much. And folks who think you’re charging too little.

    I wouldn’t worry about this too much. If it’s a fair price, the clients who think it’s a fair price will get in touch with you to work together. Clients who think you’re too expensive won’t.

    The major benefit of having the productized service publicly listed with a price is that it’s time saving for you. You no longer have to write or customize a proposal, you can send them to the sales page and let them take action.

    [Also how do I make a sale? Via an invoice or purchase directly on the page.]

    Either way works. I’m a fan of collecting 100% of the project fee up front before I start work, so I typically have a client pay for the project ahead of time.

    I use a custom solution that Nick Disabato ( http://draft.nu ) built. I’ll be open sourcing it in March for anyone to use. (You can see what it looks like here: https://doubleyourecommerce.com/checkout/?product=xray&method=oneoff )

    Either invoicing or purchasing directly on the page, keep two things in mind:

    1) Cold traffic will rarely show up and make a purchase. Instead, the sales page is something that you can send warm traffic or leads to so they can read. Then, when they’re ready to buy, there’s a buy button for them.

    2) You should charge upfront. Collect payment before you start work.

    Am I explaining this well? Keep the questions coming if you have them. I love talking about this stuff. :)

  • Nick Toye says:

    Great advice Kai, I guess for me it’s a big step from doing consultancy work, and doing onsite contracts. I have plenty of good ideas to raise value, offer more than what a standard freelancer may offer.

    All about me being confident in the product and the value it represents.

  • Kai Davis says:

    I think that’s the key point: as long as you’re confident in the products you’re making available and the quality of your work, everything will work out fine. :)

  • Kai Davis says:

    So, there’s a few different ways we can qualify the idea of ‘influential’. Let’s say that we have a product we want to promote to an audience of entrepreneurs.

    Well, Tim Ferriss, Pat Flynn, and Noah Kagan are three very influential folks that we could contact to work together and they (probably) show up at the top of any ‘Top Influencers in industry X’ list.

    But it’s really, really, really hard to reach those folks! They have large established brands and sites. They have an army of gatekeepers that are focused on protecting their time.

    Sure, connecting with one of these folks can have outsized results for your business — and you SHOULD try and connect with them — but it can take a long, long, long time to have a win. And with such large audiences, do you even know what percentage will convert? It might not be that many.

    I focus my outreach on smaller established blogs. One criteria I use is “Has between 100 and 2,000 referring domains linking to them.” This typically results in the sweet spot between ‘large enough to have an audience’ and ‘small enough to not have tons of gatekeepers’.

    In terms of identifying these influencers, that’s where the safari process comes in. Reviewing the websites, seeing who links to to, and understanding where the community congregates. (I recently had a win in this identification process where I found a community forum, looked at the domains linking to that forum, and grabbed 500+ blogs to further qualify).

    So — it depends! Typically, it takes work to identify and qualify the smaller sites that have an established and active audience, but they’re the folks that you really want to reach. Tim Feriss gets 4+ requests for him to review a book every day. It takes a ton of work to stand out in that noise. By outreaching to smaller blogs, it’s easier to get wins.

    I know there’s a lot more clarity I can offer here. Please, let me know if I’m explaining this well and what else I can answer!

  • Kai Davis says:

    Great question!

    The best practice is for every page on your site to have a unique, descriptive title that both robots (search engines) and humans can use to understand what the content is about.

    Now, page title is just one of many different ranking factors, but it’s an important one: it shows up in the search results and it helps tells searchers and robots what, at a high level, the page is about.

    The metaphor I use is one of a newspaper. The title of a page is like the title of the article. If you open up the newspaper and two stories have the same title, well, that’d be a bit confusing.

    Either…

    The stories are the same (duplicate content) and it shouldn’t be in the newspaper twice.
    The stories are dfferent, but have the same title — which is confusing for the reader

    Best practice? Each page on your website should have a unique, descriptive title that sells the ‘sizzle’ of the article and entices the visitor to click through from the search results.

    Just like a newspaper headline (and page headline), the page title should be unique and designed to get the visitor reading the next sentence.

