Recently Impact Media was retained to perform Search Engine Optimization on DAC Awnings’ website that they had created with another company. When Geoff Brantley with DAC came to Impact Media their new website launch had made their website drop dramatically in the rankings on Search Engines, and their current vendor was unable to stop the downward spiral. Within one month Impact Media has increased their rankings on all Search Engines, and in turn increased their traffic to the tune of over 80%. This is going to make a great 1st SEO meeting with DAC Awnings, as we expect to hear their sales will be up too. Stay tuned for more details to come!
“I’m just not sure that SEO is going to help me,” Jack told me on the phone. “My customers just are not searching for me on the internet.”
My friend Jack is an entrepreneur, and has successfully started and managed an interior trim installation business for the last 8 years. With the ebb and flow of the construction industry his company has grown and shrank, and today he has a strong company with a couple of employees, but he wants to grow and expand so that he can work less in the field and more in the office. He plans to accomplish this by expanding his market to include a neighboring city.
“So how would your customers find you?” I ask. “And who is your ideal customer?”
“My ideal customer is a local custom homebuilder,” Jack replied, “and typically when they are searching for a new tradesperson they will ask their lumber supplier or a competing builder for a reference. They are not going to Google to look for a new carpenter.”
I could not argue with this, because Jack is right. My experience in the homebuilding industry in years past backed this up. That industry is a closed group, and most tradesmen are not good marketers, relying on word of mouth and relationships to win them new business. In this environment, money spent on search engine optimization would be wasted. As much as I have seen the success and exposure that SEO can bring, in this situation it just would not be effective.
In today’s complex world, there is no true “one-size-fits-all” solution for marketing one’s business services. An analytical process is needed that yields a custom fit marketing plan. Your business has unique resources, unique customers, and unique solutions. Why should the process by which you reach these customers be any different?
I can safely say that 80% of our customers can benefit from Search Engine Optimization. An equal number can benefit from social media campaigns. So to say that everyone needs SEO or that everyone needs a Facebook strategy would not be accurate. I cringe when I talk to salespeople from marketing companies that are trying to shoehorn customers into a specific package or program they offer, with no regard to the unique needs of that company.
There is a better way to do this! It begins with customer analysis – who is your customer? Why do they need your product, and what makes them purchase? Where are they looking when they need your service? What does it take for them to feel enough trust to make a purchase decision? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can begin to draw straight lines to what your marketing plan needs to include.
In my friend Jack’s case, we recognized that a large website with SEO and social media campaign was not going to produce good return on investment. Instead we focused on who exactly his ideal customers were. In this case we performed an internet search for custom builders in the city he wanted to expand into, and came up with a list of twenty building firms to target. We then zeroed in on what action Jack wanted the marketing campaign to prompt: a request for proposal. We then designed a two part plan to reach these firms: phase 1 was to design and launch a one page website (with parallax scrolling for whiz-bang effect) that Jack could personalize and tweak himself to keep costs down. Phase 2 was to create something of value that could be hand delivered to these firms to show professionalism and provide initial value – for Jack we designed a large printed cardboard case to display interior trim samples that a builder could use for trim selections for custom home clients, along with an “Interior Trim Takeoff Form” that would simplify interior trim estimating and ordering. Both these items would display Jack’s company logo and contact information, and the takeoff form would advertise Jack’s free proposals.
A simple, targeted marketing plan will outperform a generic scattershot approach and will, in many cases, cost significantly less. In this situation Jack would have been throwing money into the wind with search engine optimization, but was spending money wisely targeting his few potential customers.
I talk to a lot of business owners and marketing directors who say “why do I need SEO?” In response, I say to them, and to you, “you only need SEO if your potential customers would look for you through a Google or Bing or Yahoo search.” This is 80% of you out there. While to Jack’s carpentry business SEO was not helpful, it is critical to the custom builder he wants to work for, because his customers are looking for a new builder on the internet.
Is SEO needed for your company? Will it help you reach new clients? Conquer new markets? Improve your lead pipeline? If your customers are looking for what you sell on the internet, then it is absolutely needed.
If you don’t need SEO, then by all means don’t chase it. But if you do need SEO, then why not take advantage of the opportunities it can unlock?
If you are interested in Impact Media Solutions assisting you with your Search Engine Optimization, contact us today to get started.
“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” – Mark Twain
It has been said that SEO is dead.
We’re here to say it’s not true. Well, us and an armful of statistics say that SEO is alive and well and still vitally important as a key part of any marketing strategy.
Consider these amazing statistics:
Search Engine Optimization is still going strong. Use it!
Impact Media provides awesome SEO services for local Wilmington NC businesses and for websites abroad. Find out more here.
