I have read Seth Godin's blog consistantly for the past year. I also believe I have read every book that he has wrote in the 5 years. I even went to his office one day to hang out. In the past he has made some comments about SEO which were a bit off mark, but in the end I agree that for most people SEO is not going to be a long term business model. If you really know your stuff well you might be able to get by just doing SEO, but for some people that will eventually get old. Technology will continue to advance. SEO can enhance distribution but if SEO and selling stuff cheap are your longterm brand strategy you could be making more money creating legitimate value for a growing social network which may eventually market your products for you.
I recently read a book which recommended a decent SEO tool and appoligized for mentioning it due to sleeze sales copy.
I recently tried another SEO tool, which has recurring monthly fees. The tips newsletter immediately offered me a special deal not promoted on the site - some Cory Rudl affiliate links. I even replied to the person to tell them that I thought it was sleeze.
If you are charging me a healthy recurring subscription on a low cost system do you need to sleeze upsell me? Is an extra $4 a month worth me not wanting to recommend your software? Worse yet, the how to manual for the SEO tool had three pages reminding readers how they can become rich reselling the software. Gross.
[disclaimer: within my sites I market my ebook heavily, but as time passes my sales letter will probably become more and more soft sell. My end goal is to be able to have no need to have a sales letter, but that might still be a bit down the road. ]
2.) Consulting & Services:
As a consultant or person working in a related field the best position to be in is to have more leads than you can possibly use. That way you get to chose what hours you work, set your prices, pick your clients, etc.
By not being a hard seller you miss out on some sales, but it also helps to build trust if you don't immediately go for a hard sell. Taking time to review things and build a relationship you are less likely to waste effort trying to sell to a person who is not interested in buying.
I think Jill Whalen has worked rather hard at developing a soft sell system which lets her pick and chose who she wants to work with.
3.) business meetings:
When I go to SES or related conferences many people are like "do you have a business card?", and I never do.
In that situation I look stupid, confident, or both. If you want to remember me that is great, if not I don't want to be another card in the stack.
Sure you want to build relationships over time, but if you give a few hundred people your card you might get a couple leads out of it. I have a huge stack of business cards and know few of the people.
As long as you appoligize for any mistakes you make or any inconvenience you cause someone they will probably think better of you than if everything just went smoothly off the start.
The added effort to get or give someones data without convenient little cards makes it more personal. If you want to remember me I probably do not need a card.
If you don't have cards and chose to meet a few people really well you might be better off as you will likely stick out a bit more than the average card in the stack.
[disclaimer 2: I might be full of crap, but these are my opinions, and I am sharing them. Please let me know what you think of them in the comments below]
As a person who gets many inqueries I see many many many prospective clients want $100,000 of results on a $300 spend. If that opportunity was worth doing it would be just as easy to become an affiliate of a competing site, spend $1,000 to throw up your own site, and make $5,000 a month on the same work without needing to deal with clients.
Marketing SEO Services:
Many SEOs who sell SEO services remain somewhat faceless on the web, which is a huge mistake IMHO. I have yet to find a single type of marketing which worked as fast at driving SEO sales as writing and syndicating an article can.
The main portion of my current business model banks on the fact that the misleading confusion of various outdated or incorrect articles, blog post, and / or forum posts will lead some people to want to buy an up to date linear guide about SEO and related topics.
If you do sell SEO services I can't stress enough how well writing articles works. The more you learn about SEO the more you see that many of the branded experts are only experts because they have a strong brand. Articles are a cheap way to building brand. Many businesses outside of SEO could use this technique far more often as well.
The Google Budget Optimizerâ„¢ campaign management tool automatically adjusts your keyword Max CPCs on your behalf. All you need to do is set a target budget, and the Budget Optimizer will actively seek out the most clicks possible within that budget.
The Budget Optimizer helps you reach your target spend every month without requiring a lot of work on your part. You can save time, eliminate the guesswork related to setting your CPCs, and enhance your return on investment.
(Please note that the goal of the Budget Optimizer is simply to help you receive the highest number of clicks possible within your budget. The Budget Optimizer will not help you achieve a specific ad position.)
They certainly are going out of their way to make the ads as "self serve" as they possibly can. I do not manage many AdWords campaigns so I probably am not the best person to test this out, but it would be interesting to hear what effect this tool actually has on ROI.
With how far off Google is with day to day search volume / ad clickthrough suggestions it is interesting that they think people will trust a system which automatically adjusts bids for them based on a metric other than ROI. Of course some marketers do not want to share ROI data with Google.
I also believe that if a campaign is self funding there is no reason to put an arbitrary budget cap on it. Buy as many ads as you profitably can.
I am guessing that if you enable this feature you will want to enable it in ad groups where the keyword max CPCs and lead values are similar.
I've always had a pretty low opinion of the Search Engine Optimization industry. Though there are of course legitimate experts in the field, it seems chock full of people who are barely above spammers, and they taint the image of the whole group.
Blog comment spam is one common type that bloggers know all too well, but creating tons of rubbish content is another type of spam.
HotNacho hires writers to write low quality articles for $3 each. The articles, being of low quality, have little value by themselves. However, if you can get an authoritative site to host the articles you can make a ton of money from advertising.
With respect to companies and their home pages showing up as the number one result I would like to point out that large companies who are SEO savvy do not necessarily want to have their home page show up first. Let's take Hewlett-Packard (disclaimer - I work with these guys)
It is sometimes hard rewriting a post when your view of a topic entirely changes.
Vic Johnson and I had a misunderstanding which was quickly resolved. From our conversation he seemed like a swell chap who was willing to do what he could to work things out.
We all make mistakes, and I could have perhaps pursued the issue from a better angle. Thanks to everyone who linked to this post and thanks to Vic for being swift and courteous. If you want to learn more about Vic Johnson click the link to visit his site.
I was joking with a friend and we figured that there were about 30 conferences you should go to each year, and it seems like soon that will be the reality.
I think some people have traded in their regular jobs to be traveling salesmen / lead generation / speakers at various conferences. I can't see myself ever trying to be too much of a salesman (or a public speaker), but the conferences sure are fun and there are a ton of them.
Someone should write an ebook about working (or optimizing the output from) the conference scene ;)