Honestly, I kind of just fell into the world of SEO and online marketing. My agency began with a focus on Video production and website design. At the time I was traveling the country playing with my band and working for a local church. My small business was birthed out of a need to create some extra income. When one of my website clients asked if I could use the same online tactics I was using to promote my shows for his company’s website, I answered with a confident “Yes?” Five years after I began working with my first search marketing client, my once little video focus businesses, was a growing local SEO agency, helping more than twenty small businesses in my small town of Melbourne, FL reach new prospects online.
For those of you familiar with the industry, SEO and search marketing is constantly changing. Each year SEOs have to wade their way through countless number of search algorithm updates and decipher how or if they will impact their strategy. But there is one major change that has shifted the SEO industry like no other. A change that is extremely unpredictable and is challenging the very way online marketers preform their trade. This change has even caused the search engine themselves to take a look at how they deliver results and award rankings. The change? How everyday people are using the internet to find solutions to their challenges.
In order to attract the right leads we must think about the searchers intent and not just rely solely on keywords and phrases. Each industry and audience is unique, so we have to treat them as such. Further more, we live in a world that is mobilized. So we have to tailor our SEO and search marketing strategy to meet their needs. For instance, 56 percent of mobile searches are from users seeking local information, like business hours, directions, and a physical address.
You also need to throw in the fact that search engines are becoming more intelligent than ever before. Each time a user searching on Google, the results they are shown have a number of factors involved, including that user’s past search history. As a digital marketer who focused mostly on creating focused local SEO strategy, these changes caused me to look for new, and better ways to help my agency and my clients get the exposure and ROI they needed to grow their businesses.
This year I took a risk. I decided to drop my other jobs and obligations and put that energy into running and growing my agency. Unfortunately, I had one problem, my agency needed to make more money. While I spent years promoting other businesses, I had lacked in marketing myself. If I was going to grow, I needed to expand my reach.
I also decided that with this new change I was going to “re-brand” as SMA Marketing. This meant, in a lot of ways, starting over. While I had established myself as a pretty good technical SEO, I knew that in order to really grow my business I needed to add and expand my knowledge of internet marketing.
After much research and consideration, I pulled the trigger and became a Hubspot partner. This was the first step in transitioning from a local SEO agency into a full fledge inbound marketing agency. What Hubspot gave me was much more that just a software platform. They show me a process that works. They shared with me a methodology for success and one that I could share with my clients and prospects as well.
This Inbound Methodology was the missing link in my online marketing efforts. While a technical SEO strategy is important to creating a healthy website that earns good rankings, it’s only a piece of the puzzle. Effective inbound marketing strategies are based on in-depth buyer person research. Research that allows for a marketer to create a customized campaign that is focused on creating value added solutions to a prospects challenges. By developing buyer personas, we were able to better understand our clients and prospects intent when searching online. This allowed for us to create targeted messaging and offers that spoke directly to them. It also opened the door for new possible keywords and phrases to target in our SEO efforts that before we may have ignored.
Embracing the inbound methodology has proven to be a risk that paid off big time, and not just in terms of marketing metrics. Each month our average overall traffic growth is 60%. In terms of business metrics, our revenue year to date is up 83%. This is only the beginning for my agency and there are some exciting things we are looking forward to starting at the beginning of next year. SEO is still a huge part of the game, but in order to turn the traffic you drive into business, a more comprehensive approach may be needed.
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