Tap Your Old Friends For Leads
Getting in touch with your childhood friends is such an easy way to get SEO leads fast that it can be overlooked. Some of your friends will be interested in your services while others will refer your services to their contacts.
I admit, it took me more than fifteen years to regularly touch base with close high school friends. But when I did, I was pleasantly surprised. The first time I sent a dozen Facebook messages, which took less than twenty minutes, I connected with:
- A high school friend who is Tiffany & Co.’s Asia-Pacific Region Marketing Director;
- A childhood friend who is close friends with the Digital Marketing Manager of an international sports apparel brand (which we provide SEO services for); and
- An old friend who attends USC’s MBA program. He meets with business executives often and has been regularly referring my services to them.
- A friend who has a legal services website that needed help with online marketing.
Connecting with childhood friends is a simple way to get new SEO leads because of your existing relationship.Click to tweet
Why Does This Work?
Distance, work, new friends, and life might get in the way, and you lose touch with your grade school and high school friends. But, this doesn’t mean you’re no longer friends.
You have a close connection with them because of your history. There’s a preexisting level of comfort and trust that can make your childhood friends much more valuable than new, cold connections. If you’ve never reached out to them, or it’s been a while, you should block out some time to do so!
If you had many friends growing up, you’re in an excellent position because your chances of making a valuable business connection are higher. You might even find that connecting with your old friends is easier and more effective than trying to drum up business at a conference or networking event.
Getting In Touch
Don’t hesitate to touch base with old friends anytime. I find it natural to connect at the beginning of the new year, but again, I think it’s always a good time to connect.
I like to find old classmates and friends on Facebook and connect with them there, rather than calling or email–if I even have their information. First, I think Facebook makes the experience more personal and casual. Second, if it’s been a long time since you’ve touched based, I think sending them a message instead of calling gives them some time to get back to you–rather than being surprised by a call out of nowhere. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a call, but I rather send a message first.
You can use Linkedin instead of or in addition to Facebook if you’re initial efforts are unsuccessful, however, I prefer using Facebook because Linkedin revolves around business and professional connections. You don’t want your old friends to feel like you’re connecting with them because of work or your business.
Connect with them to rekindle your friendship. Find out what’s happened after all the years on a personal level. The topic of your work lives will come up naturally–don’t rush it. By doing this, you regain a good friend and someone who can help your business rather than just a professional, business contact.
When you begin to discuss your work lives, place the focus on your friends first. Ask about what they’re doing and think about how you could help them professionally. Your friends will eventually ask you about what you’ve been doing. Tell them about your business. After hearing what you do, some of your friends might mention they are interested or that they have some good contacts to refer to you–even without you asking. The latter has happened to me a handful of times, and one of these referrals lead to closing my 4th highest paying SEO client.
If no one proactively offers to introduce you to any professional contacts or refer others to your company, find a good time to mention that if they know anyone who might be interested in your SEO services and they could refer them to you, it would be appreciated. 100% of the time, your friends will say something in line with, “Yes, for sure. I’ll keep you in mind.”
When your friend says this, take it one step further depending on your relationship and comfort level. You already have your friend saying “yes” to referring potential leads to you, so consider asking them if they would do you a favor and post about your company and services to their Facebook and Linkedin feeds. Some people may be too shy or feel uncomfortable to ask, but this is an excellent way to make one connection turn into some immediate referrals. Your friend’s endorsement of your services to his or her friends is far more effective than standard online advertising.
As a final tip, consider spreading out your interactions over the course of a few days, or even weeks, before talking about business. It’s been a long time since you’ve talked to your childhood friends, so it might be a good idea to focus on rekindling your personal relationship for a while. Eventually, you can speak of business.
Tapping your old friends for SEO leads works. Some of your friends will be interested in your services while others will connect you with interested prospects.
Give this a try if you haven’t already or if it’s been a while, and let me know how it goes in the comments below!