If you could put every business owner who has hired and Internet Marketing firm in a room together with Internet Marketing/SEO Providers, the conversation would be interesting.
Perception and expectation is just about everything in this business. No matter how many times a business is told there are no guarantees in whether their website will show up for ‘x’ number of search terms on the front page of a search engine such as Google, the expectation always remains and the SEO company is lousy if that expectation isn’t met.
If one asks any of these above businesses whether they made more money and whether they tracked where extra income came from (phone calls, emails, whether more traffic came to their website, more people became aware of their brand from social media or ads) most business owners would make an excuse and say no or we plan to.
Making Small Business Owners Happy
Why are important matters like the above over-looked by small business owners when less important details such as whether the company’s website was on page one for this one particular search term or the color on the website is the right shade of fuchsia? It may have to do with the ability to feel in control over small things and the power of obsessing and focusing on something small and that is within our understanding rather than the bigger picture which can seem overwhelming.
Managing expectations can be difficult when one doesn’t even know what they want. The belief on behalf of the SEO/Internet Marketing company is that the business wants to make more money and grow their business – after all – isn’t that why most people are in business? But surprisingly this doesn’t seem to be the case in the end.
Here are some common statements heard in this industry:
“I don’t care if I made $300,000 more, I probably would have made that without you – the problem is you didn’t get us on page one for this particular term.”
SEO Companies answer, but we did get you on the first page for these five other terms which led to direct sales and that extra $300,000 you made – but this won’t matter because the expectation wasn’t completely addressed from the beginning.
SEO Companies may also hear?
“My competitor is selling more widgets than me, I see more people in his store when I drive by.”
Answer. We did some research and discovered that the competitor did sell more widgets but also spent more money in doing so.
For instance, if the competitor sold $400,000 worth of widgets and spent $250,000 to sell those but you sold $300,000 and spent only $30,000. Did your competitor really win or are they doing a better business than you?
What Is Your Company’s Return On Investment
Business owners fail to take into consideration opportunity costs and cost per acquisition. Bottom line, how much money is going into your pocket at the end of the day and if one marketing company can help you achieve this in a way that is better than where you were before, is this not a win?
As mentioned above, are you more focused on whether more people are walking in your store than the profit you are earning? Are you more focused on whether your website shows up in the search engine above your competitors rather than the number of people you are converting to a sale who even come to your website? If you are honest with yourself as a business owner you might have to raise your hand and admit guilt. That’s okay, there is always time to turn things around and put your focus on details that matter.
Are You Recognizing Results And Acknowledging Them
Last, if you begin to pay attention to true results and begin acknowledging them, also take time to acknowledge what it was that brought you these results. A common characteristic among business owners that is unfortunately more true than not is owners forget to recognize why they are where they are today.
For instance, have you had an amazing employee or set of employees who make your business what it is? Do you have a loyal customer base that is willing to do business with you despite the fact you might cost more than everybody else? Do you have family members who invested in your business from the beginning and helped you get your start. And of course, have you hired contractors and or marketing firms who have helped you repair damage done to your business, increase your branding or traffic, or brought any benefit to you? If so, recognize that this happened so that you can repeat that which works and set aside that which doesn’t work. Recognition will take your company a lot further than denial and lack of appreciation.
The Art of Business Requires Honesty and Self Reflection
If one steps back and examines their business or the business of others, this is what they might see. So often good employees go unnoticed and bad employees remain forever with a company. Quality contractors or subcontractors are stepped on while large corporations that take all your money and give little back are praised (mostly because of their size rather than their results). Good money is thrown after bad and nobody wants to step up and make big changes.
How do you change all of this? Become a scientist when it comes to running your business. Take notice of what theories you put into place and then measure their results. If what your try doesn’t work, make a lot of notes and try something else. Keep trying until what you create works. It is that simple. There are a number of great books on the market showing one step-by-step details on how to do just this – they include The Lean Startup, The Startup Owners Manual and other Lean methodologies.
As business owners ourselves, we have to put our company through the same processes. We too have to step back and try to be as nonobjective as possible when looking at our failures, losses and even our accomplishments. Wanting to always be the best we can be, we continue this process every quarter. Will we be perfect – probably not but we do strive for perfection nonetheless.
What about your business? How do you feel it ranks? Would it be on the first page?