Little tips and tidbits of information exist scattered around our digital world that can dramatically help increase our marketing efforts and outreach to clients. Some people look for these hidden gems, others find them by accident, but either way one thing is for certain: They are EXTREMELY valuable.
Those with enough experience and selflessness will aid in the evolution of business and share their secrets. Most of the industry though guards their marketing dossier like a junkyard rottweiler. I don’t think its right to withhold information that can potentially help thousands of people, but I’m no fan of throwing the intricacies of my business on the table either. With that being said, I believe knowledge belongs to the world – and I’ve built my business around sharing it with you.
I sincerely apologize to the world of hush-mouth marketing for my following statements.
#1 – Throwing Money at Traffic Wont Get You Clients
I had a car dealership as a client back in my SEO days that was adamant about ranking for the keyword “Cars”. I repeatedly told him that the keyword he had chosen was just about the worst keyword he could have chosen. He insisted that it got the most traffic, so that was what he wanted to rank for.
Against my better judgement, I stuck with him and decided to optimize his site and link campaign to rank for that site.
It took months of SEO work to even pop up in the results, but as promised, I delivered the ranking he wanted. About a month later I got a nasty email letting me know that I had not done my job because his business was actually worse then it was when I started.
I decided not to explain to him that any business that’s run by ignoring professional advice from experts in their field is enough to do that, but instead I thanked him for his business, and we went our separate ways.
I’ve talked to many many clients that have been “burned” by bad SEO or marketing firms that were hired by the business owner to bring in traffic. The marketing firm does its job and gets the website traffic, but the traffic doesn’t respond at all so all that money goes to waste because it didn’t amount to any revenue.
SEO and marketing firms like to advertise big numbers when it comes to traffic. They like to tell you that they’ve picked keywords that get THOUSANDS of searches a month, and that your site will be flooded with visitors.
The main problem though is that people associate customers and clients with traffic. They aren’t even remotely close to the same thing.
The big guys focus on telling you how much traffic they can get you, because its easy for them to do. They don’t tell you that most of the traffic will be useless because they were to lazy to do the research.
See, some keywords are what I like to call “Purchase-ready keywords” or PRK’s for short. Those are the keywords that people search with their credit card out ready to spend some money. Most of the time, people that search those phrases are actively looking for a solution or simply looking to buy something.
Had the dealership went with something more specific like “Buy Honda Civic Los Angeles” (he sold Hondas) at the time, he probably would have gotten a lot more business. See the difference between that keyword and “Cars” is that the person searching for something specific knows what they want and are ultimately more likely to buy. A person searching for something general is probably not looking to buy at all, and could be looking for anything at all loosely related to your business.
So is it actually the SEO and marketing guy’s fault? Kind of. The buyer or business owner should know that traffic doesn’t do any good if its not relevant or your website doesn’t get them to buy or call. At the same time though, the marketing guy should research these things and aim to help with the business as a whole, not just throw some stuff out there that may or may not work because they are getting paid.
Bottom Line: You need TARGETED and RELEVANT traffic. You should also target PRK’s.
#2 – SEO and PPC Are Not Competitors
I spoke with a client the other day that had been using SEO (search engine optimization) as his main strategy to acquire traffic. He’d told me that the company he was working with picked 5 keywords and that they had been trying to rank his site for a couple of months. After speaking with him for a few minutes it was clear that he was being led astray by another marketing or SEO company, that 1) Didn’t have a clue how to do research and 2) Didn’t understand marketing. Inefficiency and value inflation is something I don’t stand for.
I offered the suggestion that he do some research into PPC (Pal Per Click) and that if his website converted visitors to clients at a decent rate he would get a good return on his investment.
PPC is a lot faster then SEO, and you can start ranking immediately for your keyword choice, so since he wasn’t getting anywhere with his SEO company, it sounded like a good choice.
Apparently he though what I meant was drop SEO all together and join a PPC campaign, so he went and completely removed everything the SEO company did.
Bad move. PPC and SEO should be used together, not separately. When optimizing for keywords, it can help organic ranking. PPC is an effective add-on for anything you’re already doing SEO-wise. Once you get a decent conversion from visitors to customers or clients, PPC takes it to the next level. At that point you are essentially putting 1$ in the top, and watching x$ (depending on your business) come out the bottom.
Bottom Line: Use them both to their full effectiveness and let them compliment each others strengths.
#3 – It’s All About Conversion
Back in my game design and programming days, I had written a program that allowed game developers to easily import their 3d models and textures into a game engine without having to code anything. I initially built the application for myself, but since it was so useful, i decided to sell it online.
Initial sales were good, and I was happy people were buying, so I left the site alone for almost 3 years. It had been selling consistently about 1 or 2 products a week for all of that time via organic and referral traffic without me touching it.
3 years is a LONG time, and I learned a ton of stuff about marketing and conversion. I was bored one day, so I finally sat down and decided to start tweaking the text on the site with some of my new found skills.
To my MAJOR surprise I saw a 500% increase in sales just by the little text, bullet point, and headline changes.
That’s when something that I had known for a while finally popped back into my head and slapped me in the face.
SEO, PPC, link building, and partner and referral links are all great ways to gain targeted traffic, but they don’t do anything for you if your website doesn’t get them to buy or take action. The website text, or copy as its called in the industry, is VITAL to gaining customers or clients. Unfortunately, its also the most neglected part of the marketing process.
Way to many business owners think they need SEO or PPC when their website doesn’t convert properly from the beginning.
Bottom line: Sometimes you can double your customers with half the traffic. its all about converting visitors to customers to clients.
Don’t fall victim to your lack of knowledge or the SEO and marketing firm’s hype and fluff. Ask a ton of questions when hiring someone to market your product or service online. If you’re doing it yourself, keep this information in mind, *ESPECIALLY* conversion.
So what about you? What’s a secret that you’ve discovered about marketing to the masses?