KL & Associates http://www.kennethlewis.com Wed, 23 Apr 2014 01:49:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Interior Design Blogging http://www.kennethlewis.com/2013/interior-design-blogging http://www.kennethlewis.com/2013/interior-design-blogging#comments Wed, 05 Jun 2013 14:34:30 +0000 http://www.kennethlewis.com/?p=3281  

 

I am constantly reading and reviewing interior design blogs for clients and potential clients.  Many ask me:

  • What are the essentials of blogging?
  • What topics should I write about?
  • How often should I post?
  • How should I integrate keywords into a blog?
  • What tags should be included?

 

 

Blogging Advice for Interior Designers

 

AUDIENCE & TOPICS

The most important part of interior design blogging is to be clear on your audience.  For example, when I first started blogging on this site I was primarily writing for the search engines.  My goal was to create valuable content that got online visibility.  That is now a secondary issue as I already have a steady stream of traffic and a plenty of clients.  Now, my goal is to be useful and informative.   Now I am writing for you, the reader, who likely is holding the question that this blog is addressing.

If your website is not getting much traffic, you will want to focus on identifying topics that people search for yet are not overly competitive.  If you are getting traffic, you’ll want to speak to your existing readers.  You’ll want to inform, educate, and/or entertain.  Share your insider perspective which helps them and establishes your expertise.

A great example of this is in the Atlanta interior design firm Nandina Home & Design.  If you explore their design blog you will see that their team takes turns in sharing.  Rather than being one voice they choose the diversity of voices approach, and it works out really well.   Of their past thirteen blog posts they have five different authors.  And, each author is a designer in their firm that shares what is of interest to them.

Whereas John Ishmael’s most recent work is on Interpreting Modern Design, which is educational in nature and exhibits his thorough understanding of modern design principles, Sue Shannon’s most recent article on designing beautiful office spaces is informative and makes a case for investing in interior design for commercial spaces.  This variety speaks to their audience and helps them cast a wider net in the search engines.

Nandina’s blogging approach lets Google know that they are an active business worthy of sending search engine traffic to.   And, it lets their site’s visitors know that they are a dynamic team of professionals with a multitude of specializations, interests, and capacities.

 

FREQUENCY

Their posting frequency of 1-4 times per month is fine.  I would prefer to see a consistent 2x per month than this fluctuating amount, yet it is consistent and that is wonderful.  Here are my suggested minimums for blogging:

  • If you want to be a “power blogger” and have maximum reach: 2-3 times per day. 
  • If you want to be strong in the search engines and be useful to your readership: 2-4 times per month.
  • If you want to maintain a presence so that visitors know that your business is active: once a month.
KEYWORDS
Integrating keywords into your posts is essential.   If you want to heighten your chance of getting your blog visible in search engines you’ll want to identify one or two keywords for each blog and make sure it is in your title tag, header, post (at least 3 times), image names, and tags.  If this is too technical for you then either find a reliable SEO/marketing partner to guide you in the process or do some reading yourself.  Don’t expect that sprinkling keywords will do you much good.  Choose one target, ideally, per page, and work it hard.
For example, let’s say I am writing this blog and now I am at the process of thinking how will my keyword selection help me get visibility and traffic.   I look to my header and see “Interior Design Blogging.”   My keywords are already in place without me thinking of it.  So, now I have to integrate it into the page.   Well, I just used those words again two sentences ago so that is the first time I used it in this article.  But, I need at least three times as a rule of thumb to be noticed for it, so I will go back and change a couple similar phrases to an exact match of that phrase.

Above I wrote: The most important part of blogging is to be clear on your audience.

I have just changed it to: The most important part of interior design blogging is to be clear on your audience.

With that change above and this explanation of it here, I now have my three uses of my keyword phrase.  Technically we call keyword phrases “long-tail keywords.”

To heighten it’s use I can add it in another header.   The header above is using what we call H1 (or header 1) which is my biggest font size for this site and is an indicator to Google of the importance of those words.  I will use these keywords again yet now in an H2:

Interior Design Blogging Advice

interior design blogging

This time I added the word advice because I don’t want the page too look too carefully contrived for SEO.  I don’t want my H1 to match my H2 exactly.  And, it never hurts to have another keyword to open possibilities.

