We all sound the same.
“Data driven marketers laser focused on creating win-win situations, using only the best growth hacking strategies to drive search rankings and ROI.”
You know, because content is King.
We are the webmasters. We are the SEO's. We are the content marketers.
We take something that works for ourselves and turn it into a business.
We are the consultants. We are the agencies. We are the gurus.
We make a name for ourselves and grow our businesses.
We all look the same.
Imagine if your responsibility was to hire an SEO agency
Hiring an SEO agency should be easy, but it is not. Here we check in with Jane as she attempts to navigate the world of SEO.
“Hello. My name is Jane and I am in charge of marketing for ‘Big Badass Business,' you may have heard of us.
We need an expert to help us with SEO.
I'm not sure.
I have a lot going through my head right now!
Here is some background:
We want to take our online business seriously. 2015 is the year we are going to make it happen!
I just read in Entrepreneur.com that SEO requires no technical expertise. And thankfully, SEO is not dead.
All of these articles about SEO seem to conflict with each other. I wonder which one is right?
My head hurts from all of this learning. We better just go hire someone to “do SEO” for us.
How do I find someone to do SEO? Maybe I will search for SEO and see what happens. If someone ranks #1 for SEO, they must be the best.
Ok, that isn’t very helpful. None of these results are for people that do consulting. Just people talking about how I can do SEO for myself. I don’t have any time for that.
On the bright side, I just learned that SEO does require technical expertise from a nice mustached man.
This whole thing is so confusing!
Maybe we should just hold off on SEO for now.”
It is easy to see why Jane is frustrated, but that is just the beginning of it.
In-House marketers are getting bombarded by salespeople every day
As soon as Jane starts looking for service providers, the sharks start to watch her every move.
A new email pops up: It's Donny Dipshit, Head of Sales for Dumbass! A full service digital agency.
We were conducting a routine scan of your website and we noticed you weren’t ranking very well compared to your competition. You are probably embarrassed!
I am not going to guarantee you rankings, but *cough* if you give us 3 to 6 months, I guarantee we will rank you for something.
All results come with a money back guarantee as long as we are in business. While I can’t guarantee we will be in business 3-6 months from now, I get my commission check once you sign your contract, so I don’t really care either way.
What do you have to lose? Other than all of these amazing customers that you will miss because you are a luddite and hate the Internet, cats and memes of sassy black women with places to be and people to see.
Spend 2015 without good search rankings?
VP of Sales
New York | Tokyo | Mumbai
NEW WHITEPAPER: Why you are dumb for not hiring us.
Dumbass! was rated #1 SEO agency by some credible sounding source.”
These emails are appealing at first, but eventually everything sounds the same to Jane.
The phone rings 50 times along with 2.2 million emails from India
Jane receives 20 versions of the same pitch.
Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt.
High pressure sales. Guaranteed results.
Jane's phone never stops ringing.
She learns not to trust unknown phone numbers.
Jane grows tired of the SEO industry very quickly
It doesn't take long for Jane to become frustrated with this entire process. She feels like it is easier to just do nothing at all than to choose the wrong provider. Let's check back in with her thought process at this point.
“Searching for search didn’t work, and I don’t trust unsolicited phone calls or emails. What’s next?
Maybe I should read a book on SEO.
Or attend a conference.
Or take a class.
Or attend a local event.
Or create an RFP and send to every local agency to get them to pitch me and create a free SEO strategy that I can then use to fuel my overall plan, milking honest service providers for ideas and insights while probably choosing the company that my cousin’s daughters college best friend (freshman year) works for.
Or maybe I’ll just continue to do nothing. Seems like everyone in this industry is full of shit, and I know more than these salespeople do.”
We all look the same.
Of course, it's not always much better to be on the agency side either and running an SEO agency isn't all sunshine and rainbows. But let's get back to Jane.
Who does Jane trust in an industry filled with snake oil and snakes?
Let’s look at the tagline for the company that ranks #1 currently for SEO Agency.
Now, compare to a company on page #3.
And another on page #5?
They are saying basically the same thing, because that is what SEO agencies need to do to rank in search. This goes on and on for millions of search results. Millions of services providers saying the exact same thing, all to get on Google’s good side.
We all sound the same.
Individuals stand out from the crowd in the service industry
For Jane to find an agency that she can trust, she has to enter an unfamiliar and unfriendly world.
It's like entering the dating scene. She views profiles (if only it were easy to swipe agencies left or right). Eventually, she might find a spark. Recommendations from friends are welcomed.
It is easy to fall for a smooth sales pitch in the beginning, but Jane quickly learns to keep her guard up after getting burned a few times.
The most successful agencies are those who develop relationships and establish trust. Trust often comes down to the chemistry with individuals.
Jane is really trying to buy the time of people she trusts.
We are all different.
Earning trust is more important than being skilled in SEO
The most recognizable SEO personalities probably do not spend much time doing hands-on SEO anymore. At least not the way they did before fame and fortune.
They realized long ago that building their own personal brand was far more valuable to them than worrying about algorithm changes.
Algorithms are temporary. Brands survive.
How could they be focusing on SEO, when their speaking schedule leaves no time to breathe? How could they be focusing on SEO when they are writing several articles a week?
The most well known SEOs are probably not the best SEOs, and there is nothing wrong with that.
They have earned trust, and are at the top of mind whenever a new company is looking for an SEO service provider.
Expertise aside, many companies are still throwing money at them, because they want to work with the best.
Don’t have enough work? Nobody trusts you.
Imagine Jane's company operates in the same city you call home.
She searches for SEO services and educates herself on agency providers. She listens to unsolicited sales pitches. She reads blogs. She asks her colleagues for recommendations. She attends conferences and meetups.
She contacts several companies to hear their pitches.
Where would you end up on that list?
Nowhere to be found, because your brand is not established enough to be noticed. You lack the personal reputation, credibility and relationships to be included in the search.
Take a different approach and gain outsized rewards
If you want to do business with Jane, start building a relationship today.
Focus on building trust with her and several potential clients. Plant seeds for long lasting relationships.
Share your expertise with Jane and help her navigate the confusing world of SEO. Don’t be afraid to be different.
Finding SEO services doesn’t have to be frustrating for Jane, especially when she can turn to someone she can trust.
The person looking for SEO services isn't the problem. Jane isn't the problem.
Our approach is.
We all sound the same.