WHAT YOU'LL LEARN FROM READING THIS POST
- Why SEO isn't the magic solution it's often presented as
- Why building a strong multichannel marketing plan is more obvious than you might think
- How to scale your business if you're a service provider without hiring staff
- Questions to ask yourself if you're in the same position as Kandace
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Once upon a time (okay, yesterday), I jumped on an SEO Discovery Call with an event planner named Kandace (name has been changed) out of the Washington, DC area. This go-getter knew her stuff about business, and she was fairly well-informed about industry-specific outlets for acquiring customers online.
The week before, Kandace had filled out the contact form on my website inquiring about SEO services. She mentioned that she had a plan for SEO, she wanted to run it by me, and that she just needed help executing it.
So, I did what I do with every Discovery Call. I creeped hard on her digital presence. All of it.
DIVING DEEP INTO RESEARCH
[Friends, Discovery Calls are free but I put the work in ahead of time to make sure we're both making the best use of each other's time. The client has to be as good of a fit for me as much as I have to be a good fit for them.]
Guess what? Her digital presence isn't ready for SEO and I'm not going to sell it to her.
AM I CRAZY?
Why would I turn her down? Give the people what they want, right?
No, I don't play that game because it's irresponsible and scheisty, and because I can easily help bring her digital presence up to speed FIRST before moving on to SEO, but I won't put the cart before the horse even if it means making more money.
Companies whose digital presence isn't set up to funnel customers through the buying process aren't going to see a big ROI from SEO. Here's why, Google can send you all the traffic it wants, but if your digital presence doesn't meet potential customers where they are in the buying process and present value, opportunities, and calls to action appropriately, conversion is going to be low or nonexistent.
If you're asking yourself how much you're losing because your digital presence is not set up properly, you're my kinda people and you're right on track with this post.
A WORD OF CAUTION
I wish I had started counting when I began noticing the trend. It's sad, actually. I can't tell you how many people have mentioned to me that they paid for SEO, but they weren't really sure what the company did to optimize their site and they haven't seen results from it. SEO is so often presented as "the magic solution."
There are companies preying on the fact that you've been told SEO will do the trick but that you don't really know what questions to ask or results to expect.
WHY IS SEO SO EXPENSIVE?
Let's call it what it is, SEO isn't cheap. But there's a reason why it isn't cheap. It works if a company's digital presence has the right foundation to convert leads. The two go hand in hand.
Additionally, SEO is a long-term strategy. It's not going to produce results right away. In fact, sometimes SEO results don't manifest until 3-6 months after implementation.
SEO isn't cheap because it takes someone who understands consumer habits AND the technical side of optimizing. It takes someone who knows what metrics to gauge and how to glean trends based on those metrics.
On top of that, it takes a great deal of time to evaluate the many factors that go into a site's SEO (there are over 200 components that feed into the Google algorithm!) and then implement. Like I said, SEO is not a quick fix, but it is being sold as one.
LET'S GET TO THE EMAIL
Can I be transparent? I don't think the things I list in the email below are going to surprise you. Why? They're things you likely already know you should do in your business, but you've been undervaluing their importance and in doing so, you've been missing out on potential leads. Missing out on potential leads means leaving money on the table.
I've clarified a couple of things in the email below so that it makes sense to readers who weren't in on the initial Discovery Call, but otherwise this is the email I sent her right after our call verbatim.
It lists what I would do if I were in her shoes, whether we move forward working together or not.
I'm going to share the email with you, and then in the following section of this blog post, I'm going to expand on what you should be considering for your business to make sense of this information.
Thanks for taking time this morning to talk with me about your business. We covered a lot of information, so I want to recap below and start the conversation about systemizing your digital marketing efforts as a jumping off point for positive momentum in your business and how we can then incorporate the basics of SEO into marketing efforts. I believe in what you're doing and really appreciate your time, so I left you a little golden nugget at the bottom of this email [regarding scaling your business].
- Definitely look into Google Search Console- It's going to be a gold mine for understanding what keywords are already driving organic traffic to your website. If you'd like, we can jump on a screen share and walk through this crucial foundational step together so we can cut down on any confusion you may be feeling diving into it.
