Q: What is the best way to build my business online? Should I learn SEO? Should I create my own content? Or, should I outsource my marketing to an online agency or brand building authority who will do it all for me?
In this article we are going to take a quick and easy look at what I believe is the simple secret to online success, what you SHOULD outsource, what you should do in-house, and what you should avoid altogether. Curious to know more? Let’s take a closer look below!
Filed Under: The landscape is LOCAL
According to Google’s published metrics, about 3 quarters (75%) of ALL search is local. That means that people aren’t looking for an accountant… they are looking for a LOCAL accountant. They aren’t looking for a roofer… they are looking for a LOCAL roofer. About 75% of referred traffic has some sort of location qualifier or modifier, meaning that if you aren’t ranking well for your specific geography, you are getting beaten to the punch by those that do.
As a matter of fact…
Some recent studies show that between 4 and 5 consumers now admit to using a search engine, RATHER than the phone book or yellow pages, to find local businesses to patronize.
So, if all this is true, do you need to hire a local SEO to build your brand, and business in your own local marketplace?
Ironically, i say NO to SEO.
Unless you live in a hyper competitive area (like NYC or Los Angeles for example) and are in a very competitive niche where the transactional values are exceptionally high (like real estate) there are a lot of other things you can do that are LESS expensive than paying for expensive SEO, and getting a better bank for your buck.
A good local hyper targeted, paid advertising campaign on Facebook can trump paying for SEO, and you can manage much of this yourself
Optimizing a Google places (or now Google Plus) local listing is very easy, and can trump expensive SEO services as well
Guest blogging on the sites of other related services is a GREAT way to get tons of exposure for your brand and your business, and ironically… is some of the best organic SEO you can do as well. (as quality mentions and traffic emanating from hyper local sites and services are the best kind of links you can build)
The kinds of done for you services that ARE a good investment?
It depends on the type of business you are in, BUT… I believe that every local business owner should have the following few things, at a minimum
A clear, content marketing campaign
A creative CHARACTER that clearly identifies their brand, and business sin the area where they live and do business.
A an interactive, engaging, entertaining and informative community, where readers can come and opine, suggest, recommend and comment on what it is that you do. (I love BuddyPress for this which is free, over ordinary comments)
A consistent conversation with their readers that is updated regularly… either through email follow up, or through a daily blog update. (once per day is optimal, but at least 4 times per week is best)
And of course, a clear conversion path that turns strangers into subscribers, and subscribers into sales.
Often, these things can be learned by many business owners… and implemented on their own without any outsourcing at all.
However, I do find that doing what you do best is often the smartest strategy for building a business, and outsourcing what you are weakest at, and what you need the most help with, can lead to the greatest long term success.
Know what your time is WORTH, and value it accordingly. If you earn $100 an hour providing a service, or $250 a day doing a job and trying to expand, ask yourself if the time and effort you spend focused on marketing is an investment… or a net loss.