Why SEM & SEO Might Not Be The Answer

This is a post that you likely wouldn’t see many Search Engine Optimization & Marketing professionals writing, but honesty compels me to write it!  SEO is effective and every website needs to be working on their search engine marketing/optimization strategy, but sometimes it’s necessary to back the truck up and look at more foundational business principles first.

In order for any business to market itself online or offline, the first step is to ask two basic questions.  These two questions are so foundational to any business venture, that it’s nearly impossible to market in any form, without knowing the answers to them.

Who Are We?

This seems like a pretty straightforward question, but there’s more to it than you would think.  When answering the “Who Are We?” question, you need to be fairly specific.  Let me give you an example of what I mean.  If you are a clothing store, when you answer the question of “who are we?”, what would you say?  Would you say “we sell clothes?”  Not likely!  You would most likely say something more descriptive such as “We carry the finest quality, imported women’s fashions, at affordable prices.”   This answers the question of “who are we?” much more adequately.  Conveying a thorough message like this gives your customers what they need to know about your business in a nutshell.

When a company seeks to hire someone to help with SEO, the SEO company needs to know the answer to that question as well.  It’s troubling though, when a business isn’t able to answer the question adequately because they’ve never taken the time to think about it and narrow it down.  Part of knowing who you are as a business also involves knowing who you are not as well.

If a business doesn’t know who they are, they also have no idea who their customers are and without knowing that, all marketing efforts are fruitless.  It boils down to having a laser-focused idea of who you are and who your customers are.  When you know that, you won’t waste time and marketing dollars on worthless things.  Small businesses are often most guilty of this because in an effort to be busy, they try to become all things to all people, instead of having a laser-focused idea of who they are and who their customers are.

What’s Our Message?

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous question.  Once a business determines who they are, they are then able to determine who their customers are.  Armed with this information, the next logical step is to determine what their message is.  Their message is the “what” that gets communicated to their prospective customers and target market and it needs to be appropriate for the target market.  The message needs to be appealing to the target market, it needs to resonate with them and it needs to call them to action.  Without those elements, it’s not really a great message.  A message that resonates, makes them feel good but doesn’t call them to action isn’t a great message either.

Wrapping It Up…

If you’re a small business, before reaching out to an SEO Company for help in increasing your search engine rankings, take some time to think these two questions through.  Know who you are and what your message is.  This information will ensure your search engine marketing & SEO strategy will see more fruitful results than just randomly spreading a bunch of links and poor quality ads around the internet hoping that something works.


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