Then I turn to the “title tags” of the page.  These are the words that show on top of your browser window and the ones that the search engines show searchers.  I used the following title tag: Interior Design Blogging | Blogging advice for interior designers

Notice my core long-tail keyword is at the beginning of the title and then I put a pipe | followed by the phrase using the word “advice” that I slid in as a secondary keyword.

If you use tags on your blog you would then want to make tags that reflect your keyword strategy for the page- not the keyword strategy for the site.  So, in this case I would recommend something like:

Tags: interior design blogging, blogging advice, interior design blogs, interior design marketing, blogging advice for interior designers.

Recognizing that the longtail keyword “blogging advice for interior designers” needs a little more support I just went to the top of this article and added it as a heading using my H2 sized font.

Now this article is more optimized than I imagined when I began, and I still was completely loyal to my primary purpose of explaining the art of blogging for interior designers.

My last step will be to write a nice description for this page so that when someone comes across it in the search engines they are enticed to click through and read my writing.  The description tag has nothing to do with SEO so don’t try to stuff keywords into it.  It is all about the searcher’s experience so speak directly to them.

Here is a description that is worthy of this page:  “Interior design marketing specialist explains the basics of writing a design blog including topic selection, frequency, and how to drive traffic to your blog.”

I always write the description after writing the article.

 

Finally, it is best to end a blog with some call for action.  In this case, I’ll simply share with you that my interior design marketing business is now at ClientExpander.com, and I recommend you visit that site if you are looking for professional support in marketing.   As much as homeowners benefit from your professional design support, interior designers benefit from our professional marketing support.  Check us out, here.

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We are now at ClientExpander.com http://www.kennethlewis.com/2013/clientexpander http://www.kennethlewis.com/2013/clientexpander#comments Thu, 16 May 2013 02:58:19 +0000 http://www.kennethlewis.com/?p=3258 For those of you who have arrived on this website looking for our Interior Designer Internet Marketing services you will find us at ClientExpander.com.  ClientExpander.com is dedicated to meeting the Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization needs of interior designers.

With the creation of ClientExpander.com we have also committed to providing Internet marketing services to architects and landscape architects.

 

Kenneth Lewis & Associates is currently serving non-design industry clients.  For more information about what Kenneth Lewis & Associates can provide your non-design business, feel free to contact us here.

If you are wanting the most advanced interior design marketing solutions, then check out ClientExpander.com.  We have already become the industry’s number one provider of Search Engine Optimization services.

This is the logo of ClientExpander.com the Internet Marketing company for interior designers

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Understanding the Two Types of Marketing http://www.kennethlewis.com/2013/interruption-permission-marketing http://www.kennethlewis.com/2013/interruption-permission-marketing#comments Sat, 26 Jan 2013 03:24:05 +0000 http://www.kennethlewis.com/?p=3127 These days us marketing folks classify our efforts into what we call “disruption marketing” and “permission marketing.” I think these ideas are helpful in developing one’s marketing strategies, as the way your message lands on your potential clients is very different in both circumstances, and one is clearly more effective than the other.

“Interruption marketing” refers to reaching out with the aim to interrupt the thoughts and behavior patterns of your targeted audience, to bring their awareness and actions towards purchasing your product or service. It is uninvited and often unwelcome.

This includes: telemarketing, print advertising, direct mail, e-mail spam, and TV/radio advertisements. To do this successfully you need to invest lots of money and appear to be doing it out of abundance rather than out of need.

“Permission marketing” is a much more effective form of marketing. This form of marketing requires that the prospective customer has either given explicit permission for the marketer to send their promotional message (like an email or catalog request) or implicit permission (like querying a search engine).

One is received as a message pushed at you, which could raise defenses. The other is received without defense as one actively choses to receive the message (and can chose to stop them at will by opting-out or not searching).

Whether you are trying to reach clients directly, or if you are trying to create strategic relations that could lead to referrals, it is best to invest your time and money in permission marketing.

There are also skillful ways to mix the two. For example, placing an add for someone to download a free ebook which requires them to opt-in to your newsletter is a way of using disruption marketing to convert people into granting you permission. In this case you are disrupting them to give them something of value for free, instead of to ask them to buy something.  Pushing “let me give to you” is very different than pushing “buy my stuff now.”

