10/21/2007

The Real Use of SEO and Marketing

What are you really doing with all this attention on keywords and optimizing your pages?

You aren't trying to actually "dominate" Google or "take over" a keyword phrase.

You aren't working to get all the search traffic for a niche.

Practically, you could really ignore a lot of what goes for search engine optimization if you are serious about making money while you work from home online.

What are you really doing on the Interent?

Lead prospecting.

That's right - you don't really want or expect direct sales. You want steady clients - customers. You want to build relationships with people who will routinely buy from you - not just that once.

To do that, you want people to give you permission to send them offers. You want them to opt-in to your mail list as a first action.

SEO simply gets you people who might opt-in to your list. Just because they landed on one of your pages means nothing. Just because they take something free means nothing. Just because you have tons of visitors clicking through on your advertisers means nothing.

Even when they opt-in to your list - what does that mean?

Not all that much - they have to buy something and not just opt-out because you quit giving them something for free.

All your work in keywords and SEO are just to help get their attention - to make it easier to find your pages.

But your real, best work is developing your word-of-mouth. And that comes from people telling others about you. You need relationships. You need to get your word out in various forums and social networks in addition to having your keywords in the right percentages on your page, as well as picking niche keywords where your page comes up higher. You want to have some viral marketing out there in terms of ebooks, MP3's, and even videos. And don't forget your offline marketing - postcards, events, handouts, even your business cards and, best of all, great service to those who bought from you.

And all this marketing, SEO included, only does one thing - get leads, possible customers.

It's up to you to make them into real clients - people you care for, help out, ensure their future. Customers buy on a routine basis - according to custom. Somewhere around 3-5 percent of any mailing will get response. Those are your routine customers. But clients will buy bigger and more often.

That is only where you build relationships. Real relationships.

But SEO? Really just one of several ways you can get people onto your list - which is where your really make your money. And so your list should get your biggest investments of time and money. Because that is where your biggest returns are.

Selling ads just gets ads sold. Ads work on 3-5 percent of the people who read them. Advertising is a numbers scene. SEO will get a lot of people into your site and get ad clickthroughs. But unless that advertiser then gets those people onto their regular mailing list - by their own origination, not by spam - will that advertiser ever get a real return on their expensive investment.

That's your bottom line - getting clients (not "consumers" or mere customers). You need people to willingly want your relationship and join in conversation with you. You want people you can talk with, not to. They want to talk back to you and with you. And if you have a product - not even the best product, but the producer they have the best relationship with - they will buy.

And they will tell others about you and your products - because you took the time to talk with them and be concerned about them and their lives.

Search Engine Optimization doesn't get you sales. It gets you leads. You turn those leads into clients and you get your sales.

Something to keep in mind.

- - - -

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I'll be working on this some more, making it more accessible and useable. You'll see the bulk of this book being blogged here (while the raw stuff still shows up on A Midwest Journal), as well as splitting it up further into shorter ebooks available either on my Lulu bookstore or by subscription.

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P.S. The above post is a freebie - just something I saw today as it distilled out of all these pages. But you can use it, so here it is. You're welcome.

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