However, we’ve reached a level of marketing saturation that has made those methods that used to work obsolete.
To be really successful in today’s highly competitive marketplace, we need to start answering a different question in our advertising…”why.”
Consider the fast food hamburger as an example. There are a lot of different foods competing for our dollars when we’re in a rush. The super easy choice is a hamburger. The big three are McDonalds, Burger King and Carl’s Jr. They all make and sell hamburgers. They all cost about the same. So how can they gain market share? By answering the why. Of the three places, I admit I eat at McDonalds and Burger King more than Carl’s. Of those two, I like Burger King the best. Why? Because of the flame broiled burger. I think BK makes the best mass-produced hamburger in the country, if not the world.
I drive by a tune up place in Murray fairly frequently that has a message on its marquee saying, “Follow us on Twitter.” Every time I think “why?” I can’t think of a reason. Maybe they’ve got one. They probably wouldn’t go to the trouble if they didn’t, but it’s not being communicated. A better message would be “Follow us on Twitter because you can get a free tune up.”
I tell people to read my blog because they’ll learn how to use Twitter and Facebook and blog in a profitable manner. More importantly other people say the same thing.
The key to answering the “why” question is to include the word “because.” I got this idea from Copyblogger, but I’ve heard it from other sources too. Your because can be anything, just use the word because it answers the question “why.” I like Burger King burgers because they’re flame broiled. The question of “what” is answered by the product and the question of “how much” doesn’t matter because it’s the best tasting burger out there and the price differential between my other burger choices is nominal.
Answering the question “why” removes the price question altogether so long as consumers are clear on what your product or service is. Your “why” should be your competitive advantage or unique selling proposition. Price doesn’t have to, nor should it enter into your advertising, if you answer the question why.
Last year I had the opportunity to test drive a Bentley. I always wondered why someone would spend over $200,000 for a car when a perfectly good BMW or Mercedes costs a fraction of that price. Once I drove the car, I understood why. Other than the fact I couldn’t afford it, price didn’t come into play at all. From the massaging seats to the powerful engine to the hand stitched interior that looked so well put together it could never fall apart, I learned the “why.” I would have bought the car on the spot if I had the money.
We’re not all out there selling Bentleys, but if we answer the question of “why” in our advertising, we’ll never have to answer “how much.”
What is my “why?” I make websites successful.
The other day I wrote about a challenge I was facing with a client of mine who was using a WordPress site.
Their web designer had possibly nefariously tagged the entire site to be invisible to the search engines…like a vampire unable to see its own reflection.
While I worked for a while on unravelling this mystery by looking into the deepest, darkest corners of the code and then the web that encased it, I found no solutions. I tried a work around that failed, even though sucking the blood out of other methods succeeded. Ultimately, getting my hands dirty in the cobwebs of WordPress found success.
As I suspected, the culprit was a simple checkbox with a universal application. Unfortunately I didn’t know where to look. The WordPress gurus I consulted had no idea. To be fair, I fired off questions. Channa is awesome. I was looking for answers, not explorations.
While setting up a new WordPress site last night, I discovered the answer to my question. I’ll save the screenshot for another time.
Settings-Privacy-I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Sphere, Technorati) and archivers.
If you have this checked, your website is golden. If not, your website is dying an anonymous death. Like a rare disease, nobody but the experts knows why your site is dying from a dearth of traffic. I do. Let’s fix it.
I’ve spoken about Kevin Davis before and how well organized he is in his business and how he leverages outsourced labor to complete his projects.
Kevin hosts a meetup once a month and last night he shared all the details of his product launch for “Cash in a Flash.” In his typically transparent fashion, Kevin shared the what, why and how of his most recent product launch. I’m not going to share all the details because you really need to attend to understand the entire operation.
What I will share is the product is grossing $100,000 a month in sales and netting high five figures. Traffic is being generated at 150,000 unique visitors per month.
