In the world of business, marketing and advertising is everything. Marketing is at least as important as the products or services you sell. Without marketing, you have no one to demonstrate the superiority of what you offer!
There is a reason people build businesses in cities surrounded by people, rather than in a desert surrounded by cactus! You need people to market to, and you need customers coming in your door. The success of your business relies on how well you market your product or service first, and second by how well you deliver it. Very few businesses survive on word of mouth alone. But what many small business owners fail to realize is that while marketing is everything, everything you do is marketing!
Everything you do, as a small business, has an impact on your marketing message and ability to get that message out to your customer base. How/whether you answer your phones, how you reply to email messages, what you say on Twitter/Facebook, the presentation of your website, and your ability to produce satisfied customers all play a role in your ongoing marketing efforts.
Perception matters. If your potential customer's perception of you, true or not, is less than they expect, you're going to have trouble selling them. Would you trust a mechanic with a poorly tuned vehicle? A lawyer who drives a Yaris? A contractor with a run-down office? A landscaper with an overgrown lawn?
You might, but I guarantee you'd think twice before you do. None of these things demonstrate how well any of these business owners do their job, but the perception is, if they can't take care of themselves, how can you trust them to take care of you?
When performing link building for our clients, they are often picky about where we get links from. So are we, but they often want to get links only from high-caliber sites, when their site is somewhere below that. In link building, people will generally only link to site's of equal or higher caliber than themselves. If you want a link from a high-caliber site, you have to be one. Otherwise, take what you can get from those below you!
The SEO's job doesn't include running your business. There are a lot of things that fall outside the SEO's area that can make or break your business success, and even your search engine rankings!
As an SEO, we routinely try to help our clients in areas that fall far outside the SEO box. We'll provide feedback on design, programming and presentation, just to name a few. We want our customers to succeed, and sometimes that means we have to help in areas that we were not necessarily hired for.
Everything matters, and when it comes to business success, everything should be on the table for a discussion on how to improve your ROI. If your SEO thinks your design isn't great, it may be worth discussing in greater detail, even if you love it. There might be a reason they hate it that goes beyond personal preference. If your SEO provides a recommendation on how something looks or appears on the website, it many worth noting, even if you can't change it right away.
Little things can create big perceptions. Especially when it comes to usability issues. It's not just website design, it's also communication, problem resolution, response times and a whole lot more.
A picture on your website may be worth a thousand words, but perception is worth 1001. You are what you're perceived to be. That's true whether you believe it or not.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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