The truth is that each of these pieces plays a part in your online inbound marketing system. So your first step is to understand how they come together and that their ultimate purpose is to help you build your list of repeat clients.
Most stylists and salon owners go about the process of getting setup online by starting in the middle of the process. They start by getting a website built instead of understanding what that website is supposed to do and then having it designed from the beginning to perform that task well.
Habit two from the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, states that you should begin with the end in mind.
I think I told you a while ago — maybe I haven’t, it depends on when you came to the party — that one of the things that I do, and I’m sure most other online folks do, is pay attention to who is saying what online to stay abreast of the latest trends and all that good stuff.
I subscribe to all kinds of newsletters, email lists, all kinds of cool stuff like that, in addition to trolling specific websites to stay abreast. One of the email lists that I’m a member of is from the folks over at Moz. It’s a list called “The Moz Top 10.”
What that is is a collection of articles that they’ve pulled together, some from on their blog, some from elsewhere, that they’ve said are the most relevant, interesting articles for the week. I’ll put a link in the show notes in case you want to subscribe to it. It’s kind of good stuff. It’s a little geekish from time to times, but, still, it might be an interesting read for you.
Anyway, this week, one of the articles that was in this newsletter caught my attention because I’m branching off into search engine optimization for reals this time, as opposed to just doing it as a nicety for people when I put their websites together. The article is by Ruth Burr Reedy.
The name of the article is “What New SEOs Don’t Know Unless You Tell Them — A Reminder from Outside the Echo Chamber.” I was kind of curious. I’m like, “Really? I guess I’m a new SEO. What is it that I don’t know?” It was a pretty good article. But the one that jumped out at me, the paragraph that jumped out at me, that I wanted to bring to your attention, is entitled “What clients don’t know.”
It says, and I quote, “Running a business, especially a small business, is way more than a full-time job. Most business owners these days understand that they need to be doing something for their business online. But once they get beyond ‘have a website,’ they’re really not sure of the next step.”
She says that, “Moving back into agency work after several years in-house, I was surprised by just how many businesses out there have never gone beyond that first step of having a website.” Shall we say online business card?
“The nitty-gritty of building a search-friendly website and driving traffic to it still aren’t that widely known, and without the time or inclination to become experts in marketing their websites, most small business owners just aren’t spending that much time thinking about it,” or, as I like to say, it’s item number 11 on your list of 10 most important things to take care of.
That confirmed for me that, yeah, what I’m doing here, very, very important, because this podcast is all about knowledge. I don’t think that you should be building your own website, but I think you should build a website. As a matter of fact, I think you should understand what that website is.
Getting back to Stephen R. Covey’s, “Begin with the end in mind,” let’s talk about what the end in mind is. Why do you need a website? You don’t need a website just to be sitting online because everyone else has one. It’s a validation that you’re in business. No. That’s not the ticket. The ticket is your website is part of your online marketing system.
There’s people out there that don’t know you exist. Some of the easiest ways to reach them is online, because they’re already out there. They need what you do. If they knew you, they would like what you do, and they’ll pay you and come back over and over again, which leads to the next natural thought.
Your database of customers, those are repeat people, people who have sat in the chair, and who know what you do, and liked what you do. Those are the folks that you need to cultivate. You need to have enough of those people in your queue so that your book stays full. You need to market to them on a regular basis to keep reminding them to come back.
It’s not like what you do is a one-off shot. You have one of those recurring-type businesses, don’t you? People aren’t running out of skin anytime soon, are they? If you color it, roots will show. Yes, they have to come back, which means they have to come back somewhere.
The goal is to get them to keep coming back to you and have enough of them so that when they want to come back, they have to fight because you don’t have any open spaces. At the end of the day, what that does is it forces you into some really cool decisions. Do I raise my prices? Do I get another chair? Get somebody to stand behind that? Do I open up another location?
All these wonderful, great decisions, these hard, tough ones are a result of having a full book. Let’s talk about how this website thing is supposed to do something to help you get to that point. In this episode, we’re going to lay the groundwork. We’re going to talk about the different parts of your online system and where the website fits.
By the time we’re done with that, you’ll have a chance to take a look at what you actually have, because chances are you’ve got some of this stuff. I’m sure you’ve got a little social going on. I know you’ve got a website going on, or you’re thinking about having a website going on. But there may be some other parts, that you don’t have, that you need to have if your online system is to be complete.
This week, we talk about what all the pieces and parts are. Then, starting next week, we will start talking about all the different services that are available out there, all the different things that you can add to your website that help you with all this, because knowledge is power. My goal is to make sure that you know what you need to know.