There were pitfalls along the way that Kevin also shared. He actually shut down the operation for a week five days after launch because there was a serious technical difficulty.
Kevin hosts these meetups once a month, so if you have a product or service you’re marketing, get over there! It will be totally worth it.
About 26 people attended the meetup with many of the usual suspects; Spencer and Erik at Paidin14days.com, Josh and John from RapidDev, Andrea Warner from Stompernet, but we did have some gurus in our midst like Jon Davis from Launchworx and Utah Top Blogger finalist and SMCSLC award winner Janet Thaeler.
Kevin’s presentation was amazing and it was really great getting to talk to everybody afterwords. Janet even gave me a copy of her new book!
This was the first time I’ve attended Kevin’s meetup and if there is only one meetup you can go to each month, this would be the one.
Dr. Michael Jennings is opening a revolutionary medical practice right here in Salt Lake City. Geared for small businesses, entrepreneurs, the uninsured and uninsurable, this medical practice offers a direct pay program that works for many people. You can find the practice at www.pfpslc.com. Here’s the press release that came out Monday -
FIND A DOCTOR THAT DOESN’T REQUIRE INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE?
Salt Lake City, UT, December 7, 2009 — Finding a doctor that doesn’t require health insurance sounds as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. Personal Family Physicians, a new Salt Lake City family practice, wants to remove the insurance company from the doctor/patient relationship by providing a direct care program designed for the uninsured or uninsurable. Small businesses and entrepreneurs may also find the direct care model attractive. The office opens December 7, 2009. Complete practice details are available on the Internet at http://www.pfpslc.com?ref=sbspr.
Dr. Michael Jennings founded the practice to change the way healthcare operates in America. “By offering a direct care solution, we help small businesses and families get the healthcare they need,” said Dr. Jennings. “Healthcare shouldn’t be about insurance, it should be about serving the patient’s needs. That’s the oath I took thirty years ago,” Jennings continued.
Personal Family Physicians can provide services to the uninsured and uninsurable in many cases. The new office is bringing hope to those who have “pre-existing” conditions most insurance companies won’t cover. It also provides an attractive financial alternative to small businesses that find it unaffordable to offer medical benefits to employees. The direct care model isn’t suitable for every patient, but Dr. Jennings offers a free consultation to determine whether his practice is a good match to the patient’s needs. “Ultimately I want the patient to decide if we are right for them. In most cases, I think the answer is ‘Yes’” he concluded.
I’ve written before about how web designers don’t know how to do search engine optimization and why bringing an SEO company into your project as early as possible is a good idea.
This last week I saw one of the worst uses of meta tags on a new client’s site. The company that set up the WordPress blog for my client coded in a meta tag that tells the search engine spiders to ignore every page and link on the site.
The worst thing is every method I tried to change that code failed. However, I know a work around for everything. Since I couldn’t change the meta tag, I added a robots.txt file. Spiders look at two things when they visit a site, the meta tags and the robots.txt file. On my client’s site the meta tags said “go away” but the robots file says index my entire site.
It’s entirely likely that a robot might find the same links on some other page without a NOFOLLOW (perhaps on some other site), and so still arrives at your undesired page.
The other thing I did to fix the situation was submit the URL to Google for indexing and created a directory listing for the site at Merchant Circle. Tomorrow a press release hits that also contains links, so I know we’ll be getting a lot of quality inbound links for my client in a very short time.
In the mean time, I’ll still be figuring out how to move that irresponsible meta tag. The reason the tag exists is to avoid the so called “duplicate content penalty.” However the penalty no longer exists.
There is one reason and one reason alone to ever use the noindex, nofollow meta tag. It’s when you’re running a paid search campaign to a specific landing page and you don’t want organic traffic to skew your numbers. That’s it!
Where do you place the robots.txt file?
It goes in the root directory like this – http://www.seobyswaby.com/robots.txt. It’s just like a page except it’s in basic text instead of .html.
What’s in a robots.txt file?
