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Taking on the Monster: The Intern and the 9,000 Agency Contact List

Molly Schmidt | December 13, 2016

Hi there, I’m Molly. Your friendly Page One Power college intern. Nice to meet you.

A bit about myself: I am a full time Graphic Design student, part time P1P cheerleader, and learning enthusiast. Before coming to Page One, I didn’t know what SEO was or had ever heard of link building. I’m not an expert now, but I would say I know a little more about SEO than the average human being.

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The truth is, I’ve learned a lot since starting here; although not link building (they don’t trust me with the heavy machinery). In fact,  I have been to at least 9,000 websites without, fortunately, becoming cross-eyed forever. Let me explain.

The Project:

I was originally hired as an intern at P1P because, I believe, everyone thought they would gain a coffee runner (to their dismay, I’m not). More importantly, I was hired due to the overflowing database of over 9,000 contacts that haven’t been reached out to in some time.

That’s 9,000 contacts that have subscribed, attended an event, or filled out a contact form of some sort on Page One Power’s website. 9,000 people who have gone dormant, for one reason or another.

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With new services being released and promoted, as well as launching a program to touch base with contacts more frequently, who better than the college intern to take on the task?!

Yup, that’s me: let’s just casually sit down at our desk and start going through 9,000 contacts *gulp*. I don’t think I’ve ever realized the actual quantity of 9,000 before I started this project. But trust me, it’s a lot, it’s intimidating, and it could possibly be a danger to your mental health. Just kidding. Sort of.

Where to start?

Well, to begin, I needed to filter down these contacts to only digital marketing agencies that would be interested in our new white label service, and also appear to be a good potential partner.

Let’s break this down a little further; here is what I was specifically looking for:

  • Agencies listing SEO or link building capabilities; we wanted like-minded partners.
  • Mid-to-large scale agencies that might have clients we could help.
  • Agencies that present a similar attitude as Page One Power: a can-do attitude and pride in their work.

This means I scrolled past contacts such as:

  • One man consultancies: our new service is tailored specifically for agencies with multiple clients!
  • Non-English audiences: we like to stick to what we know!
  • Junk websites that just end up giving viruses to your computer: no thank you!

With these guidelines, I know what I want to be looking for in the contacts. I was searching for  agencies with SEO capabilities, on a mid-to-large scale, while skipping over the smaller, non-English speaking audiences. I then inputted the agencies we were interested in contacting into a large email campaign to inform them of our new service (as non-intrusively as possible), liven up our relationship, and say hello!

The Process:

Now that I’ve explained my checklist, I’ll walk you through the process I used to analyze websites.

Now, I’m no website mind reader or inspecting wizard, but there are common signs of a good business partner! So, here is my process to determine if an agency might be the one.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • We all have those junk or dead end contacts in our lives that we just don’t need anymore. First, let’s eliminate any that don’t match the requirements right away. These include any that aren’t associated with a real website or are obviously not an agency site.
  • Now, let’s get to the website. As eye-catching as some websites may be, don’t let these fool you. I want to check off all points before giving the okay.
    • On the home page, let’s look for a summary or brief overview of the agency. Here, I can get a feel for the agency. My ears would perk up if SEO services are listed or if it’s a mid-to-large scale agency. If not, cross the contact off—not for me!
    • If the website is on the right track, the next step is to look for any obvious boasts about brands the agency partners with. Agencies are proud of the people they work with, and most will have a sample of their work—a good sign!
    • Now, for this project, we wanted to work with agencies that have SEO within their services. We are looking for agencies offering SEO who might need help with link building for their clients. Looking at pages like “Services”, “Case Studies”, or “Capabilities” will lead me in the right direction to find out what this agency can do. Can’t find these pages? If these aren’t available, head over to LinkedIn or Facebook. However, use caution when using social media as a source of finding these pages. Although social media may let us know if the services we want are available, it is a sign that the company might not be up to quality standards since there is not enough information on their website in the first place.
    • Lastly, to round it all off, I head to the “About” section to review the agency one last time. Again, this page might be found on a social media link. Here, I want to make sure this agency is one that we would like to partner with. We want to ask pertinent questions.
      • Do they care about their customers?
      • Do they care about content?
      • What’s their end goal?
      • Is this a good agency to potentially partner with?
    • Even though at the end of the day it’s all business, this is a potential partnership and we want to be sure they share our beliefs and values.
  • If it checks off all the boxes, then we want to add them to our list to reach out. If we like you, we want to work with you!