  • letsworkshop says:

    If you were inheriting a blog that had been around for a long time (oh, I dunno perhaps like blog.folyo.me) what’s the first thing you would do? How would you approach merging this new asset with existing websites, pages that you have running currently?

  • Kai Davis says:

    This is a great — and huge! — question. There’s a lot of parts to think about, both in terms of the technical aspects (SEO) and the marketing aspects (communicating with customers).

    If I was plunked, day 1, down into the driver’s seat on this, I think this is how I’d approach it:

    First, I’d email the customers, introduce myself, let them know that Folyo is going to get even better, and send then a short survey. Most likely Hiten’s survey to identify opportunities for improvement ( doubleyouraudience.com/microconf/hiten/ ). I’d use the data from this survey to start planning out future feature integrations.
    Second, when it comes to merging the assets, I’d think long and hard about the best way to do this:

    1) Does the new site (Folyo) have a unique positioning or branding in the marketplace that’s separate from the existing site? If so, does that value get lost in the merger?

    2) For the positioning, does it make sense to combine them?

    3) Are there opportunities to preserve this as a separate brand and improve the lead generation / traffic, ‘diversifying’ your holdings?

    If you want to combine the sites, in terms of the technical SEO questions to ask, answer, and implement:

    What are the top traffic generating pages on Folyo? To migrate them, you’d want to follow a pretty precise process:

    First, recreate the content (headers, title, content, etc) of EACH specific page exactly on the new site to mirror the old site. Determine the keywords the the old page is ranking for.
    Second, use a 301-redirect to redirect from the old page to the new page
    Third, set a “rel=canonical” tag on the old page to point to the new page
    Fourth, identify everyone who was linking to the old page. Email them, ask them to link to the new page instead.
    Fifth, slowly, carefully monitor your rankings. You should see the ‘new’ pages start to rank and be indexed.
    Sixth, repeat for the additional pages, slowly transferring the organic traffic, links, and content from the old site to the new site.

    **

    This is a pretty Thorough Approach to migrating / combining / merging the sites. You’ll want to do it slowly, carefully, and methodically.

    I know some consultants who will say “Just copy across the content and 301-redirect the domain as a whole” — but I don’t think that will produce the best results or capture the most traffic.

    Best to approach it slowly and methodically:

    Survey your audience, figure out what they’re looking to see improve
    Move the most valuable content across, making no changes (so Google doesn’t freak out)
    301-redirect page-by-page, to pass the link juice across to the new site
    Update internal links on the old site to point to the new site
    Contact people linking to the old site, ask them to link to the new site

  • Kai Davis says:

    Heya Mark — those will be released by MicroConf / FoundersCafe throughout the year, first to the members and then to the general public.

  • Kai Davis says:

    Great question — it’s a custom PHP setup that Nick Disabato of Draft: Revise put together. I’ll be open-sourcing it sometime soon (I’ve been stuck on time) :(

  • Gregory Lilien says:

    Hey Kai. I was referred to you buy Kurt Elster and wanted to hire you to help with outreach. How do I contact you directly? I didn’t see a form or email on your main page but maybe I’m missing it. Thank you. Gregory

  • Madi Waggoner says:

    Just read your article How to Hire a Part-Time Employee. Is Stephanie still your Outreach Coordinator? Do you have more detailed posts of what she does including what tools she uses? If not, can I have her email address? :)

  • Madi Waggoner says:

    Just read your article How to Hire a Part-Time Employee. Is Stephanie still your Outreach Coordinator? Do you have more detailed posts of what she does including what tools she uses? If not, can I have her email address? :)

  • Kai Davis says:

    Heya Madi,

    She’s no longer with me, however i can’t give out her email address. I break down the process of what she does and the tools she uses in my books the Outreach Blueprint (outreachblueprint.com) and The Traffic Manual (thetrafficmanual.com).

    Thanks!

