I recently recorded a video on search engine optimisation and my thoughts on using it. Take a look at the video and also my Business Growth YouTube channel, where there are many more videos are like this.
Hi there, my name is Michael Stewart and I’m not Tom Volpe. What does that mean? Why Am I saying that? Well you might not know the story you might have been there, you might not. But last week at the North-east expo at Newcastle falcons, I was asked to step in at the last minute to do a session on search engine optimisation.
Unfortunately, the guy who was going to be doing it Tom Volpe, wasn’t able to make the session and so the organisers asked me as I was about and not doing anything, whether I could step into his shoes and do a quick seminar presentation on search engine optimisation.
Now I’m not a search engine optimisation expert, my name is Michael Stewart I’m a business growth and marketing specialist that means I help businesses by sitting on their side of the table helping them to grow and get marketing communications that will help them to get a bigger and better business.
So, search engine optimisation is certainly one of the tactics that I think is crucial for a lot of businesses. Now its important that you recognise that I said there a lot of businesses, not all businesses.
So I didn’t know the content of what Tom was going to talk about so I took the opportunity to give my perspective on what search engine optimisation is and I’m going to give you a very quick summary here, it’s only going to be a few minutes long, remember I was talking for 30 minutes at the north east expo but I hope some of these points will be useful for you and if you want me to expand on them or want me to talk about how search engine optimisation might fit into your business by all means get in touch.
Okay so, search engine optimisation the first thing to understand about that is search engine optimisation along with a number of other things you can do in your business is a marketing tactic. It’s something you can do to create demand in your business.
It’s the same as email marketing, it’s the same as advertising on the back of a bus, it’s the same as TV advertising or doing social media.
These are all tactics and channels you could employ to build you businesses and get your message out in front of customers. But here’s a few things you need to consider before you can make the decision that search engine optimisation is for you.
I want you to think and make sure you’ve answered some strategic questions before you start answering the question on whether something is the right tactic for you to employ.
So, the first question you need to get to the bottom of is what are your business objectives? Now lots of people say I want to grow my business, yes but we need to know by how much?
If your business was half a million pounds let’s say and you want to grow to six hundred thousand, you would think that marketing has to grow your business by one hundred thousand pounds’ worth of customers, well that might not actually be true.
It may be by growing your existing customer base they are going to deliver you five hundred and fifty thousand pounds anyway, that means what the marketing gap and marketing has to deliver is only fifty thousand.
What’s important now is that you understand how many customers that is and what the pipeline and conversion of that looks like.
So, if you need £50,000 worth of sales, is that one customer that spends £50,000 or 50 customers that spend £1000?
I don’t know what the dynamics of your business are, but you should know. You should know what your average customer spend is on an annual basis. Which will give you an idea on how many customers you need.
What you should also know is what your conversion rate is. So how many proposals convert into how many pieces of business won. How many meetings do you need to do to get so many opportunities to quote? To get so many pieces of business.
The third element of that is how many enquiries do you need to get? How many meetings to get so you get so many proposals to get so many pieces of business? And maybe then how many visitors do you need to go to your website to create so many enquiries, to create so many meetings, to create so many proposals and finally to create so many pieces of business?
That’s about understanding what the dynamics of your business are, and what your business objectives are. So that is crucial that’s question number one.
Question number two is what does a good customer look like to you? Define if you could only choose one customer the best customer you could possibly have, what would they look like?
Tell me where they live, tell me what kind of business or person they are. Give me all the information about what a good customer looks like.
Because its crucial you talk to the right people. Because if you don’t talk to the right people what chance have you to get them covert and buy your product?
Because you should have designed that product to suit a certain person and that’s the kind of person we need to be speaking to.
So, we need to understand and define that. So, if you don’t have that very tightly defined, that’s a piece of work you need to do.
The third question is why are you different and better? Lots of people will tell you when you talk to them is why they are the same as your business.
It’s not about why you are the same as your competitive business it’s about why you are different. Because people will finally make the decision whether to buy from you or from them by what makes you different.
It could be a difference in your product or your service or the difference on how you supply the product to them. But that difference is the criteria that they make the decision.
So, you need to understand why you’re different from your competition and more crucially the benefit of what that difference is.
So, if you don’t have that defined already, you’re probably sat in front of people or in the marketing materials you’re doing, you’re probably saying the wrong things. So, think back we have already talked about talking to the right people now we are on about saying the right things.
