What to Expect from Internet Marketing / SEO Consultation Services
Search Technology, particularly Google Search Technology, has changed dramatically over the past 4 years. We can debate the reasons, the purposes, and the hidden agenda behind these changes, however, the fact is the approach to SEO and Internet Marketing in general needs to change and anticipate future changes as well.
The fact is that SEO is simply marketing and not just a bunch of poorly understood geeky onsite optimization techniques involving things like sitemaps, metadata, keywords, anchor text and the like.
So, if SEO is marketing, what are the key considerations needed for online marketing? These are no different than traditional marketing i.e. a business plan, a unit profit model, a repeatable product and / or service with reliable outcomes. These elements need to be communicated to the target market through very transparent content both within the website, but more importantly through outreach targeting your primary and secondary markets.
As consultants, therefore, we need to understand the entire business model of our clients, not just the elements of the website. The website is simple one element of a broad online and offline approach towards creating and execution winning market-driven strategies. This involves a thorough understanding of clients’:
1. Products and Services
2. Pricing Structure / Unit Profit Model
4. Business Opportunities
5. Business Threats
With this thorough understanding i.e. Situation Analysis, we need to build a customized strategy to meet the client’s objectives. Here are the major considerations:
1. Short term
2. Long term
3. Investment Needed / Financial Commitments
4. Role of the Consultant – this is often best determined based on the level of understanding by the client of internet technologies as well as their ability and willingness to be involved in key aspects of the marketing activities i.e. content production based on a well-defined content strategy.
5. Is the client’s business scalable? To what level?
Throughout the client engagement it is critical to practice and demonstrate “good bedside manner.” Take the time to document and explain to the client exactly what the plan is. Who is going to do it? What is your role? What is their role? What needs to be done and why? Set proper expectations, making sure that the client has a long-term mindset with the understanding that online marketing results do take time. That said, make sure that you can demonstrate progress from the beginning by communicating what is being done, the purpose of it and the expected outcome. Use all means to demonstrate that you are utterly professional, expert at what you do. This means being transparent, being authoritative, communicating everything that is relevant regularly and effectively. Nothing less will do.
Despite all of what I am saying here, clients are human beings, not machines. They have budgets, sales and profit objectives that are related to time lines. No matter how well you may communicate the expectations, clients can get nervous, anxious and impatient, if for no other reason, the pressures they face from time to time. With this awareness, it’s really important to communicate directly, usually by phone and screen-share, the status of the ongoing work. You need to be loaded with a complete arsenal of facts with data supporting those facts. It can’t just be about making money; you must offer consistent value through excellent recommendations and advice. After all, you are their hired consultant.
Marketing / Technology
There is no longer any separation between marketing and technology. You cannot do online marketing, in particular, without being great at technology. Just consider the following examples of essential elements critical to the delivery of great online marketing results:
1. Market Research – requires the mastery of online resources and tools to understand our client’s business, the industry, and the key competitors. The development of new tools in-house, involving API access of data, for instance, to customize the plan and execution for our clients
2. Custom Programming – for example, conversion optimization is the ultimate goal of online business whether through sales or leads or any other goal deemed beneficial to the business objectives. Consider, for instance, ecommerce platforms; how do you increase the conversion rate? This often involves custom programming to improve and expand the capabilities of the platform. For instance, adding live shipping quotes for non-standard shipping services so that the buyer knows precisely what their cost is.
3. Onsite Optimization – yes, your website elements are still important, but now in more market-driven ways. For instance, while your content must be great, engaging et al, we must also include our technological knowledge of “MicroData’ to properly implement and execute “Authorship Authority” implementations to generate desired results. This synergizes with our social media strategy (marketing) so that the author / producer of the content is recognized by Google et al as truly authoritative, thusly driving visibility.
There are literally 100’s of tools, 3rd party and developed in-house, that Optimum7 uses to craft customized internet marketing solutions, all of them technological and all of them market-driven. We are truly in a new world!
It’s all About the Client
At the end of the day … how are we doing? Get feedback, seek confirmation and understanding. Always take your clients’ temperature. It is not enough to be self-satisfied from your sole perspective. The client needs to be satisfied, comfortable and even enthusiastic about the results to date and the vision they have of the direction and the future of our collaborative work.
The benefits could not be clearer. You have a happy client. Someone who is confident in you. Very likely, there will be new and expanded opportunities to expand your business relationship. When the time comes, this client will be more than likely to welcome the phone call of potential future clients to share their experiences with you.
Bottom Line … make money for your clients and you will make money as well. Isn’t that ultimately what it’s all about in the first place?
Let me know if this makes sense to you. Feel free to share comments with us as well as our other readers.