  • Kai Davis says:

    Heya Madi,

    She’s no longer with me, however i can’t give out her email address. I break down the process of what she does and the tools she uses in my books the Outreach Blueprint (outreachblueprint.com) and The Traffic Manual (thetrafficmanual.com).

    Thanks!

  • Hey Kai, I wanted to say THANKS for your wonderful insights on the Stacking the Bricks podcast. Amazingly helpful outreach (I use this term too) and ‘intro to PR’. Great page here too!!

  • Mike says:

    Wonderful content, Kai. Here, and on your MMO podcast.

    I’m intrigued by your scholarship (http://doubleyouraudience.com/scholarship/). In one of your posts, you hint at using a scholarship as a way to earn backlinks. I like that you’re ‘taking your own medicine’ AND giving back.

    Questions 1: Wouldn’t the links from students’ private blogs have relatively low domain authority?
    Question 2: Wouldn’t it be better to ask scholarship applicants to post their application -and link to your site- from some sort of profile page or student blog on their schools’ .edu domains?
    Question 3: For that matter, did you try to get your scholarship backlinked from any (Business, Marketing, Journalism, or Public Relations) schools’ pages? Schools’ financial aid offices make it their business to aggregate scholarships to which their students could apply, don’t they? (I realize that last question may not be within your area of expertise. No pressure. ;-)
    Question 4: Did you go through any sort of registration to make your scholarship ‘legit?’ After all, you are giving money away. I imagine some government entity would like to know about the recipient’s ‘winnings.’

    I think you’re on to something big with this idea.

    PS – BIG props for http://uibreakfast.com/05-choosing-right-words/ I’ve been earning a living as a freelance copywriter since 2008, and I found your ideas to be a nice mix of refreshing reminders and nifty tactics that I’m excited to try.

  • Kai Davis says:

    Wonderful content, Kai. Here, and on your MMO podcast.

    Thank you so much, my friend! :D I’m glad you’re enjoying http://makemoneyonline.exposed :)

    I’m intrigued by your scholarship (http://doubleyouraudience.com/…. In one of your posts, you hint at using a scholarship as a way to earn backlinks. I like that you’re ‘taking your own medicine’ AND giving back.

    Yup! I need to finish my full post on using this as a link building / public relations / outreach strategy. You’re absolutely correct in your assessment.

    Questions 1: Wouldn’t the links from students’ private blogs have relatively low domain authority?

    The links from student blogs is a test I’m running. The primary link source is (per Q3) financial aid offices. There’s a system I use (an SOP for Google + validating the results + find email addresses) to identify financial aid offices to contact and then we begin the outreach process.

    Primary source of links? Financial aid offices at .edu domains.

    The ‘hey, post your application online + link to the scholarship’ is me testing a tactic that might result in additional links. So far the super majority of links have been from financial aid offices. I don’t think the ‘student blogging’ tactic works as a cta for the scholarship.

    Question 2: Wouldn’t it be better to ask scholarship applicants to post their application -and link to your site- from some sort of profile page or student blog on their schools’ .edu domains?

    Good suggestion. I think that’s a great optimization if people start posting their applications online.

    Question 3: For that matter, did you try to get your scholarship backlinked from any (Business, Marketing, Journalism, or Public Relations) schools’ pages? Schools’ financial aid offices make it their business to aggregate scholarships to which their students could apply, don’t they? (I realize that last question may not be within your area of expertise. No pressure. ;-)

    Yup! This is the main backlink source. It boils down to:

    Launch the scholarship
    Identify financial aid offices / university departments that link to scholarships
    Email them and let them know about the scholarship, ask them to link to us, give them the info to link to us
    Repeat 2 + 3

    Question 4: Did you go through any sort of registration to make your scholarship ‘legit?’ After all, you are giving money away. I imagine some government entity would like to know about the recipient’s ‘winnings.’

    As far as I know there is no registration process required. I just Did The Thing and started promoting it. There may be registration related steps to make this ‘legit’ that I am completely missing. :-)

    PS – BIG props for http://uibreakfast.com/05-choo… I’ve been earning a living as a freelance copywriter since 2008, and I found your ideas to be a nice mix of refreshing reminders and nifty tactics that I’m excited to try.

