Online Marketing 202
- Posted by SEMCLIX
- On October 4, 2012
- 0 Comments
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a confusing term. By itself, it’s almost unreadable. It’s like a mantra that some kind of techno-guru might use to achieve internet nirvana and leave the rest of the world behind.
And I’m not just talking about aesthetics here—the actual practice of SEO is sort of elusive. It’s entirely dependent on other people, namely search engines. Being an SEO expert means that you have to learn a language that not many people know and that changes all of the time, and then translate that language into something that clients can get—or, at least, use.
I think it’s important to show why SEO and other online marketing concepts are so important, and that has something to do with understanding. That is, understanding your business and understanding the online audiences.
Let’s cordon off the rest of the SEO discussion for another time and focus on this: why is SEO such a great tool for awareness?
I’m not going to go through a 300-level marketing course in one page. Let’s boil it down to this. To turn a lead into a customer or client, leads need to file through (roughly) five stages:
Your experience may vary for the length and definition of the stage, and this presentation is a little different from what you might have heard in Glengarry Glenn Ross. (You can see the clip I’m referring to hear, but it’s a little spicy.)
Suffice it to say, every customer or client that you’ve ever had or ever will have has, at some point, been through the awareness stage. So what does SEO do for your awareness?
More Exposure, Less Work (And Less Cost, Too!)
SEO scales. It scales hard. If you’re consistent about staying relevant, building links, positioning yourself, and adding pages, then you can get to the front page of a search very quickly. The closer to the front page you are, the easier it is to get people to click on your link. And when people click on your link, they are on the edge of the cliff that leads straight down to the Interest Phase.
Even if you’re in a competitive industry with a lot of people vying for business, only a few are going to be smart enough to realize that you need to go the extra mile to get people’s attention. In fact, if you’re in a very competitive field, using SEO to your advantage before anyone else does (or is forced to) may be a decision that saves you from eventual failure or floundering. If you’re in a high-trafficked area in for search terms, your SEO campaign may be just the thing that will sweep up all of the potential leads that everyone else was too slow to get. Let them buy advertisements and beat the streets—you’ve got everyone funneled in through your website. You can buy media and give face time, too, but you match your competitors’ desperation with your unflappable calm.
People Want What You’re Offering
Here’s the great thing about SEO campaigns: when someone finds you, it because they asked about you. You’re not an annoying TV advertisement. You’re not a two-page spread in a magazine that gets torn out. Search Engine Marketing is near the level of asking a trusted friend.
Few people search Google or Bing to find things that they don’t care about. And that means that when you come up, it will be that much easier to push people through to other phases.
- Interest? No problem, they’re already interested. Or if they’re not, then maybe they’ll send someone who is.
- Evaluation? They’ve got another two or three pages worth of businesses to compare to—if they really even want to.
You can rest assured that people who are asking about what you offer actually care and are really considering a buy.
Capture Spikes in Traffic
Once you have an SEO campaign going, traffic spikes are icing on the cake. Maybe there’s a news story that puts your industry or offering in the public’s eye. Maybe a celebrity uses something like what you offer, or a TV show adopts something like your business as a plot point. All of a sudden, people are interested. And when they’re interested, they search for more information, and you come to the top.
This happens organically from time to time. But it also puts you in a great position to make it happen. PR, social media, news boards, and all kinds of other organic conversations become tools for indirect suggestion. This is the sort of stuff that the most hardcore, covert, guerrilla marketers live for. How would you like to start a whisper campaign that ends with a booked schedule or an emptied warehouse? That idea comes into play when you’ve got rock-solid SEO and positioning.
What Can SEO Do For You?
This is the space where we can all learn from example. If you’re interested in seeing what we can do for you, there’s a whole other page to contact us. But if you’ve got a question about the topic, or an example of a great campaign that others might want to emulate, please tell us in the comments below. Your great comments set a high bar for our responses—and we like a challenge.