Digital Marketing tips and resources, covering best ways to connect with current and prospective customers on channels such as search engines, social media, email, podcasts, video and more.

SEO Stats 2020

What is SEO and Why Do I Need It?

Your new website or re-design looks fantastic. Terrific! Now what? You want visitors (your ideal customers) to notice it, come visit and see you’re their best choice for whatever product or service they’re looking for.  

But here’s the truth – the notion of “if you build it, they will come” only happens in fantasies.

You can write all the best copywriting and blog content, but if no one can find it, you’re missing the keys to truly shining online and growing your business.

This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play.

What is SEO?

SEO is optimizing your website so that it can be found in the top results (meaning the first page) on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.  Example, you’re looking for a plumber near you. You type “plumber near me” or “plumber Marin County”. Then search engines query millions of sites to find the relevant results for your search. For your site to organically display on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), it needs to be highly optimized using a variety of SEO strategies.

Most people searching online do not click past the first page of results.  So the value of having your site show up there is obvious. If you show up high in search query results, you’ll get more customers, which equals more revenue and gives you a competitive advantage.

Honestly, I’ve never seen a business that didn’t increase sales when they began ranking for search terms relevant to their business. Ultimately, without SEO you’re leaving money on the table, no matter the size of your business. 

How Our Search Engine Optimization Works

We use existing SEO & SEM (search engine marketing) opportunities, along with social and other strategies, to help attract prospects and increase your website’s search engine rankings.

As part of any SEO campaign, we perform extensive site and keyword analysis and develop buyer personas and targeting parameters specific to your industry.  This research helps determine where your site is working and where it has gaps.

We use a variety of techniques, from on-page solutions to content to Google Business Listings and advertising strategies to make sure your marketing strategy is performing at its best.

SEO could arguably be the most important tool you have in your toolbox.  It’s a slow burning log that benefits you exponentially. But it requires a dedicated plan and consistent execution.

Important note: Think of Your Customers First

 Although SEO includes a content strategy based on key search terms, you must think of your customers first. What problem are you solving for them? What language do they use? If you’re adding content to your blog, make it meaningful and useful – not a 400-word article stuffed with keywords that no customer of yours would ever want to read.

Think instead of offering something of value, something your visitors will instantly see as personally beneficial to them.  What you have to offer and who you are is important, so stay true to yourself and your customers!

Quick Action Item You Can Do Today

On that note of offering value, I always like to leave my readers with at least one tip or action they can easily do on their own.  Today, I encourage you, if you haven’t already done so, to set up your free Google Business Listing.

Here you can claim your company’s profile and flesh it out by adding pictures (i.e. your office, you and your team, your products), keywords that people might use to find your business, customers testimonials, hours, location, set up a consult/appointment, etc.  

Just this one act will have you on the top of a branded Google search in the upper right hand of the first page. This is extremely valuable real estate!  Plus, this one thing usually attracts an additional 200-1500 visitors a month to your website. This is what I call “low hanging fruit” – takes little time, money and effort and yet yields quick, easy wins.

Want some help to optimize your site or set up your Google Business Listing? I’m standing by. 

rolodex of marketing experts

4 Reasons Why It’s Better to to Hire a Consultant v. an Agency

You might think I’d lead with MONEY. That agencies tend to have fees and charge more. And yes, that is a major factor, especially for small businesses with more limited marketing budgets…but there’s so much more to it than that.   

1. Consultants Tend to Be Experts in Their Field

rolodex of marketing experts

You want a SEO ninja or conversion wizard or scaling master? While some consultants can tick off a few boxes, they generally have deep expertise in 1-3 areas, 5 tops. They’re honest about this. If they are like me, they’ll have a rolodex with other consultants who they can refer to or who they work with regularly who can fill in any other areas you need help with.

2. Consultants Can Help You Grow Your Business Faster

As to point #1, due to their expertise and vetted referrals, you can quickly assemble a truly talented team who can focus on just the areas you need help with to scale your business to the next level quickly.

3. Consultants are Flexible & Adaptable

Consultants are not steeped in process, nor stuck in what worked a year ago. With the speed of change in all areas of digital marketing, from website design to social media/Google advertising to content marketing, you want to hire those who are current and know how to have you ride the wave of the next trend. Agencies can be quite bureaucratic and slow to adapt or deliver in a timely manner.  

4. Finding a Good Consultant is Easier than a Full Time In-House Employee

There is a lot involved in hiring a full-time employee.  Finding one person who can cover all the marketing needs you have is something I’ve never actually seen.

I’ve seen so many job postings where the employer lists “required skills” where they want one person to come in house and be able to tick off all the boxes, from design to SEO to content to video to analytics to…you name it.  I’d love to be proven wrong, but my experience goes back to point #1 – most people have deep expertise in, at most, 5 categories, not 20, not all.

So first piece of advice, first identify the top 3-5 areas that will move your business forward. Then find the consultant with expertise in those areas and/or with a vetted referral they work with who can tick off those and even more. With new tech, reviews and online listings, it’s often much easier to find consultants who will deliver more reliable results than slow-moving, process-oriented agencies.

Bottom line, consultants provide your business with agility, on-demand expertise and cost savings. Even more of a bonus is if you hire that consultant who has a rolodex of the best freelancers to fill the critical roles your company needs in order to grow. Speed of results comes with those who can be nimble and who are masters in their fields.

One final note of utmost importance. Whether you’re considering a consultant or an agency, it’s key to take the time to find someone who shares your values, understands your industry and needs, and who walks their talk (i.e. high level of integrity). Don’t fall for the bait and switchers. Do your due diligence.

Seth Godin Marketing Resources

The Latest & Greatest Marketing Resources – a Curated List for 2020

If you’re a marketer or business owner, “lifelong learning” should already be one of your mantras. In the face of rapidly evolving platforms, strategies and tools needed for businesses to succeed, either you or someone on your team must stay up-to-date on latest developments and relevant trends.