    Thank you!

  • Mike says:

    Wow, thanks for the candid replies Kai! Can’t wait for that post. I’m glad to hear this has been working for you.
    Kudos again!
    PS – I’m from Eugene. Way to make money from inside the Emerald Valley!

  • Winum says:

    Hey Kai.

    2 questions:

    Do you recommend any social CRM solution to keep in touch with people?
    How do you keep coming up with ideas to stay in touch with people who might not keep the conversation going on the first touches?

  • Kai Davis says:

    Heya Winum,

    Great questions!

    Do you recommend any social CRM solution to keep in touch with people?

    My preferred CRM to remind me to keep in touch with people is Streak.com. I use it to remind me to keep in touch with friends, colleagues, and clients.

    How do you keep coming up with ideas to stay in touch with people who might not keep the conversation going on the first touches?

    What I’ve found works best is planning out 3-5 pieces of relevant, interesting content that you can share with them

    A podcast episode
    An article
    A resource
    A guide
    An article you wrote

    or something else

    And planning out how you’d share that resource with them in a non-pushy, friendly way.

    That way, even if they don’t keep the conversation going on the first touch, you’re able to politely, persistently follow up and say “Hey NAME, here’s a great article on THING that I think you’ll like (link) because it BENEFIT OF READING ARTICLE. How is business doing?”

    It falls into my philosophy of providing more value with follow-up. Rather than just saying “Re: Yo!,” you’re able to add more value and make sure that your second, third, and more touches are valuable.

    Am I explaining that well?

  • Winum says:

    You are explaining it perfectly.

    One thing I have started to do is also subscribe to peoples newsletters and then simply respond with a personalized, and ideally fun, comment along with a thank you.

    For outreach I have had okay good success with creating thank you videos for the initial touch.

    Thanks so much for recommending streak – never heard of it. I will check it out for sure.

  • Kai Davis says:

    One thing I have started to do is also subscribe to peoples newsletters and then simply respond with a personalized, and ideally fun, comment along with a thank you.

    That’s ALWAYS a great strategy. Responding to the emails and commenting, thanking them, or sharing something of value is a great way to start building that relationship.

    (True story: that’s how I first made connect with Nick Disabato and then we wrote a book together and now we host a podcast together :-)

  • Mitesh says:

    Hi Kai,

    How do I come up with good startup ideas, I’ve launched a blog writing service but as of yet I have no customers what am I doing wrong? Have I gone after the wrong idea. My goal is to do what you and Nick Disaboto do but I don’t if I’ll ever get there.

  • Kai Davis says:

    Great question. The key is a 3-part process:

    Who is the target market you want to serve? (Educational product creators? Attorneys? Contractors? Something else?)
    What are the expensive problems that the audience is experiencing? (You learn this by studying the audience online and seeing what problems they call out or directly talking to prospects and listening to the pains they share)
    What services can you offer that solve those problems?

    I think it flows that way: target market → expensive problem → service offering.

    You said you launched a blog writing service (service offering), but who is it for? Who is the ideal customer? What problem are you solving for them?

    Answering those questions can help give clarity on what steps to take or what information you need to acquire.

    Am I explaining that well?

  • Bruce says:

    Hi Kai,
    I’m looking into buying the Strategy package version of the Independent Consulting Manual ( in a few weeks. I have an email list of about 5200 project managers. I’d like to start selling career/productivity coaching services to them. Is the ICM a good fit for that goal?

    Here’s what I’d like to achieve: achieve $6,000 revenue per month selling consulting at approx hourly rate of $250 / hour.

    P.S. Discovered your work through your interview on the Side Hustle podcast!

  • Kai Davis says:

    Heya Bruce,

    Great to hear from you! Thanks for listening to the interview on the Side Hustle podcast (https://www.sidehustlenation.com/start-side-hustle-consulting-business-gets-paid/).

    I have an email list of about 5200 project managers. I’d like to start selling career/productivity coaching services to them. Is the ICM a good fit for that goal?