When you ask somebody to help you build your website, you’ll know exactly what you need, and you’ll know what you don’t need, based on knowledge. Then life will be ducky. Then it’s a bare- knuckles fight with your local competitors to your left and right. But for right now, let’s make sure you understand what all the pieces in the system are.
As I was thinking about this conversation, I realized there’s really only one good spot to start. That’s with the takeaway, the one piece of information that, if you forget everything else, you have to remember. The whole purpose of your entire online marketing system is conversion.
You need to get your system to convert. I’m going to say it like that, your system, because I’m talking about every piece of your system, not just your website. When I say conversion, I’m not sure if you know what I mean by that, so let me elucidate just a little bit. Conversion means getting people to do something.
Depending on where they are in your system, the way they’ve come across your system, there’s different things you need them to do. Let’s start at the very beginning. Invite the guests, set the table, serve the meal. Under “invite the guests,” you basically have four little pieces that you need to take into consideration.
You’ve got your organic search. You’ve got local search. I’m kind of separating those up for a reason. You’ve got your review side of the house. Then, last but not least, you’ve got social. Which one of those platforms you play with in social, because there’s a lot of them, is up for debate. But I think after we discuss it, you’ll say, “Um, OK. It makes kind of sense.”
There’s only a handful that you need to pay attention to, given the amount of time that you’ve got. Each one of these things that we’re going to talk about, somebody, somewhere is willing to take a little bit of your cheddar to take care of it for you. Some people will try and take care of the entire shooting match for you.
It’s up to you how you do that or whether or not you want to play with it a little bit on your own. I don’t know your situation. But if you really want it to be effective, chances are you’re going to outsource it at least a little bit. But you need to understand what’s supposed to be going on. That’s why you need to understand conversion right off the bat.
When we start with talking about this portion of the system, we’re talking about people that don’t know you, people who have never sat in your chair, don’t know you exist. We make the assumption that, for the most part, they know they have a problem or they have an issue that you can solve. They just don’t know you and that you can solve it.
You’re reaching out to them by throwing your net out there and having a nice, huge footprint. That footprint extends across the social sphere. That footprint extends in certain key places in the review side of the house. Specifically, we’re talking Google Plus, as well as Yelp. You know how much I don’t like Yelp, but it is what it is.
Then you have got to make sure that the local SEO piece is taken care of, because it’s one thing to be competing nationally, it’s another thing to be competing locally. It’s two different flavors. Nationally, you’re not worried too much about citations. Locally, citations are very, very big. We’ve talked about them before. Obviously, we’re going to talk about them again.
But in this context, what’s important is you need to understand that when someone is trying to market a service to you that incorporates any or all of these, it’s all about conversion. Chances are they’re going to want to extol all the benefits and leave out that one small thing. They’ll tell you that you have great visibility, yada yada yada. Cool.
But will it blend? Will that convert? Will it bring me bodies? That’s the question. Will it get people to my website, because that’s the main purpose? That’s what you really want them to do, is get to your website, because your website is set up to convert yet again.
Your website has several things on it. We’re going to introduce you to a term that we’ve never used here before, which is a landing page. A landing page is a specific type of page that’s set up to do a specific thing. For you, that’s going to be a little bit interesting, because landing pages are basically the domain of Internet marketers. They can set up a classic landing page.
You may be not so much across the sphere, because you’re going to also get into blogging, which means people are going to come into your website from several different places. You really can’t set up each of your blog pages as a classic landing page. A landing page is a page that has one task, get people to do one thing.
While we do need to do that, there’s going to be too many things on your pages for that to happen, so you’re going to have to be smart about it. Will we get into it? Obviously. But just understand that a landing page is very important.
The blog on your site, very important, because it gives you a chance to go after different people, and different niches, different towns, different areas around where you’re at. It gives you the ability to add pages to your website that are specifically geared to go after specific people who want specific things or live in specific places. That’s why it’s important.
There’s many different ways of blogging, and it’s not all painful. Yes, there are people who will do it for you. The question is, will it convert? That’s the question. I’m going to hit you with one more thing once we get to the end of all this. You’ve got your landing page and then, of course, your call to action.
Your call to action is an integral part of this system. You have to have calls to action, because people need to do stuff, and you have to ask them to do stuff. Let’s back it up, regroup, because I know I’m talking fast. But it’s that kind of an episode.
Invite the guests, those are those four little pieces that need to be in place — search, social, review, citations, and, last but not least, local search. Make sure all those are taken care of. I think I just screwed that up. Let me try that again.
Citation, which is part of the local search, SEO, which is organic search, getting people to see you, reviews, and then social, all those need to be in place. They’re part of your knit. They get the people who don’t know you to find you, regardless of where they’re looking. Then it gets people to your website.
