I’m on Twitter and often get followers who use some key phrase they like and if I’ve said the same phrase, they follow me. Mostly they want me to follow them back, with the idea being the more followers, the more you can market yourself. In any event, I end up doing a lot more web surfering and being exposed to a much greater variety of people and websites as I amble through my followers websites, deciding if I want to follow them, or purely for curiousity.
I’ve been spending countless hours organizing my thoughts for my NEW CD WEBSITE TRAININGS, which ,by the way, are now on my website for purchase, though the real launch is in a few days at the big Smart Marriages Conference. In my panic moments I think to myself, “all this stuff is out there already, why would anyone bother buying my stuff?” I gasp in horror at the moxy I have to waste all this time with the belief I have anything unique to say.
And then, as usual, I calm down again. I get great feedback on my trainings (taught a couple hundred people so far.) I have PROVEN results, so I must know something! And, ultimately, anything you buy comes down to WHO the person is, WHAT do they have to say, and WHY would you listen to them over others.
This is where I have a super small niche that helps me. I’m not everything to all people. I’m interested in the “helpers” of the world, therapists and marriage educators, getting their wisdom out to the people they serve. This means I need to help them connect to the people THEY are trying to serve and in the process show, through my own experiences, how you can do that. Afterall, I AM RIGHT NOW connecting countless couples to great therapists (on the Marriage Friendly Therapists website.) And I’m finally, after so much wasted money, connecting to thousands of engaged couples. The same couples that I was not finding through traditional advertising and the same couples I almost gave up on before I learned about search engine optimization.
I also believe I do a good job keeping the holistic picture of what a website is and can be. I have friends who hire SEO consultants and I just see them spinning their wheels, taking the literal tidbits of advice and implementing small things. But with my more holistic vision and my expertise in the people I serve, I always step back and look at the bigger picture. For example, my friend believed if she had things locked away behind membership (which was free), she would “tempt more brides into registering.” Not only wasn’t it working, but she was actually LOSING some of the appeal of her website, which was a whole set of cool features, tools, and content! I did web traffic analysis and she was absolutely shocked at how few people were reading pages she had spent hours and hours creating. (She was also super mad that her SEO consultant never taught her any of the stuff I was telling her… well, SEO consultants aren’t teachers! One of many reasons why I’m excited to have my CD’s.) We had to talk about the bride, who her SEO consultant had no idea about. Brides are oversatured with registrations, deals, vendors pounding down their door. They expect free information and they don’t expect to have to register for places. So as soon as we unlocked a lot of her material, I saw an instant improvement in how people used her website. None of that was particularly “SEO” focused, but it certaintly impacts her bottom line if the people who DO find her from her search engine work stay or come back because of everything she has on the website.
About experts being silos, I just read a fascinating article in Fast Company about branding experts trying to invent a new product so they could wholly own the entire process and profits. The article talked about how branding and marketing experts tend to never see the full, frustrating, exhausting glory that is “you and me”, those of us stuck with all the work behind the scenes, not just coming up with cool slogans, branding, and copyediting to sell stuff. “Doers” like you and me are stuck literally finding credit card processing companies, mailing products, doing bookkeeping, buying new ink for our printers, reading Google Checkout to figure out how to add shipping to my darn products….. But people who consult with us can swoop in, give ideas, and leave again, never really having to know our entire process. So if you couldn’t already guess, the branding people made horrendous mistakes when they tried to actually implement their ideas. It made them more humble and ultimately more respected by their marketing clients because now they were closer to the ground.
This brings me then, back around to why I stop having panic attacks and believe wholeheartedly in what I have to offer. I have no plans to ever stop “DOING” my websites, which means I will never stop going through all the excitement, annoyance, frustration and work involved in keeping up a website that is designed for the people I’m serving. All those identical emotions YOU face on YOUR website. I will have to add NEW skills to “market to people wanting to market themselves”, but hopefully people will realize that it’s more powerful to listen to someone going through what they’re going through, than to listen to someone whose entire expertise is “marketing the idea of marketing.”
And marketing the idea of marketing brings me to my final realization. You have plenty of places to find sales and marketing 101. That is not a problem. The problem is getting the website to even get enough traffic, be organized enough, with enough great content and/or products so that the SALES PITCH WORKS! I teach a lot about websites but I avoid going into heavy sales and marketing stuff because I feel that is already well taken care of by others. What isn’t taken care of is the nitty gritty of how a therapist or educator can actually get a website running well. Or your duty as a “helper” to actually do more than offer sales pitches… but to use your website to actually HELP! My belief is the more you help, the more people will want your services and the less you’ll have to feel like a super star marketer, which you aren’t.
Enough rambling for tonight. I am launching my products online with a $50 off deal if you buy the set of CD’s. The entire set is useful to EVERYONE from those who don’t have a website to those who have a huge, long-standing website. Smart Marriages folks should wait for the even better deal at the conference!
And I promise you, my blog reader, that I will always continue to blog with real help and thoughts, not just try to get you to buy my stuff. I will say however, the CD’s are designed so you get MORE out of what I say because you have a good grasp of the concepts. But either way, I am doing my mission and vision I have for you, which is to HELP those who may never seek your services.