- Consider what value driven concepts you could blog about. From talking to you, it's safe to say you know who your target market is. What pains are they feeling? What do they find confusing or challenging about your industry? Tapping into the keyword they're typing into search engines is going to position your posts as a resource for Google to send traffic to. Be strategic about it. Being a resource for those challenges with your expertise through content is going to connect you organically with your audience and position you as the expert. Don't be afraid to "show your cards!" The more you show your cards, the better. And you already know people who are looking to learn from you so they can do it themselves are not your target market at this point. Don't get caught up in that. You're looking for people who are willing to pay to have the best do it...that's how you get away from having to compete on price and begin charging what you're worth. But people don't know what you're worth unless you tell them by providing value. That's exactly what I'm doing with you right now. I'm "showing my cards" and I'm providing value.
- Remember, marketing efforts compound over time. I've seen a blog post a client wrote five years ago continue to be the #1 driver of traffic to their site. How cool is that? Blog posts have staying power, and once you create them, you can leverage them across all marketing channels (for example, use an excerpt for your social media content, drive traffic to your website through emails, post to GMB, etc.). Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. Write a blog, send an email, take an excerpt for social media and GMB posts, jump on a live video (then put that live video back into the blog because Google LOVES video), post it to Pinterest, etc.
- Speaking of emails - Given that it's easiest and least expensive to sell to customers who have already bought from you, you can re-market to 1) customers you fought so hard to acquire in the first place and 2) keep fostering the relationship by delivering value. If you aren't leveraging email, you're leaving money on the table. Given that once you plan someone's wedding, you could also plan their baby shower, and their dad's retirement party, and their company's Christmas party, and so on, there's no reason you shouldn't be continuing to tap into that market. I hear your reasons for not wanting to dive into email, but in my research from every corner of the Internet, reading tons of books on business and marketing, and hearing what's working for people who are running successful businesses the way we entrepreneurs want to, I feel strongly that email should be the cornerstone of every small business. ...it's free!! [at least to a small company just getting started] and it has the highest conversion rates of any marketing channel besides paid ads. When we shift our approach from thinking we're spamming people to understanding that it's a channel to deliver value to our precious customers, email takes on a different purpose.
- During our conversation, you touched on frustrations with Instagram. Are you treating Instagram connections like you would your friends? Are your posts approachable? Are you following, engaging with (messaging, commenting, sharing content from), and loving on people aligned with your buyer personas? Engagement is the way to grow your following and cultivate a following of people who are likely to buy from you. Hashtags are the avenue to find those people. Again, it takes time, but there is no easy way around it.
These are my thoughts based on our conversation. Whether we move forward working together or not, creating a strong multichannel marketing program in your business is going to be the best route for 1) setting the stage to drive organic traffic, 2) KEEPING valuable customers, and 3) expanding your digital presence online.
I'm attaching a [Buyer Persona Template] resource from my Printables and Guides tab on my website. If you aren't intimately familiar with your buyer personas, take the time to do so. That will help you 1) use keywords you find from GSC and speak to their pains/wants/needs/challenges. I also have a few other resources you may find helpful here: https://simplyintegratedllc.com/collections/all
One more thought - Wouldn't it be awesome if you could work less and make more? Don't worry, this isn't a sales pitch because there's nothing I can do for you here. It's really hard to do that as service providers because we have to work IN our businesses to make money. If we're not working, our business isn't driving revenue. We trade time for money. Consider how you can use your brain to deliver results people are looking for.
Eventually, you could scale your business by teaching those people who want to do it themselves (we've talked about them several times, those people are not your target market right now but they could be in the future) by compiling your tips, tricks, and planning secrets into a product that you could sell. Maybe they're not willing to pay you $4000 to engage your services, but they are willing to pay you $399 to learn how to do it well so they can do it themselves.
Those people aren't your target market right now, but if you ever change up your business model so you can scale your business, they might become your target market in the future. Plus, you get to create the course once, improve it over time, and resell it over and over and over.
