Last week I talked with a small business owner. She had just spent $6,000 over the past 4 months for search engine optimization services – which was a significant budget item. Of course, the SEO company was sending her ecstatic reports about her improved positions for targeted keywords, and increased click-throughs to her site.
So I asked her “How are all these new visitors responding to your site? Are they taking a good look around, or are they leaving immediately? Are you getting more calls and leads? Do you know which of the keywords that you’re optimizing for are performing best for you, and whether any are a waste of effort? Do you have any idea of what you’re getting back for your $6,000 investment?”
She replied that she didn’t have the answers to these questions, that she’d just assumed that things were going well because that’s what the SEO company was reporting, and then she sighed: “I think we just fell into the classic small business trap!”
Now don’t misunderstand me – I believe that the SEO company was doing exactly what they’d been retained to do.
But this company was only evaluating her success from their perspective – and they’re looking at her business from a pretty narrow silo.
I’ve seen this situation many times. Last year, I spoke for a group which included a manufacturer of kitchen appliances for the restaurant industry. They only sold to the trade, not to individual consumers. Again, they had an SEO company who’d got them to be #1 in search for keywords like “mixer”, and the CEO was thrilled with the increased traffic numbers that the SEO folks reported.
But the Director of Sales told a different story. Because the Website didn’t include any statements about who their customers were, or any language such as “minimum order”, the sales team were spending 25% of their time fielding completely unqualified leads! Now that’s what I call a leak in resources . . .
This type of scenario is why I argue so strongly for a “Website Ambassador” for any company. Outside practitioners (or less experienced employees) who you hire for one specific purpose can’t be expected to understand the ramifications of what they do on every other aspect of your Web presence and your business. Someone needs to have the 30,000ft view to ensure that all of your strategies and tactics are working together to maximize your ROI.
Otherwise, in plugging one leak, you could be creating several others!