Here are my notes – likely biased towards what can your WEBSITE do for you (as a consultant).
Why market your business?
How to communicate (your message about your business)?
How to measure your results?
David comes up with a strategic marketing plan for his clients. His marketing efforts bring sales leads to his clients. It’s up to his client to close the sale.
- Glorify your strengths
- Provide success stories
- What distinguishes you compared to your peers?
See more about branding below. And more below about “why would your customers choose you?”
Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing (e.g. Google AdWords) MAY be worth the cost and effort if it’s done correctly. (One or two others in the audience indicated AdWords never paid off for them.) David said it worked for him, if the (landing) page is good in other SEO respects. He has no evidence of PPC value for consultants.
- “one-stop” solution works for a niche business though.
- Also PPC works better for early users of those keywords. It Makes sense: if you are one of the few who works in a field, PPC helps clients find YOU. But if you’re one of many, the keywords get expensive because … there are MANY pages that could be good results for the Google searcher.
WHY WOULD YOUR CUSTOMERS CHOOSE YOU?
The answer can reveal factors that differentiate you from your competition.
About me (freelance web developer), I’m not really sure, but here are some ideas, based my conversations with actual clients and on feedback from potential clients:
- I’m friendly
- I’m local to the area so we can meet in person, or at least in the same time zone
- My prices are reasonable
- They like the look of my reference websites
Testimonials I should highlight:
- It’s amazing how many solutions you have on hand to solve problems (technical expertise)
- I’m sure glad you knew how to restore my website (got hacked, web host shut it down)
- I don’t necessarily have time to, or remember how to, update my website, but I do like knowing that I could update my website
I observe that the testimonials I add to my own clients’ websites, builds my confidence in working with them. Thus, I would like to add back a testimonials section to my own website (http://surfpix.net/web). Short term, in the description of each of my reference websites, I could post a link to the client’s Yelp review — if I’ve got one for that client. Especially for the “unpreferred” reviews, which are legitimate but Yelp hides them.
Back to David’s talk …
Team up and plan: A consultant should spend most of her time working at what she’s good at (or wants to be good at) and hire a pro for other biz tasks, to be cost effective. E.g. hire a marketing pro.
Objective Key Results: given an objective, what are the key results, that will let you know you’ve reached your objective.
The Objective Key Results should be SMARTER:
Branding helps an existing client to learn more about who you are, which can lead to the client giving you more leads or more projects. The same for your competitors: if they know what you are good at, they may give you leads if they have too much work. (Because we only give out leads that we expect to be successful, our reputation depends on the quality of our recommendations as well as our own work.)
Your online marketing efforts should drive traffic to your website.
Carol’s thoughts on website purposes: Different clients have different purposes for their websites, which can include:
- Credibility: prove you are a real business, serious about taking on projects:
- just by the fact that you have a website
- or show off your work/expertise as well, like in a portfolio or blog
- Get people to call you to learn more
- Provide information (e.g. a non-profit which wants to educate the public on a certain topic)
Sean Murphy’s four tips to get your website or pages found on Google:
1) Access the URL over HTTPS – Google penalizes websites that don’t provide this secure way of transmitting website data – meaning the website’s listing will appear lower in the search results list
(Carol’s tip: depends on your web host – you can buy a certificate from your web host for about $50/year and have them install it, or recently some web hosts offer a free “Let’s Encrypt” certificate as part of their hosting package.)
2) Make sure your website responds quickly – find out what Google thinks by running its web page speed tool (PageSpeed, at https://developers.google.com/speed/ or https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/
I gave the tool a try on several websites. It rates your website speed compared to the industry average for website categories from which you can choose. It suggested some things I CAN improve, other things that would be difficult to improve on a CMS website (because I don’t have control over them). It gives links to learn more, why the factors affect website response time etc.
3) Set the web page descriptions for Google to pull up (rather than letting it create a default description from the web page content).
- Sean says there are several ways to do this.
- I set it in the description meta tag of the page, which Joomla lets you set as part of editing a web page.
- It looks like core WordPress does NOT expose how to set a page’s meta description. However the popular Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress will let you set it.
4) Use a single keyword 2-3-5 times (no more) based on the page size.
- You can use a Google keyword tool to analize a page. This might be the tool he means: https://adwords.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/
- For more info, this article from Aug 2015 looks good: https://yoast.com/keyword-research-tools/
MORE ABOUT KEYWORDS
Sean Murphy gave three keyword count tools:
2) SEMrush: “all-in-one marketing toolkit for digital marketing professionals”
- They ask a question relevant to every website owner: What makes your rankings go up when you’re done with the on-page SEO?
- They offer a PDF to answer the question: “Ranking Factors Study 2.0,” which you may download in exchange for providing your contact info.
- Direct traffic is the top ranking factor these days (June 2017)
- They offer an updated version to find more off-page SEO factors (they don’t say what the factors are)
3) Yoast SEO WordPress plugin
- helps with on-page SEO
- keyword stats, meta description for posts, pages and categories
Look at the content on a web page. Use natural language. Pick key phrases to be highlighted for each page. Talk to the website owner to find out what those phrases are.
Tip: you may copy public info to your website, e.g. a LinkedIn recommendation or a Yelp review (I’d give credit to the source though.)
2) Search Engine Marketing
This means getting your business listed in the search engine business listings, like Google Places. Or a partner page for a specific product (for example, a web developer could get herself listed as a recommended integrator for an e-commerce package). Or a legitimate organization that you are a member of and the membership offers services similar to yours, like PATCA or CNSV. David does not mean get yourself listed in a meaningless “link farm” (such as Manta).
A couple of years ago there was a discussion on the PATCA or CNSV mailing list whether getting listed at the BBB or in the Dun & Bradstreet business directory had ever generated referrals.
Google has been ignoring the keywords meta tag for a long time. Instead, use your page keywords in the web page title, meta description and twice in the text of the page itself.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Newsletters: These nurture interest with someone you already know. Send out 1-2 per year.
Which social media venues are best for consultants depends on your target customer. Consider these:
- Google My Business
- Facebook biz pages
- Yelp biz page
- Your own blog