If you are taking the time to read this article, then you probably already know that search engine optimization is one of the cornerstones of most successful Internet marketing plans, and that understanding your markeitng personas is crucial to reaching prospects.
For most companies, it's the cheese on pizza – the one thing they know they want as a tool to attract customers online.
With that in mind, it almost seems sacrilegious to ask whether it's possible to completely ignore Google, Bing, and their many smaller competitors. Could you actually structure your online marketing plan to make SEO irrelevant?
Before we get into the answer to that question, it's important to note that forgetting about search engine optimization and marketing isn't something we would normally recommend. When you have one of the top spots for an important keyword or phrase, it can mean a wonderful source to leads or revenue. But, we also realize that there are some businesses that just aren't likely to get a lot of search traffic, either because of the industry they work in or the competition they are up against.
In those situations, there are two things you can do that would make search engine optimization little more than an afterthought:
1. Develop a spectacular direct marketing campaign.
As difficult as it might be to remember, there was a time when people found customers without the help of Google and the other major search engines. What's more, the tactics that were used still tend to work today.
A strong e-mail marketing campaign, telemarketing effort, or even a series of print advertisements can accomplish as much as a profitable search strategy when presented to the right target market. The benefit to each of these is that they tend to give you faster results than you would get by waiting for your site to be indexed and your search rankings to improve.
So, if you have some experience with direct marketing, or are ready to give it your full effort for a while, you might be able to get the kinds of bottom-line results you're hoping for without ever worrying about keywords, meta-descriptions, and other such details.
2. Cultivate a reputation that none of your competitors can match.
Perhaps the only thing better than having lots of customers find you on search engines like Google is having them look for you by name. But, if you become a leading expert in your industry, or simply offer some kind of product or service that others can't, that's exactly what will happen.
Think about it this way: There are certain brands that are so well-known for premium quality, superb customer support, and other benefits that they don't need a lot of search marketing. Their best potential customers have all heard of them already and know the reasons for buying from them.
This is the very best form of inbound marketing, and can put your business in a wonderful marketing position. It takes a lot of time and attention to your image, however, not to mention the quality, service, and reputation associated with what you sell. Is your company up for the challenge?
When you enjoy one or both of these advantages, it's no longer important that Google deliver new customers to your business, since you'll have other proven revenue streams to draw on.
The ironic thing, however, is that they go hand in hand – that is, the more you market directly to people and develop a reputation within your industry, the more buyers are going to talk about you in forums and in social media. Before long, all that attention is going to add up, and your search engine positioning is bound to improve because of it.
So, the decision of whether to enhance your offline marketing with search engine optimization in the short term might depend a lot on what kinds of odds you're facing in the coming months. One way or another, though, doing the right things for your business is bound to help you find more customers over the Internet.