Thus, effective disruption techniques often include calls for action that are focused on “likes”, “follows”, and subscriptions, not on directly and immediately making a sale. Sales come when the customer is ready and the provider has proven him/herself trustworthy and capable. That often takes time- a very long time.

The other major permission based method is very different- it is being found in the search engines. We call it permission because you didn’t go to them, they came to you. They search for you, and you simply allowed yourself to be easily found. The great advantage of this type of permission marketing is that the people who find you are looking for your product or service. They are often hot leads, and nothing beats a hot, permission lead.

And, being found at the top of search is perceived to be a reflection of quality.  SEO is a form of public relations.  It creates the perception of excellence for your brand.  It makes prospective clients associate your brand with authority, respectability, competency, and know-how.

That is why SEO has been measured as a 7x more effective investment than print advertising. SEO allows your service to be found by clients.  Advertising is pushed onto someone with attempts to disrupt them and cause them to want to buy. SEO is a discovery process, advertising is a process of being targeted.

I use both styles for my clients. And, there is no doubt that the foundation of an effective campaign for all businesses, including the home vertical, has to be permission marketing: SEO and building up an email/client list, as well as having doing Houzz marketing and/or participating in other social media sites.

When you plan your marketing activities think about it in terms of “interruption marketing” and “permission marketing.” It is easy to buy interruption, yet much more effective to work at or hire someone to cultivate permission.  Interruption targets, permission connects. Interruption pushes, permission befriends. Interruption is telling people you are the best, permission is allowing them to discover it for themselves.

The questions that you should be asking yourself are:

1. How can I more easily be “found” online?   Think SEO for your website and social media engagement.

2. How can I cultivate a list of subscribers who are interested in my offerings?  Think email lists and social media follows.

3. How can I widen my exposure through intelligent media buys?  Think advertising and direct mail that supports #2.

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Authentic Marketing and Networking http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/authentic-networking http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/authentic-networking#comments Fri, 14 Dec 2012 18:37:24 +0000 http://www.kennethlewis.com/?p=3029 My father shared with me that he once took a course on negotiation, and that the core lesson he learned was that the longer he engages the person he is dealing with, the more likely they are to meet his price.  The point is that it is easy to say no or dismiss an offer that you are not invested in.  The moment you start getting invested is the moment your internal gauge shifts.

This could be used if you are buying a car, for example.  If you go to the dealer multiple times and engage with the same salesperson, he/she is much more willing to agree to your low-margin offer than if you walk in and offer that very same amount in the beginning.

How does this apply on the seller/providers end?   And, how can our interior design clients, in particular, use this to promote their business?

To answer these questions, let’s use two seasonal videos to learn our lesson (you can ‘x’ out the advertisement):

 

and then, a minute or two of this one: (sorry about the soundtrack)

 

 

My marketing mind notices a pattern- the people in the first video who were first engaged in relationship with the administer of the survey were more likely to give the person a kiss than in the second video where the guy was just sitting there and pointing up at the mistletoe.

Often the biggest hurdle in sales is the making of original contact.  Until contact is made you are just another stranger who wants something from them, whether it be a kiss or money.  Once the contact is made, once we meet as people, layers of distrust melt away and our natural trust surfaces.

Some people kissed the guy in the second video.  But so many more kissed in the first video after rapport was established.  In sales and marketing language we refer to as it as having a higher conversion rate.

 

Making Your Website Personal

 

So, what can we do to increase your conversion rate?  Make your marketing message as personal and engaging as you can.  Let them start developing a relationship with you through your website.  This will never replace the relationship that can develop on the phone or in person, but it certainly increases the likelihood of those relationships happening.  Show your picture on your site, speak from your voice.  And, let the words of your clients describe you.

In the survey they asked people how they would act in a situation before they exposed them to the situation which called for their action.  This is a great way of getting the person to reveal their true needs before their defenses have a chance to surface.

When I went car shopping last year I had many salespeople say to me “are you ready to buy today if we can get you into the right car?”  I always responded “no.”  It made the power shift from them to me.  I exerted control of the process.  What would have been a better question for them to ask which would have been the first of a series of yeses?