That’s it!

Now, as I mentioned before, I don’t have an exact algorithm to find the perfect agency, but these steps helped me find contacts that Page One Power could partner with; agencies that might be just too good to pass up!

Getting back in touch with old contacts is a good way to reuse contact lists or databases, thus not having to pay for any new lists! Win-win!

The Takeaways

After this project, I have some takeaways as to how to analytically and critically approach websites.

Sometimes it’s hard to find whether or not a website is bogus or legit. Here are some criteria that help when looking for good contacts, searching through a website, or even looking at your own website.

Have a specific goal in your analysis.

It’s important to really know who you’re looking for: a Digital Marketing Agency? An SEO Company? A guy selling hot dogs from his food truck?

If they are a solid contact, they should let you know who and what they are right away on their website. Plus, no one likes to have to spend a lot of time digging around a website, and you’ll be able to find a pattern as to where to find the information you’re looking for on any website.

Be efficient.

You want to be thorough in your search, but not waste time.

If the site doesn’t match the criteria of a contact, move on! To review, my criteria was agencies including SEO or link building capabilities, fairly mid-to-large size, and agencies that we would want to work with.

I find it appalling how many websites exist without  “About” or “Service” pages. This should raise red flags if you have to go find these pages on their social media. Either the agency is too preoccupied to update their website or it might not be the quality of agency you are looking for.

Finally, maintain your contacts.

This whole project began with contacts that needed a breath of new life in our marketing cycle.

Just like the contacts in your phone, without maintenance, it can get pretty full and confusing which Bob, Bob, and Bob is which. Keeping on top of your contacts will not only avoid confusion, but save you time in the long run.

Plus, finding those hidden gems will be worth the time and effort if it gets results!

Personal Piece:

9,000 contacts and a pair of glasses later, I have successfully reached the end of that monster of a list.

My advice to anyone with a similar task would be to have patience, a critical eye, and not spend too much time on a certain contact.

Lingering is your enemy with a case like this, and it can make your head spin if you have to spend more than a couple of minutes on a single website! Also, create goals for yourself. Figure out how many contacts you can do in a day, but make sure to leave some wiggle room. Don’t want the intern going down after exerting so much energy on a list of contacts!

I can say for certain, although I probably would not want to tackle another list of this size again, this project has shown me how to be critical of websites, and not be distracted by the flashiness a certain website might have. Plus, being a graphic design student, it’s great exposure to how a good website is built, ideas of layout and displays, as well as integrating such character into a website.

All of this analysis will allow me to be increasingly critical and creative when thinking about websites!

The cherry on top, numbers are being reported back to me—all my hard time, effort, and near blindness has amounted to interactions with these agencies. Will it be all of the contacts? Well, no. Just like every first date might not amount to anything, contacts are similar. However, it’s important not to let this get you down. Look on the bright side that some of these people do have an interest in working with us.

Was it Worth the Effort?

The end result was 450 contacts that were worth reaching out to in the end. Yes, this number is miniscule in comparison to the precisely 9,474 contacts I reviewed, but we knew from the beginning that the end result might not be too large.

The fact of the matter is that 450 new qualified leads is quite respectful. These are prospects that have shown interest in our services in the past that have been hand-qualified to meet the new criteria of our offering. There’s significant opportunity in those 450 contacts.

Regardless of numbers, the only true important ones are those that become customers. As long as we keep bringing in customers and making them happy, I’ve done my job!

At the end of the day, each of these new partnerships from this effort wouldn’t have existed without my careful work.

Outtro:

So, it’s time for me to get back to work now—coffee won’t go and get itself! Plus, I have more projects on my docket that need an intern to tackle full-on.

Until next time, I’ll be busy working on other fun projects here at P1P and might even get to report more back to you in the future!

Strategy

About The Author

Molly Schmidt

Molly Schmidt is Page One Power's College Intern. Molly is attending Boise State University, studying Graphic Design. Outside of interning and running to class, she's probably writing, testing her photography skills, or drinking tea.

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