    Great question! I recommend the Independent Consulting Manual (independentconsultingmanual.com) for consultants that are looking for advice, direction, and strategy on running and growing their freelancing or consulting business.

    The ICM and the Roundtable Interviews have a number of essays and discussions on selling services (identifying the expensive problem, pricing, selling, etc) and I think it can absolutely point you in the right direction.

    It sounds like you’re in an excellent position to sell your services to your audience. The ICM doesn’t offer a specific roadmap to launching + selling a service (thought that’s a great idea for a future addition!), however, I think it will help you answer questions around identifying the expensive problem you solve with your service, pricing, and marketing.

    I’d recommend purchasing the Independent Consulting Manual (and if you use this link, you’ll save 20%! http://independentconsultingmanual.com/?coupon=kailovesyou). And if after reading the book and watching the interviews and accessing the bonuses you don’t feel like you have the direction you need, we offer a 100% money back guarantee :-)

    Here’s what I’d like to achieve: achieve $6,000 revenue per month selling consulting at approx hourly rate of $250 / hour.

    This sounds excellent and entirely achievable. But don’t sell your services at an hourly rate, I highly recommend charging on a daily, weekly, or project rate (and we cover that in the Independent Consulting Manual!)

    Here’s that link again to purchase the Independent Consulting Manual with a 20% discount :-)

    http://independentconsultingmanual.com/?coupon=kailovesyou

  • Bruce says:

    Hi Kai,

    Curious for your perspective on which offering is a better fit.

    Current situation: currently earning income through writing projects (e.g. https://bruceharpham.contently.com/)

    Desired situation: earn $100,000 business revenue in 2017 (with freelance journalism accounting for $10,000 max). I’d like to move into consulting (e.g. content marketing/career consulting).

    What’s a better fit for the “get started and growing”:
    1) http://independentconsultingmanual.com/

    2) https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/leads/

    (I may well buy both.. Just curious on the best starting point).

    Keep up the good work with the podcast!

  • Kai Davis says:

    Thank you for the compliment on the podcast, my friend!

    Between the two (“get started and growing), I’d actually recommend doubleyourfreelancing.com/rate — /leads/ is a good resource for optimizing your website and starting to build a pipeline, but I think /rate/ is a better product for someone starting and growing.

    Have you checked out the Double Your Freelancing Academy? doubleyourfreelancing.com/academy/ It’s a great resource to help you build a pipeline to sustain and grow your business. I’d recommend that as a great resource. Larger up-front investment, but a bigger return.

  • Bruce says:

    Thanks Kai!

    By the way, you get “bonus points” in my books for referring to a different offering that was a better fit. To use a car sales analogy, this is like a BMW Salesman saying, “Hmm.. For what you want, you should get X brand instead.” Well done.

  • jleerrlnk says:

    Hello Kai,

    Am really new to this whole thing and I have a question for you. What does this look like, If the applicant looks like a good candidate, I sent them a pre-written template with a call to action to schedule a 30-minute time for us to meet

    And what is Calendy?

    Thank you so much!
    -Justin

  • Kai Davis says:

    Heya Justin,

    Great question. If the applicant looks like a good match — they’re someone you want to have a conversation with — you’d send them a template saying “Hey, thanks so much for writing/applying, I’d love to learn more about your business, your goals, and how I can help you achieve your desired outcomes. In terms of a next step, I recommend we schedule a 30-minute time for us to chat where I can learn more about your business”

    calendly.com is a calendar booking tool that I adore and highly recommend :)

  • Ishan says:

    Hi Kai,

    Full time freelancing or a masters degree? What would you recommend to a mid twenties guys working in India and freelancing alongside?

    I want to move to US(from India) in a year or two. If you had that choice, what would you do?

    Thanks.

  • Kai Davis says:

    I strongly vote Full-Time Freelancing.

    Masters Degrees are great for specialization in a field, but unless you want to work in a job that explicitly requires a Masters Degree as table stakes (entry level requirements, not negotiable), then having a Masters Degree doesn’t add that much to your career experience, your work experience, or your problem solving experience.