Once they get to your website, you have to have a landing page that’s set up with calls to action on it that gets people to do something, whether that’s to take advantage of a coupon, or some kind of sale that you’re advertising on your site, whether that’s to download a report that addresses a particular question that they have, or whether it’s to sign up for your email list.
The bottom line is success is getting them to do something. Really, really good success is getting them to give you one of the golden permissions, specifically, an email address.
If you’re not familiar with what I refer to as the “four golden permissions,” it’s permission that at any time you can text, snail mail, email, or phone call, that you can a get a hold of the people who are on your list however you need to get a hold of them.
Push messages is also a part of that, but that’s part of apps. We’ll talk about that a little bit later when we get to the next portion of this animal. That’s the second thing that needs to convert. Your website needs to get them to do something.
One, you need to get them to convert, to come to your website. Once on your website, you need to convert them, to get them to do something so that you can continue the conversation, which we’ve talked about before. That takes us to the very last section. This is where we hold on to people. Repeat business, people like what you do.
Unless you burn their hair with something, or whether or not you did something really, really crappy, let’s assume that they enjoyed what you did. They’re going to come back because they still need the service. But you have got to poke them a little bit. You have to remind them. You have to stay top of mind so that you stay into their habit cycle.
That’s where your customer management piece comes in, your lead generation for the people who are in your database. You have have a way of continuing to contact them. You don’t want to beat that up. You send them cool information and all that. There are people who are willing to take care of that for you. There are platforms out there that are willing to do the heavy lifting for you.
All that stuff is out there. It all comes down to that one word, “But does it convert?” Let’s see where we’re at right now so that you can understand this entire piece, because I think we’ve pretty much covered it, even though I shot through it pretty quickly because this is the overview piece.
Invite the guests, set the table, serve the meal. We’ve always said that. But we need you to understand it’s not just your website. It’s everything having to do with your system. You need to bring people from “don’t know you” to “in your database.” You’re trying to get them into your database. If all you have is an email address, that’s fine. You’ll develop that later.
But, step one, get them into your database. That reminds me we actually have to talk about this database thing because we’ve never really dug into that one. That’s coming. I’m not going to hit it today, because I’m kind of up against the clock right now. But different people in your database are addressed and dealt with differently.
There’s people in your database that know you. There’s people in your database that don’t know you. You have got to send different stuff to different people. Needless to say, there’s a method to that madness. We’ll get into that, because I want you to be smart. You may not do it, but I want you to make sure you understand what whoever is doing it for you is doing.
Invite the guests, set the table, serve the meal, the pieces in your online marketing system, the net that gets them. Social, reviews, citations, local SEO, search SEO, organic search. That’s one.
Then, once they get to your website, the platform has got to be set up to do what the platform needs to do. Landing pages that get them to do a single thing, calls to action that get them to do a
single thing, blogging platform that reaches out to different people who are looking in different places for different things to bring them into your sphere, all those different things need to be in place.
Yes, somebody is willing to let you pay them for that. But it’s got to convert. Last but not least, once they’re on your website, they need to give you one of the four golden permissions. You need to find a way with your website to tweak it to make sure it does this thing.
Get them to give you their contact information so you can put them into your database, so that you can develop them into customers that come back. Once they’ve sat in your chair, the conversation is not over. Then you have to continue to market to them and develop your system so that you have more, and better, and faster ways to contact them.
Then, provide them with good stuff, stuff that makes them say, “Of all the different places I’m gonna go to get my hair colored, of all the different places I’m gonna go for my anti-aging facial, of all the different places I’m gonna go to get my eyelash extensions, for all the different places I’m gonna go to get my waxing/laser what-you-call-it on.”
“I think you know what I’m talking about. This is the place to go. These are the people to go to.” You become greater amongst equals. It’s a system. You would to build it, and then maintain it. Then it will help you fill your book.
All right. Before I get out of here, let me remind you of a couple of things. I am your Internet Sherpa, so if you’re stuck somewhere getting your website built and whatever you’re doing is not working, just give me a call. Let me know what you’ve got going on. Let me help you get over the hump.
If you need somebody to manage your website on a regular basis, you don’t have time to actually add the contents, you’re not quite sure how to do it, maybe someone put the website together for you, and now you’re standing there looking at it, going, “What do I do now?”, give me a holler. It’s kind of one of the core things that I do around here.
The bottom line is if you’ve got any kind of question about you website, any question about your online marketing, you’re not quite sure how to put it together, how to get it going doing all that good stuff, give me a call. I will let you know where you’re at and try and help you get where you’re trying to go because it’s what I do, because I’ve got nothing but love for you.