Part 3 of a 3 part series: a review of this users experience at Startup Conference Seattle 2012
How to Earn Customers Without Spending a Dime
Rand Fishkin, Founder and CEO of SEOmoz, is not only smart and personable and his commitment to transparency is evidenced in his slides. He shared the financial story of SEOmoz WHICH is projected this year to earn over 18 million in revenue for the online SEO software tools it creates and maintains, so that customers big and small can improve their organic positions in search results.
You and I and even big ol’ Dell will pay $99 a month for membership and access to the brilliance of SEOmoz’s Brain Trust on Organic Search and how to get it for yourself!
What Rand did right from the beginning was to develop a passion into a service that in time became a product ANYONE could access and all the while he cultivated a passionate community of users who appreciated him as he appreciated them. I remember using SEOmoz tools when they were free and I see value in being a paying member.
- He shared that he has never spent a dime on paid search.
- He shared that 35 billion was spent on paid search for 18% of the click thrus.
- He shared that Google Search grows at 18% a year–organically.
That means there is a big and wide opportunity for attracting customers who find you through their search. Why buy customers when there are DIY ways to attract them that are low or no cost, organic and grass roots? It is about thinking like the searcher and tracking what works and what didn’t.
I loved the definition of search he offered. Search = “I want this thing right now.”
So besides becoming a member/user of SEOmoz what can one do to attract customers without spending a dime?
- Realize a need (for which you are the solution)
- Do research on search acting like the searcher (explore and take note of what you discover)
- Ask some friends how do they search (again, starting with people you KNOW)
- What tactics would earn you people’s attention to start a relationship? (may they earn people’s business for you)
The Bottomline: It’s about Content. Content influences everything (and people). Content comes in many forms too. Content that takes into account key words is smart. Content that inspires community and conversation online is golden. Content and community that inspires trust and connection and gets distributed virally is really golden. Product developed out of this collective conversation that solves big problems is bound to be well-received. It starts with listening to what people are asking for and how they ask for it.
The Writer and Marketeer and Community Builder that I do my best to be was grinning from ear to ear. Why? Because each Tuesday at the Writers Support Group for the Reticent Blogger (that I have now facilitated for two years and counting) I am in my words “preaching” the same message. Build strong relationships by the content we create and share and in the dialogue that follows and ALWAYS be real and generous and transparent and see what is attracted to you.
Content. Community creates Content. Product may be the Content. Or Distribution may be the Content. It all serves as Content that people may be compelled to talk about and share which brings potential customers to you who are INBOUND and with less outbound marketing effort on your part.
The Truthiness Is
Search (done by Real People) continues to grow.
Social (media activity and participation) is discovery prior to interest and demands great content and rewards it.
Social (media activity and participation)can spread a message like nothing else
Social (media activity and participation) has a huge influence on search and how people change the way they do it.
The Short List mentioned by Rand at this gathering:
Stumbleupon (believe once upon a time I opened an account)
Reddit (uhm, can I handle one more on my list!)
Digg (yes, I digg it.)
Delicious (great name I always thought_
Tumblr (may make my future short list)
Twitter (still hasn’t enchanted me, though I know it is time to say yes to that relationship)
Wikipedia (my favorite resource!)
Pinterest (gaining eyeballs daily!)
Quora (here begins the conversion funnel says Rand)
So what is an ambitious but busy entrepreneur (like me) with a great idea or two (and some great collaborators)to do to be found by potential clients and advocates?
Blog – check!
Social networking – check!
Social Bookmarking – on my way
Post Video – not there yet
I am (for the present) good with my 2.5 our of 4 key activities as suggested by the Creator of the web’s most popular SEO software for the DIYer. And I think I will read The Art of SEO while on winter break in Denver!
Remember says Rand: A lot of conversion comes from soft metrics: Content, Search and Community.
I SO agree with that. Which makes me intensely curious: how do I improve “searchability” on the community blog I co-founded (with y’all) that is filled to the gills with awesome content?
AND, it’s only 11am and there are six more compelling topics awaiting a room of eager listeners… (this attendees review of her experience to be continued after a short intermission and coffee break!)
(My advice reader: If there is a Startup Conference coming to your city, run, don’t walk to register early)