We just launched a new responsive web design for Southern Exposure Sunrooms in Wilmington, NC. Actually, Southern Exposure Sunrooms has been a client of Impact Media’s for 7 years, and in that time they have grown to have locations in Raleigh/Durham, Fayetteville and Myrtle Beach, SC. According to John’s video testimonial for us, which is to the right of this post, he attributes a lot of that growth to what we have done for his Internet Marketing & SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Southern Exposure Sunrooms is a highly ethical company and they do a terrific job with Sunroom additions. If you have not had a chance to check them out you should definitely go to their new website, it is really nice, of course I am a little biased..
Of all of the Search Engines out there, there are 3 that remain ahead of the others by a long shot, they are Google, Yahoo & BING. So when I decide to optimize for a client there are several factors taken into place. Each one of these Search Engines operates on its own algorithm for rewarding ranking to your website, and with that being said I would like to show you the market share of these 3 titans of search. Google maintains the majority with over 67% market share of all online searches, while Bing is in a distant second place at 18%, and then in third place is Yahoo with just over 12%. The numbers drop dramatically after that, as the other 100s of search engines fight over the remaining 13% of market share in America.
This leads me to my point, when I am performing Search Engine Optimization or SEO, I also weight my efforts based on market share. I never forget about one of these Search Engines, as they are all important, but my main focus is on keeping up with the Google Algorithm and ensuring that I have a met their requirements for good ranking. Now of course there are some assumptions made, because Google does not go around broadcasting their secret sauce, but these assumptions are based off of data that I compile on a daily basis. For instance in 2013 Google had 4 major shifts, and close to 180 small changes made to its algorithm on how it ranks websites. Typically they do this, because folks figure out their algorithm and start manipulating sites to rank higher that really are not applicable, and that in fact decreases Google’s worth to the consumer or user.
I wanted to write this post, because this explanation is one I provide quite often to my clients, or prospects that want to know about my methodology on Search Engine Optimization or SEO and I want to be sure that all of our clients know that my SEO is ethical, and can never jeopardize their ranking or get them banned from Google, Yahoo or BING.
How often do you actually watch a television commercial? When you are looking at something online or checking your Facebook newsfeed, how often do you take time to look at the banner ads? When you receive a piece of snail mail that you know is an advertisement, how often do you actually open it? These are all forms of traditional advertising and thanks to modern technology they are no longer viable methods of sustainable marketing. So what works in the Information Age? To put it quite simply, the answer is information.
The technical term is call Content Marketing. This is when you market to a targeted consumer demographic with information they will find useful, engaging and most importantly valuable. Your customers can tell the difference between useful information and SPAM. By providing them with valuable content that educates them, you are solidifying their loyalty. Here is an example to prove my point. A few months ago the hot water in our house vanished. We paid $220 to a plumbing company who came to our house, traded out a few old parts with new ones and then told us they were not sure if it fixed the problem or not. I had no desire to pay the extortion fee of another plumbing company so I decided I was going to fix the problem myself. I went to the website of a locally owned hardware store who has a great selection of articles on common problems with household appliances. I found quite a bit of information, but none about the hot water heater issue I was having.
What I did learn was that the owner had extensive knowledge about appliance repair and I felt he would be a good person to turn to. I drove to his store, told him about my problem and he informed me it was going to be one of two things. Then he directed me to the parts I would need to fix it and showed me how to make the repair. Before I left he made sure I had the store’s number if I had any questions. It took me one more trip back to his store, but in less than two hours I had fixed the hot water heater and did so for less than $20. I could have bought the part cheaper at a big box store, but I had no way of knowing that the person selling me the part was as knowledgeable as this store owner was. When another problem arises in the future, I know exactly where I will turn and I feel confident it will be the right move.
Aside from search engine optimization, your website’s blog has now become the most important marketing tool you have. Blogging should become a priority because it is your chance to educate your customers and strengthen their trust in you at the same time. I would also recommend using your blog entries in conjunction with a weekly email to your customer base to be more effective. All you have to do is copy and paste half your blog entry into the email and add a link to the entire entry on your website. Make sure you add links throughout your blog entry to other blog entries within your site when it is relevant. This is called making your site more “sticky”. That way you are driving more traffic to your site and keeping them there longer. When the time comes and they need the service or product you provide, they will not question who to turn to. You might have a smaller marketing budget than a large corporation, but you can make up significant ground on your competitors with the most valuable commodity there is… useful information! Content Marketing can not only be applied to your website, but to all of the platforms of Social Media where your potential clients are connecting with friends and possibly promoting their own services or products. In this form of marketing you have to “Give to Get”. What I mean by that is that you must establish rapport with your potential clients for them to trust you enough to do business with you. Impact Media Solutions can assist you with formulating a strategy for your Content Marketing, and in turn help your business thrive by capturing leads through unconventional means. We encourage you to speak with any of our clients in our portfolio about what we have done for their business as there can be no better form of marketing then a referral, and that is and I believe will always be our primary source of new clients.
