I saw an interesting blog post (http://www.seonoobie.com/2010/11/how-search-engine-marketing-is-much-like-thanksgiving-dinner/) in one of my LinkedIn groups on How Thanksgiving is like Search Engine Marketing.
Here are a few of my additions to look at:
Remember that different people refer to the same food in different ways. Yams/sweet potatoes… The guest is correct, even if you have to translate to the chef to smooth out the egos. In Search Engine Marketing, the customers keywords are the correct keywords, even if you have to coach the CMO.
Sometimes the guests/family prefer the lesser ingredients (canned cranberries over fresh cranberries), salty canned gravy over homemade. Listen and understand, your objective is to make a happy celebration for all the guests at the table. The less precise keyword or more generic keyword that customers click on are the correct keywords. Seborrheic dermatitis may be the correct term, but far more people are searching for Dandruff shampoo.
While the dinner is very important, the whole day is a celebration – conversation, flag football outside, the game(s) on TV, waiting for Sue to get off work or drive from Milwaukee all are important factors. Dinner may be the centerpiece of the day, but not the only consideration. With SEM, understand that customers determine when the best time to close a sale are and ask questions, not your staffs desires.
Mistakes happen, the pie is burnt, the dip gets spilled, dad forgot the …. – it happens, so determine if a substitute is needed and adapt. If you need a simple dip rather then the wonderful family favorite 7 layer, because that is all that is left at the Jewel closing in 5 minutes, adapt. If you need some FAQ’s that are not the best written, to keep visitors from buying at the next site for cyberMonday, then do the best you can and deal with it (let the call center know that these may not be the best and to expect more).
Of course all of the similarities are based on the fact that both Search engine marketing and Thanksgiving are for people that have different desires and needs. Those people want to be treated special and with respect. If you are the host, you need to adapt to the needs of your guests, or brother George may be going to his in-laws next year rather then your dinner table, even if he gets divorced.
A post in LinkedIn (a tool you should be using for learning, sharing and reputation building) asked the above question. The answer is core to most businesses. But it is also what needs to be shared in short order on your website. Assuming your website is trying to communicate why someone should work with you. If you have other primary objectives (and you need to be clear on your site’s objectives), then this still needs to be a part of your site somewhere.
Comfort of the Relationship:
I will choose a vendor based on the comfort of the relationship we can build. That comfort is in communicating that a vendor:
- Understands my needs, That may be by being local, in my niche, knowing me personally, sharing your expertise.
- Understands the industry today, Most industries are rapidly changing. Do you understand the journey my business is on and the challenges my competitors and myself are and will be facing?
- Understands Where the industry is going. Help me understand the opportunities, and to help me avoid the traps, What are the new regulations, what are the new 600 lb gorilla’s, what new technology will be crushing my advantage, what new profit model will change my world?
- Communicates What are the liabilities to avoid with other’s solutions. Your competitors have disadvantages – don’t bad mouth the competition, but inform me of what to pay attention to, let me understand how to evaluate your services independently so I know what is real (steak) and what is sizzle.
- Communicates that you are trustworthy even if you don’t promise the most. Let me see you participating in my community, returning my calls when promised, sending me information relevant to my needs (the more specific the better), recommendations from others-the more closely related to me the better.
Another way to say ‘by differentiation’. You may provide the exact same service, but I know you are providing the right service for me because you understand my needs, and are looking out for my best interests not others (including your own) in our transaction and relationship.
When you understand that your relationship with a potential client may start with your website, you can see how important the look and feel of the site is.
By the way, in order to effectively address most of these issues, you will create pages that is SEO friendly if not well designed.
Talking about your industry will let Google know where to ‘slot’ your services. Referencing the past industry issues will show your expertise. Of course linking to experts makes it even easier. Sharing your knowledge about the future again lets people know that you understand and care, but also lets Google know that your solutions are broader in scope.
So after you try to show how much you care about your clients, ask your clients for feedback to see if you are successful. If you are not, be patient – you probably did not give your elevator speech perfect the 1st time you attempted it. Part of building relationship and trust is having dialog, and being open to feedback and continuing to improve your site, skills, and presentation.
What are your thoughts on differentiating yourself from your competition?
PS. A new blog I am working with Andy Kurz on is Healthcare Insurance Reform Analysis and Trends
A client asked me to review her LinkedIn profile. While her intention was for job search preparation, the concepts for self promotion or business promotion are the same. So I will share my suggestions with you in these series of posts. If you would like a review of your profile, feel free to ask. The comments are a lot scattered, so dip and skim for what applies to your situation as usual.
Remember that LinkedIn is a professional toned site where there is a sense of verification by having others in your connection ‘valid’ what you share. I would put the key tenants of the community in this order:
- Validation by connections. The more connections you have the greater the validity you have. There is a caveat to this that tends to happen over a 1,000 that relates to depth vs. breadth in your connections that I won’t go into here. Suffice it to say, try to get all the valid connections you can up to around a 1,000. After that look at the issue closer and make your own judgment on strategy.
- LinkedIn is not a 1 page resume. This is the place to be reasonable about describing what you have accomplished and how it can be useful in your next project. Using more words, makes it easier for someone to:
- get to know you,
- be able to search for you,
- determine if they want to have you be part of a team. It is your marketing piece.
- Your profile is your walking portfolio. Put as much meat as you can to let others understand why they want you. This is not the place to force someone to ‘ask you in the interview’. If you don’t sell them on you here, there will be no interview.
- A place to give back – there is a lot of places to be in community. That means listening actively -
- asking questions,
- participating in the conversation,
- sharing your wisdom
- sharing your ignorance and allowing others to demonstrate their knowledge
- sharing your unique perspective.
- A place to demonstrate. Your participation in groups, your posting what is happening, your complete profile, your sharing of reading and other activity, your involvement in events all demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly and succinctly while giving. This is what almost every person looking to buy your services; whether a job or your business or your services.
With that outline, I will pick up next week on how to optimize your profile.