    I think that full time freelancing is a better career choice. I think you’re more in control of your business, you have more opportunity to work on better projects, and you have the opportunity to earn more money.

    Now, it’s also a lot more stressful in certain ways, but so is getting a masters degree, so let’s call it a draw to debate later.

    Freelancing, you’re able to charge more (value based pricing, sell products, scale, get more leverage) than you can in a day job. Example: One of the highest paying salaried gigs right now is iOS Development, which as I understand it caps out at about $150/hr if you’re doing it Full Time As A Day Job. (Exceptions apply, of course, but they’re exceptions).

    With freelancing, you’re able to leverage your time (teach online classes, say) and earn a higher effective hourly rate. You can launch and sell products like books built from your knowledge and expertise. You can value price your services where you charge on the value delivered to the client, not the time it takes to provide the service (any of these applied to a freelancing business can take you to or over $150/hour).

    I think Freelancing — or, let’s be real, owning an independent business — is the better choice. I’d take it over getting a master’s degree and then a day job. I’d take it over getting a master’s degree and then freelancing.

    Now, to your second point, you want to move to the US from India. That’s… a very complicated system that I don’t know anything about. I know that moving as a student to get a master’s degree in the US and then finding a job in the US is a path that a lot of people take. And I know that there are paths ( https://www.designernews.co/stories/53260-ask-dn-moving-from-uk-to-us-as-a-freelancer ) to find your way in as a Freelancer.

    So, in terms of the first question, full-time freelancing.

    For the second, I’m not sure. I might pick the master’s degree.

  • j_mes says:

    Hey Kai,

    First up, thanks for the content you continue to share. It’s really helped me a lot and I’m glad I found you on the interview I did. Keep up the excellent work!

    My question: At what stage of onboarding should I ask value-based questions?

    Most of my initial questions are centered around learning about the client and their situation. There are some indications of value from these, but the value-specific questions are a few meetings on. Should I lead with, or at least ask these questions earlier? Or do they come after we’ve decided on a specific problem/solution (“What would solving this problem mean to your business?” “What if this project failed?”).

    Any input would be appreciated and thanks for your time!

  • Kai Davis says:

    Thanks so much! I appreciate the kind words :-)

    My question: At what stage of onboarding should I ask value-based questions?

    The earlier the better, as you build trust with the client. (And one minor clarification: I’d recommend asking those questions during the initial conversations with the client, not ‘onboarding,’ which I typically think of post-payment as you kickoff the project. I think we mean the same thing, we’re just using different words to describe it).

    The earlier you start asking questions to seek out the pain that the client is experiencing (“What’s the #1 thing you’ve struggled with in your business over the last month?” “Where are you investing in growth?”) the better to understand the problem the client is experiencing — and the value of that problem.

    Most of my initial questions are centered around learning about the client and their situation.

    Nod nod

    There are some indications of value from these, but the value-specific questions are a few meetings on. Should I lead with, or at least ask these questions earlier?

    I recommend so. If the client has 3 problems, one costing them $100/mo, one costing them $1,000/mo, and one costing them $10,000/mo, knowing which problem is the most pressing will allow you to focus on that problem as the problem you’re offering a solution for.

    Or do they come after we’ve decided on a specific problem/solution (“What would solving this problem mean to your business?” “What if this project failed?”).

    There’s absolutely a mix to it, as you highlight here. I think the value comes from, early on, identifying the different problems they’re experiencing, then asking value-seeking problems to identify the most valuable problems to focus on, then figuring out the solution that makes sense for the most ‘expensive’ problem they’re experiencing.

    Am I explaining this well?

  • j_mes says:

    Makes complete sense Kai, thanks for your input. VBP is definitely more of an art than a science – I’ll get it eventually.

    Yes, we were definitely using different words to say the same thing. Maybe roadmapping would be a better word for what we’re trying to describe.

    Anyway, thanks again Kai for the super quick and useful response! :)

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