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Put Your Competitors to Work for You . . . and you don't even have to be that sneaky about it.

By Linda Formichelli

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You may think your competitors are lower than the slime on acatfish's belly and good for nothing except taking bread out ofyour family's mouth. But believe it or not, they can actuallyhelp you bring home the bacon, rake in the dough and earn somelettuce-resulting in one yummy, profitable sandwich for yourhomebased business. Here's how:

  • Plug your fiercest competitor's URL into LinkPopularity.com to see what sites are linking toit. Say you create handcrafted candles, for example. Type the URLof your competitor, Carriage Candles, into LinkPopularity.com, andyou'll see about 100 sites that link to this URL, including"Corner Creations Crafts," "Resources for theHobbyist and Small-Business Owner," and "Morgan Mailboxesand More Craft Links." If these sites link to your competitor,chances are, they'll link to you, too.

The e-mail in which you ask for a link is much like a salesletter-you must state your case and direct all your powers ofpersuasion into prose so tight, not even light can escape it.Address the e-mail to a particular person if possible, brieflydescribe your site, and suggest a particular page within their sitewhere your link could go.

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