Are you concentrating your marketing efforts on being found in search engines like Google and Bing? Or are you devising a unique selling proposition that tells your potential customers why they should buy from you rather than the competition? It's easy to get seduced by SEO techniques, search engine algorithms, and all of the bells and whistles that come with it. But, it takes more than "being found" to create a successful business.
Search engines are a relatively new phenomena in our culture. Businesses, however, have been selling products and services for hundreds - if not thousands - of years. How? By being good at what they do, and developing a strong brand. A strong brand is tough to beat, even when you showed up first in the search engines. If you're competing in search marketing against strong local brands, you'll lose every time.
Being Found vs. Being a Brand
If you're not careful, you can quickly spend thousands of your marketing budget dollars on SEO and related search services. However, competing on search engine placement alone gives you only one way to differentiate yourself from other companies on the internet - price. And, price is no way to position your brand. There's always another company willing to drop their price to be the lowest, leaving you with little to no profit.
While being found via search engines is important, it's only a part of the answer to drawing new customers to your business. Being found should only be the starting point for your marketing campaign, simply a way to get a customer or potential customer's attention.
To be effective, you need to combine SEO with traditional marketing media like radio, print, and television. These media allow you to tell your story to people who find you on the internet and help educate them about what makes your company unique. This might be your product line (all organic, handmade, only dealer in the area), your stellar customer service, or the fact that you are locally-owned and operated. This unique selling proposition will give your readers/potential customers a reason other than price to buy from you.
I'm not denying the importance of SEO - especially in today's world. After all, if a potential customer doesn't know you exist, it's impossible for them to buy from you. However, SEO should only be part of your marketing strategy. You need a good campaign to complement efforts once you've gotten a potential customer's attention. And, traditional media like radio, print, and television play critical roles in accomplishing that.
Let me put it this way. Let's say you do a Google search for a local attorney. You see four ads above the 10 organic results. Of the four ads and organic results, you could choose any of them. But, what if your search produced results for a company you already knew? A company that owned mental real estate in your mind through radio or TV ads you've seen or heard over the years, for example.
Which are you more likely to click on? The one you're familiar with. Period. No amount of search engine marketing budget can buy that click. The click was already purchased in your head. To you, there was no contest.
That's the power of having a recognizable brand show up in the search engines.