Very simple commands for the spider. Here’s what my client’s file looks like.
If you’re doing a site redesign or having a site made for the first time, be sure to get someone who understands SEO involved early because you will save money and possibly avoid having your site tagged to be ignored by Google.
Last week I had a meeting with John over at inQuo, a computer support company. He suggested I write an article about why SEO must be ongoing and not a one shot deal.
That is a very good idea because many people think we SEO guys just sprinkle a little magic dust and presto websites are appearing on the front page of Google.
While I could go into detail about specific steps that need to be taken each month, the bigger reason ongoing SEO needs to occur is more conceptual.
Three major reasons you need ongoing SEO services:
1. Google loves fresh content and rewards it with high results. If you don’t have someone to update your content or site on a regular basis, any upfront, on page SEO will eventually lose its value. It may not happen right away, but it will happen.
2. Tracking. Businesses and people for that matter tend to perform better when there’s a number to beat. If you don’t measure performance, you’ll never know how to improve it. Any SEO service should involve monthly reporting. For certain types of PPC, these reports should be weekly.
3. Expertise. While having tracking in place is part of the battle, knowing how to read those numbers is the other part. For this site, I’ve found Friday’s are my slowest day of the week. I’ve tried additional marketing on Twitter and making sure to post new content to help drive traffic on that day, but it still tends to be my slowest day. Other sites I’ve managed have other “slow” days. It’s my experience that tells me whether to be concerned or to recognize that it’s a normal traffic trend.
The same applies to spikes in traffic. If you get one you want to know why, whether that traffic is effective and whether to try and duplicate it. Again, it’s experience that matters.
Some people think SEO is a waste of time and money. Some SEO companies will waste your time and money. I don’t think a properly executed campaign is. I’ve seen amazing results in the past and now from being on top of the search engines both in traffic and income. I know proper SEO works and I know it needs to be ongoing. There is no magic dust. There are no instant results.
I felt that because I had done a lot of research on my real estate blog, I didn’t need to do it on this one. I knew I wanted a key phrase like “salt lake city seo” to test my skills and my success with that term certainly makes a great point in my sales presentation.
When I targeted that term I knew “utah seo” would be the one that would drive more traffic, but I knew it would be harder to get. What I didn’t know was “salt lake city seo” is searched less than 30 times a month on all the major search engines combined.
Had I invested a little time at the beginning, that mistake wouldn’t have happened. Fortunately my success with that key phrase displays my SEO skills and I’ve been able to use those results constructively.
When I started doing some keyword research last week for some new clients who are geographically targeting traffic, I discovered only a few industries in Salt Lake are searched for with a location included. The are dentists, lawyers, HVAC contractors, plumbers, general contractors and real estate agents.
Every other industry in Salt Lake is searched for less than 30 times a month according to the numbers. I believe the reason is pay-per-click advertising is so well filtered for delivering geographic results, web searchers tend not to include a geographic location. Someone is more inclined to search for “SEO consultant” than “Utah SEO consultant” because the PPC result will include the information they want.
This is further evidence multi-pronged Internet marketing is necessary. The medium I’m most interested in is Twitter since it’s so easy to tag and search keywords there. There is also evidence PPC can be effective for driving traffic as well.
The bottom line is, you can’t ignore the keyword research no matter how well you think you know an industry. For my clients the first task is keyword research. I don’t write titles, metatags, copy or press releases until I know which words to use. Unfortunately in the SEO industry, this important step is often ignored or glossed over.
Keyword research is glossed over because it’s boring and tedious. Nobody likes to do it. Why research keywords when you can be doing exciting things like recording podcasts or videos and tweeting? Because those podcasts and videos have descriptions that require keywords to be found! Tweets are searchable. Why not use the keywords that are being searched? You can’t if you don’t know.
If you’re thinking of hiring an SEO company, ask them what the first step is. If it isn’t keyword research, you’re going to be wasting a lot of money.