He’s also ready to provide us with solutions!
The most crucial area in any business – no matter the size of the company – is marketing. You may have a great idea, brand, product – but none of that matters if people don’t know about it.
But how do you get strategic and effective with your marketing? How do you make sure the people you want to be serving can easily find you?
Here are some of the key challenges small businesses face, particularly with SEO, when they’re looking to up their marketing game.
Nathan Wade says that most small businesses make this first mistake of wanting to cater to the masses. We all figure the more people you can serve, the more profitable and valuable the business will inevitably be, right?
Well, this route might be stretching your business’s capabilities (and, your own!) way too thin.
Too many businesses busy themselves trying to reach everyone that their marketing becomes too broad and general. They’ll find themselves on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – name any more that you can think of.
In actuality, you don’t need to work with everyone to be successful. If you focus on a niche market, you’ll be more able to not only focus but also service this market more effectively. After you’ve narrowed down your niche service and its corresponding market, Nathan states that you can then create a marketing plan that is simple and effective.
“It’s only by really deep-niching into a particular market that […] you can quite easily design a marketing strategy that’s going to suit.”
Doing things that are effective and keeping your process simple are what will truly help you to remain sustainable.
Naming your ideal client can be as simple as looking at your actual service and then working backward from there. You can also ask yourself, “Where do my most profitable sales come from?”
Related Post: Ten Outstanding Ways to Boost Your Business’s Sales
Once you’ve gathered all of the pertinent information in regards to your ideal customer, you can then work out how they wanted to be reached out to. By now, you know where they hang out, what they like, and what they’re looking for.
If you can simply show how your service caters to those needs, then you’ve got yourself the makings of an effective marketing strategy.
This particular challenge follows from the first one. Because of their overly broad market, businesses stretch their resources past the point of being effective.
When working with small businesses that find themselves up against these challenges, Nathan tends to hear the same things over again: “Okay, we need to have some budget for Facebook. We need to have some budget for AdWords. We should be doing SEO!”
Wade, instead, suggests every business learn “how to properly understand the customer and then use that information to be able to work out exactly which channel they should focus on.”
The solution goes back to the first – focus! Hone in on who your ideal customer is. Wade says the more you do, the clearer your next action step should be to you.
If you’re still wondering which channels or outlets to operate from, then your focus still isn’t narrow enough yet!
“Once you’re actually creating the picture [of your ideal client], it usually becomes more obvious [to you] exactly where you could advertise.”
Wade further states that, at this point, you’ll even get a better idea of what sort of messaging or “pitch” will work well with your ideal client.
In a nutshell, don’t!
If you’re trying to outsmart Google, then you’re in for a long and arduous fight that you’ll inevitably lose.
Google is a relevance-based search engine that used to base relevance on keywords. In short, we used to splatter our content with a bunch of keywords in order for Google to notice us. But, it simply doesn’t work this way anymore.
Now, SEO is about using the right amount of keywords in content that your audience enjoys and is likely to follow. Today, you’ve got to make the best use of your industry’s search traffic and you do this by creating valuable and pertinent content that is relevant to your client!
Instead of focusing on Google, Nathan highly suggests focusing your efforts on outsmarting your competitors.
To summarize: just concern yourself with consistently making relevant content that your audience will come back to again and again.
The keyword (no pun intended) is consistency – you’ll definitely draw Google’s attention if your audience is constantly returning to your content.
Another challenge Wade finds his small business clients face is whether or not they should do SEO themselves, or outsource the task to an agency. Either route has its benefits and setbacks so the trick is finding what works especially well for your operations.
Keeping things internal might help to minimize cost as well as the time it would take for an agency to learn your brand. That’s part of their job, of course (learning your brand), but someone who already knows how your business operates from an internal perspective has an edge over the outside source.
This process does, however, take time overall and resources to pour into this person or department who will take on the new task of becoming the SEO expert of your company.
When outsourcing this particular task, you’re opening up your business to a whole new set of expertise. You can count on the agency to know what they’re doing and deliver a marketing plan that can be executed right away. No waiting out the dreaded learning curve that your internal team would have to otherwise go through.
The results for going either route are actually hit and miss, Wade says. While he’d advocate for outsourcing SEO to an agency, he does reveal that an internal process can be just as successful – it all depends on your business.
So, if you’re a small business with limited funds, doing SEO yourself is a viable option! But, again, Wade does believe that if you want to optimize the effectiveness of your SEO, outsourcing this would be the best way to go.
In the search for the right SEO mentor, you want to find an agency to give you relevant information as well as mentorship.
Also, make sure you have an agency with skin in the game – that means you’re looking for an agency that can generate results for you quickly. SEO doesn’t have to take a long time – simply ask, “How quickly can you get me results?” This is key in making sure the agency is a right fit for you.
Wade’s company for example definitely has a target market and doesn’t cater to everyone.
They’re very specific about who they can help and even run trial periods so that their prospective clients can judge for themselves if the working relationship is one they can commit to. It’s also a chance for Wade and his team to see if they can really help their potential client become a bigger success.
“We offer things like a three-month trial. […] It’s a long enough time period for [your clients] to see what it would be like to work with you. And, it’s a short enough time period that, even if you aren’t producing results, they haven’t lost a whole heap.”
Nathan’s tips for if you decide to internally run your SEO would be to start by reverse-engineering your competition.
“You can get quite a good snapshot of exactly which keywords are driving their main traffic.”
Then, ask yourself, “What’s the depth of their content? […] Does my competition have a thousand various individual pages and blog posts about my subject matter or do they only have two?”
If they only have two, for example, then it would be easy in this case to get a leg-up on the competition by creating three or four. (This is what we mean by focusing on outsmarting your competition rather than Google.)
Going SEO alone really requires a bit of time spent in the learning curve but if you ride it out, it could be worth the time spent to do it on your own, especially if outsourcing isn’t feasible for your business right now.
In working with small businesses, Nathan and the team at Marketing Juice understand that optimizing your use of SEO is about understanding your ideal client.
And, whether or not you outsource this part of your business or keep it internal is about understanding where your business is at.
Nathan’s final thoughts?
“Never be afraid to test, but make sure you’re always focused on what’s working!”
Are you tired of doing it all yourself? Do you want to build a dream business and have the freedom to take some time off or do other things you love? Watch our free on-demand training now.