SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a growing popular term that business owners hear and many times jump on board with before they’re truly ready. I’d like to share these crucial business elements with you, before your time, money and efforts are not wasted.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Business owners, if you ready your business for SEO before pursuing it, you will be able to fully reap the benefits. Use this guide of five essential business traits to prepare your business for the true power of SEO. Once you’ve met these five criteria and want to continue your growth, focus on SEO.
Before it makes any sense to draw in new customers, one must make sure his/her existing customers are returning. In otherwords, if you invest in any type of customer building campaigns without a solid business plan to retain the customers you bring in, you will be spending your money on “one-offs” which doesn’t support sustainability. Refine your business plan and function to keep the customers you have returning to you for your product or service. Only then will it make sense to focus on building your business through online sources, such as SEO.
Ability To Grow
We all want to exceed our goals and do so with as little expenditure as possible. This said, we must spend where it will produce the best results. Be sure you have invested in enough business availability to accept an influx of phone calls, visits, emails, etc. The best advice I’ve been given is to set goals for growth and plan how you will achieve that growth. Sounds simple, right? Not always the case. That takes a lot of trial and error, planning and preparing for your growth. Once you’ve done what you can on the ground level to accept the natural growth your business will receive, it’s time to focus on where you see your business after that. Here are some key questions you can ask yourself before starting any SEO efforts:
1) What areas do you want to grow your business?
2) Are you staffed in that area to accept growth?
3) How will you handle the new demands from customers?
4) How will you best interact with your new customer?
5) Who is your target market?
6) How will you measure growth?
Answer thoroughly and detailed, make sure your prep work is done and then focus on your SEO efforts. You will be much happier with your results once this is done.
Call To Action / Conversion Goals
If you will be focusing on SEO, or helping people find your website / business online, you should be absolutely sure your website is set up to function in a way that it will move your customer to want to interact with you. To do this, you must first decide the best call to action. This could be downloading a file from your website, filling out a form, calling your location, purchasing a product from your website, mentioning or liking your business on social media, etc.
Once you’ve created this call to action, or conversion goal, make sure your webmaster has made it super easy for your website visitors to perform this action. This means from every web page, you should be able to achieve your goal.
When your website is a fully functional website to help your business meet it’s goals, then you’re one step closer to being ready to start focusing on SEO.
Solid Social Presence
Social Media tends to have a love it or hate it kind of relationship with us humans. From a business perspective, if you have a goal for growth, social media involvement (key word = involvement) should be a no-brainer. i.e. when you ask people to interact with you online, but aren’t allowing them to do so through the outlet of their choice (social) you’ll lose out on business that’s ready for you.
In this age of technology and media overstimulation, I fully understand the desire to rebel. This said, create your business growth plan accordingly. If you choose to not participate in social media, be sure you minimally have an awesome website that will provide your customers with some sort of reason to visit or interact with your business. Ideally you will have a solid online presence, including a few key social media sites that will show your customers you want them to interact and that you want to interact with them. Be available, be current and communicate in as many channels as you can.
Lets get back to basics. Your business be profitable before you invest in any sort of customer building efforts, including SEO. When I say profitability, I mean profitability, not cash flow. It is possible to have fantastic cash flow, but low profitability. At the end of the day, if you’re not making money after your expenses, something needs to change with your business plan.
Start by looking over your profit & loss statement (P&L). See where your current profit margin is and where you’d like to see it. Then, explore ways you can a) cut expenses and b) increase sales to help you meet this profit goal. This can be a long process to refine and see continual results, but is crucial to achieve first in your existing business before pursuing more.
Once you’ve created a steady profitability within your business, it makes perfect sense put some elbow grease into customer recruitment ideas, like SEO.
Let’s recap. There are five key business traits needed before it makes logical sense to invest in SEO. These are (in no particular order) customer retention, ability to grow, call to action/conversion goals, solid social presence and profitability. None too easy to master but all crucial for sustainability. Follow this guide and you’ll be on track for fully experiencing how SEO can help your business grow.
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