04 Apr April 4, 2020 – CEO’s Guide to Marketing Lonny Kocina and SEO Link Building Superstar Matt LaClear
Loony Kocina – Founder and CEO of Media Relations Agency
You want in instill in consumers the one, two or three primary values point, the reason they are going to buy your product, and the reasons they are going to buy from you rather than someone else.
Lonny Kocina is founder and CEO of Media Relations Agency, a performance-based brand marketing agency. They have made it their mission to ensure that everyone on their team knows and understands the basic marketing concepts and the SAM 6 process. Thirty years ago, he pioneered selling publicity by the story rather than charging per hour by introducing the concept of their nationally trademarked Pay Per Interview Publicity® business model. Lonny is the author of the best-selling, award-winning book, The CEO’s Guide to Marketing; The Book Every Marketer Should Read Before Their Boss Does.
Sometimes it does hurt to ask. If you ask too soon in the process,
it makes the prospect feel uneasy and you can blow the whole deal.
In 2004, Matt had his house buzzed three times by an Apache Helicopter because of his aggressive follow-up efforts on a $3 Million proposal he had submitted to the owner. The project crashed and burned, but that encounter changed Matt’s thinking forever. He founded the marketing agency Your SEO Squad which is responsible for ranking over 5,000 of its clients’ sites onto Google’s first page for their chosen keywords. His clients have generated millions of dollars in revenue from those rankings. He also founded RainMaker Bullets to help small businesses and agencies improve their traffic and boost sales. Mike is also the author of Link Building Debunked, a book that provides step-by-step instructions on how to boost the profit potential of your website.
Highlights from Matt’s Interview
Here’s the story about the Apache helicopter attack. It was a political owner to that helicopter; I won’t say any more than that. I had a $3 million proposal win for “Get out the vote” in battleground states. Long story short, they sat on my proposal after accepting it. I sent an email to 25 of this Podesta’s key people and said, you owe it to your country to get this proposal into the President’s hand because it’s being sat on by somebody in your campaign. Three hours later, the helicopter was hovering over my house, did a big circle, did it again and again. Five minutes after the last pass, I got an email from the Campaign Director of the National Campaign saying, we’re going to take a pass now, Matt. So that’s all about the helicopter. It was in 2004 and they were in the vicinity. My state is a battleground state, so they were within 30 miles of my place, which doesn’t take long to get to in a helicopter.
They sent the email because I was quite effective at getting their attention. Jeb Bush got an email from me, his wife got an email, Dick Cheney’s wife got an email from me, Orrin Hatch got an email from me, senators got emails from me. Only one of them had to make it through, and it worked, but I didn’t get the money. To find the emails in those days, you would have to go and find a list broker and say, I need the Gods and Guns crew, I need a bunch of these in these states, and then you’d rent the list and it was a lot of money, and then you’d send cold emails. They call that spam now.
There’s two ways for Google to know who they want to display on their search results. Whenever somebody searches in, what it is that you sell, and they’re doing research on it. Google wants to make sure that their users are getting somebody who is a value. So, there’s two ways to do that. Number one is backlinks. It’s like in high school, if you were in a good clique, you had votes of confidence from the other popular people at the cafeteria table. When other people saw you sitting, you got a vote of confidence yourself because of the people who were linking to you. That’s the same thing with websites. Then there’s on-page optimization, which is things that you can do for yourself; you could shave, you could brush your teeth, you could comb your hair, and you can button up your clothes, and you could use breath mints, and then hopefully people would accept you and let you into their clique. But to be really cool, you have to have the links and the on-page.
Anybody can optimize their website. We have seven kids in our family and my middle schoolers are the ones who handle on-page optimization for our agency; they work for us part-time. On-page optimization is not that hard to do, it’s maybe even fifth grade work. Just get your keywords in, run the editors, make sure everything’s reading properly, and make sure if you’re using Yoast, it has green arrows all across the board. When all of that is done, SEO is done. But the problem is, it’s so easy to do that if Google is trying to figure out who to rank for that keyword, there’s going be a lot of first place ties, because everybody has optimized their page properly, because it’s not rocket science. It’s important, but once you get it done, you have to start getting backlinks, and that’s a different story. Because you have so many people tying for first place, so then Google is going to pick the people with the backlinks.
