It is literally amazing how many people start their online business presence by buying a domain name (close to their business name) and building a brochure-ware page. Only later do they turn their mind to optimizing their site for (i) their audience noxtools and (ii) the way their audience find them. Fewer still take a long, hard look at what their competitors are doing first.
Take it from me, the best way to succeed in search engine optimization is to build it into your business development strategy from the very outset. For this reason – before we turn to optimization techniques – my guide consides first those fundamental questions of what, who and where: Having thought about it, he can readily segment his customers into three types; (1) local-full-replacement, (2) diy-refurbishment and (3) fitted-refurbishment. The first group are local people, looking to replace a whole door which has broken or is drafty. They are generally cost-conscious on the overall package (comprised of products and fitting services). The second group are interested in specific product items (which they are happy to fit themselves). They want advice on how to fit it but don’t want the labour costs. However, they are the least price sensitive group on the product cost and often buy the very best. The third group buy product but want it professionally fitted and finished. They are prepared to pay for quality but are more price sensitive than the DIYers. Where they are not local (which happens) they want a referral from him to someone who can fit locally in their area.
Doug makes the most revenue today (in order) from groups 1, 3, 2. However, he makes the biggest profit margin per sale (in order) from groups 2, 3, 1 – the exact reverse! His own time (and that of his fitters network) is the biggest constraint in his business. If only he could grow the DIY segment, he could substantially improve his overall business profitability.
Hopefully, the point here is obvious. At the very least, Doug’s website should address (perhaps separately) the needs of these three different groups. Ideally, the site will focus it’s firepower on that second group (where the opportunity for unconstrained growth is greatest). Finally, the site needs a local and a global face (to reflect the different geographies of his customers).
No proposition development is complete without an honest assessment of what your competitors are up to. If you are in a locally-based mortar-and-clicks business like Doug, your assessment should take into account both your local and your global competition.
A useful tool to use is the so-called SWOT analysis, where you draw four boxes in a 2×2 table for each competitor. In the first box, you note the strengths of the competitor, in the second their weaknesses, in the third their opportunities and in the fourth their threats. Strengths and weakness are things inherent to their business as it operates today (and generally internal). Opportunities and threats are things external to the business and generally forward looking.
Look at each website objectively and minded like your customers. Consider whether the website was easy to find in the search engine. How many different search words did you try? Do you like the look of the website? Does it address each customer group separately, focus on one segment or try to be all things at once? Was it easy to get information and do business? Any good SEO Internet marketing firm will tell you there are many challenging factors that need to be overcome in selling search engine optimization and social media types of services in today’s market place.
The most challenging factors reside in demonstrating the technicality of the SETUP process along with the necessity of ONGOING SERVICES concerning the positioning and ranking of websites to the Generation X and Baby Boomer’s. It isn’t that these particular folks are any less wise or don’t employ current marketing techniques necessary in structuring their specific corporation(s). What is more likely a possibility is:
They need much more education concerning SEO, SEM, Mobile and Social Marketing services.
Local small business owners or mid-sized company decision makers whom are within — the ladder era of Baby boomers as well as those folks whom were born in the beginning years of the Gen X age — have been doing business for ten, fifteen even thirty years with what we refer to as Traditional Marketing methods. Using sales methods, profit methods, marketing methods and methods of developing databases by way of telemarketing, cold calling and classic networking techniques, etc.
Throughout the past fifteen to twenty years, marketing and sales have been slowly shifting to the digital dominion with the creation of Internet marketing, search engines as well as the relationship that’s begun with regards to being able to develop associations through social media sites, which is taking people away from using the traditional methods of marketing.
To be visible to the entire target market today including all of the demographics and age categories – you must compete on the multi-functional playing field which includes the combination of Internet marketing, SEO, Local Listings or Google Maps, Social media, Mobile Applications mixed with some of the above mentioned traditional marketing techniques. Bundled together in such a way as to produce prospects and conversions.