When I write client webpages I always ask “What will bring prospects to your site?” One of the most common answers is “Search … I guess.” Search is certainly a viable form of outreach to prospective clients. But ask yourself how many hits you got on your last Google search. “Black shoelaces” gets an even 3,000,000. “Red shoelaces” brings it down to 2.5 million. “Solar panel adhesives” gets a mere 3,790 of which the first six are paid ads. But seriously, anyone who shows up after the first or second page of the search results isn’t gaining a lot of traction through that particular search.
It’s like a footrace with thousands of runners, and a lot of them are training just as hard as you are, vying for a spot on that first pag
e. Of course you want to optimize for search, and if you aren’t expert (and up-to-date) on how to do that there are experts who can help. Good professional search optimization is critical, but one of the biggest marketing favors you can do yourself is to influence what prospects search for.
The ideal, of course, is to get your name into the search, essentially eliminating all of the competition (except anyone willing to pay for an ad in a search for you). Next best is to get your specifics into the search, and you do that by reaching out to prospects before they begin their search. Before Google and The Web, sellers advertised on paper. They sent mailings, bought space on billboards, and printed ads on matchbooks. Some of those are still viable, but we now have email marketing, blogs, pop-up ads, and social media. We publish articles and whitepapers. And while it would be nice to imprint our company names on the minds of readers, the next best achievement – maybe even a better one – is to imprint the specifics that separate us from the rest of our competitors.
If you make the world’s strongest shoelaces, it would help to make searchers aware of the importance of strong laces. (I know because I broke one this morning.) If you have an exclusive technology, the more people know about it, the more likely are to include it in their search. And here’s the kicker. No matter how often you mention it, technical buyers aren’t as likely to remember your name as they are to take note of a technological advantage. Simply put, we all tend to filter advertising, but we’re far more open to education when it’s relevant.
Bottom line: Use content marketing to help your prospects narrow their searches, giving your SEO experts as much as possible to work with.