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Sometimes I can tell just by the way they sidle up to me at a conference. They look around to make sure no one is watching, and then they half-whisper to me out of the side of their mouths, "Just between you and me, what is the trick to search marketing?"
Now, you are all reading this column because you think I am some kind of high-fallutin' book writing, Twittering, blogging search marketing expert, so I have decided, for the first time, to publicly reveal the all-time top-secret search marketing trick.
Just promise that you won't tell anyone else. (Or at least look both ways and half-whisper out of the side of your mouth if you do.)
The all-time top-secret trick to search marketing is to have what your customer wants.
You need to have the right information to answer their questions. You must have the right arguments to overcome their objections. You must have the right offer to fit into their budget. You must have the right offering to solve their problems.
Whew! Aren't you glad you asked?
You see, search marketing is more about marketing than about search. The same things that make marketers successful in any other form make search marketers successful. But we so wish that wasn't so.
We tell ourselves stories about how this TV commercial worked so well to sell that lame product. We regale our colleagues with tales of how marketers have changed the course of so many unsuccessful products.
And, once in a while, that does happen. Sometimes a brilliant marketing message can save an otherwise unremarkable offering. But that's not the way to bet.
Instead, try to place yourselves in the searcher's shoes. What are they looking for? How can you help them? What problems do they have? How can you solve them?
The beauty of search, and of the Web in general, is that you have an unlimited amount of space and time to help your customer. You can approach your customer's problem from every possible angle. You can use as many different words and examples as possible. You can put so much information on your site that they are bound, not just to find you, but to be persuaded by you.
When you do that, suddenly you'll find that you have content written for all the possible keywords your customers use. You'll have information so compelling that it will attract links. And it will be passed along in social media. Basically, everything that you need to do to rank well in search will start to happen, not because you forced it, but because your helpfulness attracted it.
So, that's the secret. Don't tell anyone, OK?
Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.
Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.
Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.
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