There’s more than just on-site to SEO, there’s also user behavior on the search results page. I want to say 75-80% is links, and the rest is on-page and just taking care of your users. So, when your prospect searches your keyword, and then they click do they click, and you display on page one, are they clicking on your page, how long are they staying on your page? Or are they clicking on your competitor, and how long are they staying on their page? That data all gets put into what’s called rank brain, and it’s almost like a voting contest; who’s getting the most click-throughs, who’s taking care of prospect. So that’s one aspect of it. If you take care of your users and give good content, Google is going be happy with that because Google wants their users to be happy. Sometimes we share the same customers, and if we want them to share customers who are interested in our service as they Google, we have to take care of the user, and that’s probably 25-30% of the game. You’re just polishing your boat that never gets in the water.
Now, we do something magical with the backlinks. If you’re going to have to go through the process of getting backlink, think about this. What caused Podesta, the President of the United States or his campaign director, to send the helicopter over a little man’s house when he could have just easily ignored it? But he didn’t, and something caused them not to, and that was leverage. That leverage was coming from a lot of different angles. Now, once I learned that I just got the most powerful group of people in the world to notice me and they quit ignoring my proposal at that time, I started wondering, what if we started going after the biggest people in any industry, because if we can get a link from them to our client’s site, it’s going to be huge. So, we start with the very best prospects and we build relationships with them, and we call them Golden Prospects. These are the people in any given industry who are not competitors of our clients, but who are in the best position to be able to help our client’s businesses grow the fastest. They’re essential to our system because it takes effort to build relationships with them, and we teach how to do that. When we do build those relationships, then we ask for the link. If you are selective with the prospects you’re going after, you can put more effort into winning them over. Most people don’t SEO, they’re just going after a huge list and they can’t put any effort on bonding with their list, so they fail.
I’ll go through an example of one of my clients. Two years ago, we needed some more sales for our agency, because I was doing too much operations work and I wasn’t wearing the marketing hat enough. So, I went out to look for somebody who could give me instant referrals. When I say instant, maybe I had to build a relationship, but once the relationship was built, I would get it. I chose a guy named Eric Ward; he went by Link Moses. He was one of the biggest link builders in the world and he was the best. He had a following, he had an email list of 20,000 people interested in SEO and link building. Long story short, I built a relationship with him through outreach, he gave me one link. Then I went back and got a second link, then I went and got a third and fourth link. Within nine months, he had referred over a $100,000 worth of business to us. He also made my book number two for the category of SEO, which is my category, when he recommended it in his newsletter. So, I’m an Amazon best seller because of just one prospect. Unfortunately, he passed away nine months after that happened and I lost all those referrals, but even the clients we kept when he referred them to us, some of them are still our clients, or they stayed with us for so long that that number of $100,000 went almost up to $200,000 from that nine months. It was just a phenomenal experience!
When you reach out to people in your industry who are not your competitor and they have referrals to give you, all you have to do is build a relationship with that person and you’ll get those referrals. It starts out with a backlink because backlinks are representative of the relationship between the two businesses. It’s just about going steady. Once you go steady once, you go and get a second link, and then you get the third, and maybe get on their newsletter; we call those stealth links because your competitors can’t find them, and you just build your business that way. Those are the links that Google responds to when they’re raising a site’s rankings.
For example, if you have a chicken gizzard business, first of all, I’d find all the chicken liver dealers, and I would find chicken liver dealers that do not offer desserts. Once I found that, I would go to their website URL. It’s very easy on Google to do this research, it’s all free. We don’t have to hire list brokers anymore; we just get onto Google and do our research. Then once I find about 50 people offering livers but not gizzards, then I’d go to SpyFu.com and put each one of their sites in there to see how much organic traffic they’re generating so I know whether or not Google likes their site, or maybe they’re buying a lot of PPC traffic. Once I find the ones that have a lot of traffic and are not our competitors, those are the people I call the Golden Prospects and those are the people that will build relationships up. Just one referral from them is going to bring business in, and those are the people that are in a position to be able to grow your gizzard company the fastest.