Martin Self Storage has been a client of Impact Media Solutions since 2004 and we have handled everything from their computer hardware, networks from Wilmington to Florida to marketing their web design using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and other forms of Internet Marketing. They are one of the premier storage facilities in the area and are ever growing, we like to think we helped a tiny bit, but we will not flatter ourselves too much. Go see our latest creation for their website and see for yourself what they are doing now. Martin’s once again is reinventing how Storage Centers will market on the web as well cater to their clients.
We have just launched a new custom web design for Future Homes in Hampstead & Hubert, NC. Brent & Keith of Future Homes both have great ideas for getting their products in front of their perspective clients, and they were a great bunch to work with on this project. Now that Impact Media has launched their website, we can now focus on their Internet Marketing & SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to ensure that their website is found on the internet. Please have a look and let us know what you think.
When choosing your SEO company, ethics should play a major role.
The difference between White Hat and Black Hat SEO could cost your company dearly.
Here at Impact Media Solutions we perform a combination of White Hat and Organic search engine optimization methods. White Hat SEO means that we follow the rules and guidelines set forth by the search engine companies, mainly Google. If you have been put in charge of finding the right SEO service for your company, you will want to do a little research and make sure that any company you are considering has a reputation for high ethical standards. If you choose an SEO service provider that tries to circumvent the rules or blatantly break them (referred to as Black Hat SEO), then you are putting your company at risk of losing a considerable amount of business. Interflora is a great case-in-point.
Recently Interflora, which is a UK based flower delivery company, was unexplainably dropped from Google’s search engine’s organic results. Organic means naturally occurring so in the search engine world, these are the results that follow the paid ad section at the top. If you were to type Flower Delivery UK into the Google search engine, Interflora was nowhere to be seen. The omission went on for eleven days and later we learned from Barry Schwartz’s article on SearchEngineLand.com (click here for article) that a few bloggers had posted tweets that Interflora had asked them to remove any links back to the Interflora website. This led to our assumption that Interflora, or their SEO service provider, was involved in paying for pages that pass PageRank (through gifts or monetary means). What that means is they were paying bloggers to write posts that included a link back to the Interflora website. This is a huge violation in the Google rule book. If a blogger wants to write about your company and add a link, then that’s their business, but to pay them to do that creates non-organic search results and is a highly unfair practice.
To take the explanation a little further, we are now handling the SEO for a local based carpet and upholstery cleaning company. It is operated by two men who have taken a very scientific approach to the process and they have built a solid clientele based mostly on word of mouth. Now let’s say that a large carpet cleaning company comes into town and they have a monster marketing budget. We’ll call them Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning. Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning begins paying bloggers to write about various carpet cleaning topics and in each post they include a link to the Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning website.
Imagine one night you are enjoying a glass of red wine and you accidently spill some on the carpet and now you need to get your carpet cleaned. You go to Google.com, type in carpet cleaning wine stains and out of the first twenty results, 15 are blog entries about how to get red wine out of your carpet and they all inexplicably link back to Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning. This does two things. It greatly reduces the chances of any other cleaning company like our client from showing up on the search results. Secondly, it gives a psychological advantage to Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning. We know that 75% of people who use search engines do not go past the first page of their search results ¹. We also know that people typically do not read the entire content snippets returned in search results, but rather they scan them for names and adjectives. If they see Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning over and over again, then they are going to assume it’s a great, well known company unless they see negative adjectives accompanying the listing. In essence Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning has created a search results monopoly and this is highly unethical.
Back to Interflora… It took 11 days before they were reinstated into the Google search results, but when they came back, they ranked 9th for “flowers”…7th for “mothers day flowers”…8th for “flower delivery”…9th for “flowers delivered”…& 10th for “roses” ². Imagine how much money they lost in those omitted 11 days and now they are ranking below six to nine other companies where before they always ranked in the top three of each category. When an SEO company does things the wrong way, it can cost your company dearly.
When you are searching for the right SEO company, make sure you ask for references. Then search for those references on various search engines and see what you find. If there is an inordinate amount of material from bloggers not affiliated with the company that all include hyperlinks back to the company’s website, or if you find pages that have links to the website, but the content has nothing to do with what the company does, then that should raise a red flag. Also make sure to call the reference and ask if they are happy with their return-on-investment. If their answer is yes and the searches return clean, high ranking results, then chances are you have found a good, ethical company to deal with.
¹ This statistic was collected from Eric Siu’s article on SearchEngineJournal.com (click here to read the article)
² These statistics were collected from Matt McGee’s article on SearchEngineLand.com (click here to read the article)