You would need some proven methods and knockout strategies to find new prospects. So, the most important question is- how do you identify the qualified leads? Well, it does require some practice and takes a good amount of effort. In this blog, we will talk about how to build a prospect list with "lookalike prospects." And the name "lookalike prospects" is inspired by lookalike audiences. It is commonly used in online advertising.
Ad platforms like Google and Facebook let you target people similar to an existing audience. For example, people that are like your customers or website visitors. And by targeting these lookalike audiences, you can reach out to people who are likely to be interested in your business because they share similar characteristics to your existing customers or website visitors.
How to build a prospect list?
Lookalike prospects in link building are very much the same. You are trying to find people who are similar to a seed prospect. But, seed prospects are people who link to a page for a specific reason. And these specific reasons are usually identified by patterns in a competing page's link profile. Best of all, these linkable points define your pitch angles.
To find lookalike prospects, you can try out three tools. The first is Ahrefs. More specifically, Ahrefs Site Explorer, Content Explorer, SEO toolbar, and batch analysis. The second tool is Google and the third is the Scraper Chrome Extension.
An example of how to grow a list of prospects
Alright, the first example is for SEO statistics page. When you create this page, you need to analyze a competing page's anchors report in Ahrefs Site Explorer. Now, when you visit these competing pages, you will find that a lot of the stats in the anchor's report aren’t even on the page or they are just super outdated. Here, you have got a couple pitch angles to run with. Usually when you find these patterns or linkable points in a competitor's backlink profile, you'll likely want to get an understanding of the breadth of the opportunity. And this will help you gauge whether it'll be worth your time and effort to pursue it.
The easiest way to do that is to look for a footprint within the pattern. And a footprint is just an ordinary mark among a dataset. So in this case, the footprint would be the percent sign. Now, with a footprint in hand, you can go to the backlinks report and use the filters to narrow in on relevant opportunities.
As your footprint is a percent sign in the anchor or surrounding text of the backlink, you need to type that into the search box and choose anchors with surrounding text as the search mode. You will see that there are tons of pages from unique websites linking to the page because of a specific stat. That's a pretty nice opportunity we would say.
Another way to build a list of prospects
The next example is related to a situation when a competing page is getting backlinks. Let’s say you have created a downloadable ebook related to SEO, and it doesn’t have any CTA.
And like the previous example, there was no CTA or mention of a downloadable ebook on the page. You will notice a pattern that all of the referring pages are on the topic of "top SEO ebooks." It means that your seed prospects are people who have a listicle on the top SEO ebooks. So you need to search for titles of pages that include the word "best or top," which implies a listicle,, and "SEO ebooks," which implies the main topic. So, to find our lookalike prospects, we can use Google search or Ahrefs' Content Explorer. In Google search, you can type in something like intitle:best intitle:seo intitle:ebook. And you will end up with a few hundred results.
Now, you can enable Ahrefs' SEO toolbar to get both domain and page-level metrics on the results. And if you prefer to work in Excel or Sheets, you can export the SERP as needed. But this job is much easier if you use Ahrefs' Content Explorer. So, you need to search for "best OR top" within parentheses, and then SEO ebook. Then you need to change the search mode to Title and run the search, which will show a few hundred results along with their SEO metrics.
If you want to further expand your list of lookalike prospects, you can simply change the word "SEO" to something like marketing since link building is a smaller part of the broader marketing category. And this is how you can have over 1,000 prospects in total for this campaign.
So, that’s all about how to build a prospect list. Now, when you're dealing with thousands of potential link prospects with multiple seeds, it can get quite messy. Plus, sending personalized emails at scale is tough. And that's where segmenting your link prospects is going to help you stay organized, convert more emails into links and save you a ton of time.