Building the relationships is one thing that costs a lot of money. I say you do it a little bit cheaper than that, and I have a course that teaches how do that. It’s free, you don’t even have to opt in to get it. Step-by-step, the process is just getting that prospect used to your name. If they understand your name and they see your name, then you won’t be a stranger, and there’s a lot of ways you can do that. If they’ve written an Amazon book, you can read their Kindle book for really cheap, and after you rate their Kindle book, you leave a review. You find them on LinkedIn and say, I’ve been reading your blog post or your book, it’s great, I’m going to come by and give a referral or a testimonial on LinkedIn. You follow them on Twitter, and then you could put them into a little private list and public list; so, they’ll get two notifications. The public list says, you’ve been added to Top Link Builders or Top Chicken Liver Providers. So, it’s kind of like a vote of confidence you’re giving them. The more times they see your name coming from different angles, it puts you in a position to go into the next phase.
The next phase is you subscribe to their newsletters, create images for their homepage, or do little things like that. Just take care of them, build relationships with them. You do that by not asking for anything ever until they ask you, “Why are you doing all these nice things, what can I do for you?” Then you say, “Well, I was hoping we could build a referral relationship up.” They’re like, “Yeah, I trust you. You’ve been with me and you haven’t even asked for anything, you’ve done all these other things for me. Yeah, let’s do it.” It’s amazing how people will like you if you don’t violate the rules of human interaction that almost 99.99% of link builders and marketers make when they’re reaching out to cold prospects.
Everybody has a little narcissism in their personality. Especially if you’re a marketer, when you get somebody sharing your stuff and leaving intelligent comments on your blog post and leaving reviews, you definitely notice them. Do you know how many books they have to sell to get a single review? I’m number two for the SEO Category and I got six reviews on my book from thousands and thousands of sales. For five of those reviews, I had to go to my clients to get them. So, I had one organic review out of all those sales. I get business from my books when people that read my book say, I want to hire you, and that’s the best thing. But even those people, they won’t leave a review. That’s why it’s very easy to cut through the line and get your name in front of your prospects when you leave a review. If you get a Kindle unlimited account for most eBooks, it’s cheap; it’s $15/month, and you can read almost unlimited books so you can get in and leave a review. It’s a powerful strategy. Because we all like nice words and we like people patting us on the back and reminding us that you’re right, you are special.
For the first 10 hours that I’m using this strategy, I’m not asking anything, I’m just getting my name branded into those prospect’s brains. Ryan Deiss teaches this and it’s brilliant, sometimes it does hurt to ask. If you ask too soon in the process, it makes the prospect feel uneasy for rejecting you. Instead of just rejecting, they say, they’ll ask me again later, and they just delete your email. So sometimes if you ask too soon, you blow the whole deal. After 10 hours what will happen is, now 35 people in my industry who are in a position to help me the fastest will know what my name is, and I’ll have 10 of them at least responding back to me and replying to my emails and chit chatting with me; whether it’s on Twitter, whether it’s on LinkedIn, whether it’s on Facebook Messenger, whether it’s on email. They will be communicating with me, and that will put me in a position to focus on 5 to 10 of them. Out of those 5 to 10 prospects, I’ll have links from them within 30 days after that.
We had a black hat business when we started out, and we had over 10,000 clients when Penguin hit with algorithm change and you can no longer use junk links and all that nonsense, and we had over 5,000 of them lose their rankings overnight. These were small businesses, so they were the main people [Unclear]. It was great the years before that, because they were getting new offices and they were hiring new people because of me. Then, all that went away one at a time, which was heartbreaking, and I couldn’t stop it. I kept trying to kick the algorithm and fool Google and give them the traffic back, but Google had gotten pretty smart. Long story short, I had to learn how to do content marketing and learn how to do it right, and I had no enthusiasm for it. I got PTSD, I gained 85 pounds, and it was a hard road back, but I’m glad to be back.
You can go to my website at “yourseosquad.com”. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, there is a link that says Link Building Mastery, I have all my courses there for free. I used to charge almost $2,000 for all three of them but it’s for free with no opt-in. They’re right out in the open for anybody that wants to learn how to reach the biggest people in their industry, build the list, vet the list, and then reach out step-by-step to each of those influencers.