I can't begin to tell you how many conversations I have with current and prospective clients who think there are "tricks" to SEO.
They throw the term around like it's some magic potion behind the scenes that will get them to #1 across a vast range of Google searches. Heck: I even had one client who we are building a site for say they want to be launched by September 1 and ranked #1 in Google for all their keywords in Boston by the end of the month.
Delightful as that sounds, it just doesn't happen. And that gross misperception causes challenging conversation after challenging conversation. Clients who subscribe to this misperception are adamant that there are tricks that will get them that #1 position they thirst for so they "don't have to waste money on paid search". They also think once they are there, thanks to this unseen magic, they'll stay there forever more without ongoing efforts to build quality content, connect through social channels, publish white papers, and so on.
They take care in building the interior of their business carefully with decor, signage, lighting, furniture, etc. They invest in keeping it clean and neat and reflective of what they do. They occasionally upgrade the interior of their business to keep it welcoming and fresh.
But what happens if they do all that, and then fail to reach out to the community and market? Does anyone come in? If they deliver poor service, does anyone tell their friends and neighbors to come in? Do they not have fixed costs like electricity, telecommunications, etc.?
When they market, do they do so in one place and not multiple places? Do they develop a consistent, clear message?
Once we run through the offline business, it's easier for people to see that "SEO" is really about building the proper foundation - the right architecture to build a building that will stand for ages - but it is the whole of business activity that breathes life into the business. SEO is not a magic process that perpetually takes care of itself.
ClickAwayCreative just got fired by a client this afternoon.
We deserved to get fired, too.
One of the foundations of what we do - what I believe - is that business is people. The value that I drive with business is in communicating clearly, voluminously and transparently (as much as I am coming to despise that term). Let's say honestly instead of transparently. It is in learning about the challenges the people with a business face, and in working collaboratively to find solutions that lighten those loads. It is in seeking success that we grow both of our businesses.
So where did I go wrong with this client? I undervalued the complexity and specificity of the solution they were looking to build. I undervalued the expertise and resource they would require of me and my team to reach - and to exceed - those goals. I treated them like a favor for a friend, and they deserved to be treated better than that. They deserved to be treated with the same dedication I give all my "real" clients - clients who, I am blessed to say, often become very important to me as people above and beyond their importance as business clients.
I wish this former client nothing but the very best - and I am grateful for the lessons taught by her courage to kick my small company to the curb. While our dismissal hurts my business, it helps us do business better as we grow.
What happens when you combine a Tempur-Pedic Elite Retailer with the world's finest mattresses handcrafted in England and Sweden by masters at both Hastens and Vi-Spring?
And then what happens if you add Copeland Furniture, Murphy beds, custom pillows from The Pillow Bar, and natural, organic bedding and accessories from Coyuchi?
And then what happens when you put over 50 years of sleep expertise behind all these world-class brands - people who are dedicated to helping you get the very best sleep of your entire life?
Well - what happens is that you get the best sleep from thebestsleepstores.com - that's what!
We've had the pleasure of working with the fine folks at Sleep. You Deserve More in San Jose for the past year, more or less, and we are especially thrilled to have just launched their new site that combines their entire lineup of mattresses, bedding and accessories in one place - and we would like to invite you to pop on over and check them out online before you plan your trip to one of their two locations (in San Jose's Santana Row and in Campbell) if you're anywhere within a 50 mile radius of San Jose, California.
Now, after all that hard work, it's time for a nap. :-)
(Download a PDF and print it for yourself!)
This morning, as I woke up exceptionally early and started to work, I had a thought about how to set expectations for the day ahead.
Usually, I begin my day by reviewing my task list, then lining things up in order of a fluid scale of importance that changes by deadline, resource, effort and resource. Sometimes a quick project will take front-and-center as it can be checked off quickly and easily. Other times I have an abundance of energy and choose to tackle a complex project. Other times a project requires coordination, which invites me to tap into less comfortable tasks like making phone calls.
Anyway, as this morning began to unfold, I had the thought that, rather than approach my day as a blank canvas, I would raise the level of my expectations by choosing my perspective.
So far, I have been unusually productive. I have enjoyed relaxed, pleasant conversations with a number of clients. I have been surprised by the ease with which I have accomplished a number of items on today's list.
So tomorrow's plan? After today, I will be setting the same expectation for how I approach the day. I will "invite delight", and see what blossoms!