And guess what, you get to make money while you sleep. If you already have this expertise, why not repurpose it and add another revenue stream? Then, your courses become maybe 20% of your revenue, and your services become 80%, freeing up your hands to do other things. But because you've proved yourself, you can then raise your prices.
Just planting the seed for you to consider because I know how harrrrrrrd it is to have to be tied intimately to the revenue generation part of the business. Keep this in the back of your mind. :)
I'm really look forward to hearing your thoughts. Please send them my way at your earliest convenience. Cheers, Kandace!
PS - I practice what I preach. Because I've spent time talking with you about how to drive success in your business and because I've outlined the steps for success, I'm going to add this information to a blog post to show people how I can deliver value to their businesses too.
Why wouldn't I repurpose in this fashion? Then I'm going to take snippets and add it to my content calendar. Opportunity is everywhere if we reframe our approach.
[end of email]
So let's break it down.
At this point, you should be asking yourself the following:
- Do I have a system in place to usher potential customers through the buyer journey? Examples would be calls to action on your website, email signature, social media outlets, GMB posts; email opt in, lead magnet, welcome automation, blog posts that deliver information for new leads just learning about you and others who are closer to the purchase decision (and speak well to search engines).
- Is my content meeting the lead where they are in the buying process? Does it answer how my product or service meets their needs without being salesy?
- Have I learned basic principles of on-page SEO so I can implement those basics across my multichannel marketing program?
- Do I know my Buyer Personas insanely well? More than just age, gender, geographic location, and income. Do I know where they hang out online? What kind of spending power they have? What their needs, challenges, and dreams are? The DIFFERENT buyer personas who represent my varying clients? What topics of interest I should write about to target those different buyer personas, etc.?
- Where are customers who do NOT buy from me drop off on my website?
- Am I being consistent?
How do the answers to these questions sit with you? Are you overwhelmed? Most people are because they assume it's as easy as just posting to social media and calling it a day. Or they assume SEO is a magic pill that's going to cure all marketing woes. Woooooof. It doesn't work like that.
Investing time up front to lay a good foundation for marketing, designing processes that save you time, and learning from people who are already doing it successfully is one of the best investments you can make with your time.
Want it more straight forward? Do this and let me know what questions you have:
- Get right with Google Search Console (and anything Google-related, really).
- Develop a multichannel approach based on channels that are most appropriate for your industry, business, product or service, and target market.
- Be consistent! Post regularly, send emails regularly, make it a habit and execute it.
- Focus on positive impact over growing numbers.
- Nail down keywords and sprinkle them in every piece of content and communication you create.
- Know your ideal customers really well and that "everyone" is not your ideal customer. Thinking so is the best way to throw money away. You should be able to spot them when you're online and in public.
- Just be a good human.
WANT MORE BUSINESS AND MARKETING TIPS LIKE THESE?
ACTIONABLE BUSINESS AND MARKETING TAKEAWAYS
My goal in every post is to make the most of your precious time and pack these articles with insanely actionable content. Have I done that for you today? I'd love to hear your feedback. Contact me or comment below with something new you learned.
And please do me a little favor and share this post with one other person because there's a good chance it will help them with their business.
Your business matters. Now go do something awesome in the world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, FRANCIE
For proper introductions, I'm Francie. I started my business, Simply Integrated, in 2015 and have fallen madly in love with teaching small business owners how to run their companies more successfully and marketing to impact bottom line profitability.
My knowledge and experience comes from earning an MBA and from coaching small business entrepreneurs while managing and marketing their projects. I focus solely on business strategy and marketing and created this blog to help others run more successful businesses. If you’re interested, you can read more about me on the About page of Simply Integrated’s website.
WE WANT TO DESIGN YOUR COMPANY'S MARKETING STRATEGY
If it turns out we’re a good fit to work together, I’d love to help drive customers to your business and positively impact your bottom line. Get in touch for a free consultation. To get in touch, use this contact form, email us at hello@SimplyIntegratedLLC.com, or call/text us at 309-431-2266.
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