Being an SEO and Digital Marketing Consultant, I have the privilege of speaking to people from all over the world. People with amazing ideas, interesting businesses and always, big dreams.
I hear their stories, I hear how amazing they are or how fantastic their product or app is. They tell me how they are thought leaders in their field and how they just need to market their product better in order to be successful. Now whilst not everyone I speak to has something great, some people do have something interesting or worth pushing forward, however, most low-budget, small-medium sized businesses almost always have one thing in common. They want to pay me (or someone like me) to make them great. Now you might be asking, isn’t this what you do? Don’t you create great marketing campaigns? Doesn’t your SEO magic automatically place clients at the top of Google, which in turn brings in many customers and dollars? Sorry, that isn’t what I do.
I help people improve their online business, I help people understand (the little that I understand) about the Internet, Google, Social Media, Mobile, Advertising, Conversion Rates and more. I do help businesses gain more traffic and increase sales. However, I am not a magician, and I can’t do it alone. Online marketing is a partnership, like a good central defensive partnership in football (soccer). If one player is out of position or is playing poorly the other has little to no chance.
Potential clients often ask me about the SEO process, to provide an overview of the initial steps I would take them through. I start with the usual, understanding their business and goals, looking at the competition, keyword research, optimising their web pages for valuable keywords etc. I then get onto the next stage, link and brand building and before I can continue they almost always stop me and say, we don’t want to get in trouble with Google and have heard some link building may restrict our chances of doing well. At this point I often agree with them, I tell them how they have a great business and how their link building strategies can intertwine with improving brand awareness and growing their overall exposure and visibility online. This is where I ask them if they write content or have a blog? If they belong to any online communities where they contribute? The answer is usually no, which is fine. I’m hear to help right? Anyway, the next few minutes normally consist of reasons why they won’t have time to do anything at all, however, with the little budget they have, they’re already asking me if someone else could be paid to do it. (Facepalm)
Normally I will move on and ask more about them being the industry thought leaders they described, do they publish anything offline? Do they speak at conferences or attend any? What do they do at the moment with this amazing product/service and their industry leading ideas? Have they been interviewed or has any PR been done? This is where I will hear how they are still amazing, and leading in their industry, but they don’t have the cash at the moment to attend any conferences or speak etc. Usually I will get a fairly similar response, too busy, not enough money, ‘just not happening at the moment’.
Business isn’t easy and I don’t hold this against people, not everyone has the cash to do everything, but that is why you probably can’t afford to pay a whole bunch of different people to ‘make you great’. You need to make time for marketing your own business. You need to be prepared to get out there online, speak, blog, contribute. You want ethical links to your site, you want people to share things about you on social media, you want people talking about how great your product is, then you have to commit to being a part of the plan. Nobody knows your product or service like you, it’s your business, and as a small or medium sized one, you will probably need to be the face of it.
I’m telling you now, if you truly want to be successful online, you can’t just pay someone else to do it, you’re going to need to roll up your sleeves and be prepared to get your hands dirty working alongside a freelance consultant, marketing agency or in-house marketer. Even more so if budgets are low – time to be realistic and get busy.