Okay so if you imagine no wonder your marketing doesn’t work if you are saying the wrong things to the wrong people. Nobodies marketing is going to work under those sorts of circumstances. But what has this got to do with search engine optimisation?
That’s a big question absolutely, well when we know who we need to be talking to and we know what we need to say, then we can look at our array of marketing tactics and make a decision on whether to go about the best way to get that message in front on those people is search engine optimisation, advertising on the back of buses, doing email marketing any number of things that you could do.
So, with a business objective and an audience and with an understanding why you’re different and better, you’re in a position then to sit down and talk to someone about search engine optimisation and give them a really clear brief.
Remember we have talked about how much business you need to win, £50,000 for example, you’ll have defined whether that is ten customers or a hundred customers or whatever number it is. That’s the brief we want to give your search engine optimisation expert.
Now we come onto the next part about search engine optimisation and my belief on how you should be using it. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t do DIY dentistry, I go to the dentist and I’m sure you do the same.
Search engine optimisation is like dentistry. I wouldn’t try doing it myself, not in any serious way. If it is a tactic that can deliver you lots of business value, then hand it over to an expert.
Now experts range from a one-man band sat at home and right up to an agency that could have 150-200 people. But beware there are hundreds and thousands of people in search engine optimisation space who do not know what they are doing and certainly don’t know how search engine optimisation fits into the bigger picture.
The great news though is you do. Because you know it’s about them understanding your business objectives and your target audience and then being able to define then for you what your opportunity is.
If the agency or expert you talk to doesn’t talk to you in those terms and start to quantify those opportunities for you, and what you will get in terms of a return of an investment on search engine optimisation then I would walk away from them.
So that’s my number one tip. Get yourself an expert, it is like dentistry, don’t do it yourself.
Remember now they’re a massive range of people. Large agencies are going to charge a lot of money for search engine optimisation but it might be the right solution for you and the size of business you are and the size and volume of customers you need to drive to your website.
The other end of that scale is a one-man band doing search engine optimisation. But I recommend to you that you only talk to that small agency if it’s got someone that understands to have a proper strategic conversation with you about where search engine optimisation fits into the business and the bigger picture.
Once you sit down and have that conversation and I would recommend you have a conversation with three or four or five of them until till such time you’ve got three that are really understanding about what your business is about.
Then you in the position to ask them about a proper proposal and about what the opportunity is and how they can help you. Then it’s a case of choosing one of them and starting to work with them.
I would suggest that you work with them to work with them for 3 months and then you set a review on that 3 months and you start to make a decision whether this is working for you and its starting to deliver for you.
I know it’s not going to optimised completely so its marathon rather than a sprint for search engine optimisation but equally you can’t keep on pouring good money after bad.
You need to know that we at least making progress and they should be able to demonstrate that to you. If you’re not comfortable and confident that you are getting a return on that investment and what they are telling you is correct, then you need to think about walking away from that.
The third element I want to talk to you about with search engine optimisation is that it’s about creating great content. When we say great content, I just want you think about one thing when talking about great content.
The content you create when you’re doing blogs or vlogs or whatever it may be is, your website with great news etc. I want you to put yourself in the shoes of your visitors. Those great customers you want to attract.
What you want to be thinking is what questions have they got in their heads and there are websites that can help you with that. Go and have a look at askthepublic.com.
You can put in any search term there and it can give you some suggestions of the questions that people are asking, that are search related. Remember it’s about creating content for answering those questions for those people. If you do that, you’ll be creating juicy content that search engines will recognise is very valuable for you.
There are all the technical elements of search engine optimisation but I won’t go into that because that’s what your expert suppliers will be able to help you with and should deliver for you.
But equally they should be talking to you about content you need to be creating, the terms you can win on which will drive you the traffic you need and you can start to pull together a search engine optimisation strategy and get some real value that can be a very powerful channel for some people.
It’s not for everyone. You need to make a decision the money you invest is wisely invested.
So, I hope that’s been useful for you and I hope you understood why we need to answer those strategic questions which is important for all your marketing.
I hope that’s useful in how I view search engine optimisation and what the role of it is in businesses like yours.
If I can help you with anything else don’t hesitate to get in contact with me, my contact details are in the notes below this video.
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