How about: “when you find the right car at the right price do you think you might act on it?”   I’d say yes to that!  And, then they could say, “well let’s see if the right car for you is sold by this dealership.”  I would feel respected and my defenses would drop.  Next thing I would be the one kissing under the mistletoe.

 

Networking In Your Community

 

You don’t want to be the stranger sitting around waiting to get kissed.  If instead you show up to community gatherings you will get known.  If you like yourself then people will like you.  And, then they will happily kiss you under your mistletoe, which is to become your client.  It is so much more safe to say yes to the designer you met at a party or charitable event than to a designer who you only met online.  People are attracted to people.  People trust people.  It is our root, underneath any suspicions and facades of distrust that we have.  Deep down inside we are all in it together, and we know it.  We are all extended family.

So, step out into your geographic world and shake some hands.  Develop friendships.  Invite people to lunch.  Volunteer wherever you see a need.  Help the less fortunate.  Make it your mission to be a lovely, healing force in the community who gives endlessly.  Give freely what you can, except for your professional services to those who can afford them.  Otherwise, don’t hold back.

The more you give, the more people will connect with your heart.  Trust will develop, relationships will grow, and projects will come.

If I have a medical question I call my brother the doctor.  Why would I trust any other doctor more than him?  Who would so selflessly take care of my interests as he does?   If I need an accountant I turn to my friends for advice as I trust their recommendation of one, even if it is just a character reference.

Are you sensing it is a numbers game here?

The more people who know and trust you, the more projects that will surface.  If not your friend, it will be your friend’s friend.   Regardless, they will come.  It surely helps if you network amongst those who can afford and depend upon interior design services.  But, don’t exclude others.  My programmer came to me on a referral from a friend who has a friend who said that the guy has been amazing to work with.

 

Your Unique Offerings (That No One Can Duplicate)

 

The online world is commodifying most everything these days.  Designers seem like they are a dime a dozen.   The specialness of knowing and having a designer feels like it is dissipating.  Shopping for an interior designer or home improvement specialist on Houzz doesn’t look so different from shopping for a book on Amazon.com or a spouse on Match.com.  But, that is just the surface, the illusion of the mind.

What separates you most from other interior designers?  Why would a client choose you over others?

The truth is that there are plenty of designers who are as creative as you, who might even understand textiles or window treatments or antique rugs much better than you.  But, one thing that you have that not one other designer in the world has is your place in the world.  You have your own situatedness.  You are embedded or enmeshed in your social fabric in a totally unique way.  Don’t trivialize this!  This is huge.

We all have friends and family, neighbors and colleagues.   Each of these people have their own social fabrics- their webs of connection.  No one stands where you stand.  No one knows everyone you know.  A mathematician determined that “it is practically certain that any two individuals can contact one another by means of at most two intermediaries” within the U.S.  Within your geographic area you can cut that in half.  You are linked to everybody by just one intermediary locally.

It has been said that one should never eat lunch alone- that every lunch should be considered an opportunity for connecting (the feeling equivalent of networking).  If that were done 50 weeks of the year it would be 250 lunch dates per year.  If that were done just once a week there would still be 50 opportunities to develop and deepen connections.

What would it be like to have lunch with the manager of your favorite furniture showroom?  Or, the owner of a painting company?  The account manager at the upholsterers?  The manager of the local independent hotel?  The head of a local charity?  A Realtor?

You’d be surprised how much people are wanting to help you if you take the time to listen to them, see them, and accept them.  In 1960s lingo, if you send someone good vibes they will send them back your way.

 

You Have Two Businesses

 

Every professional has two businesses simultaneously.  Your core business is the product or services that you sell.  The second business is the relationship that you sell.  The former is the what, the latter is the how.  We often focus our marketing on selling the what even though it is the how that determines much of our success in sales and customer service.

Part of approaching the how is dropping your thoughts of separation and moving into having a unified interest with your clients.  Clients know when you are unified with their vision and their needs and they will love you forever for gifting them that.   So, make it your mission to be unified with the needs of others while simultaneously taking care of your own needs.  This isn’t a call to drop taking care of yourself- this isn’t to encourage the creations of martyrs and stoics.  This is instead the recognition that when someone takes care of themselves fully that they are overflowing and thus have so much to give to others.

Your embeddedness, enjoyment, and engagement within your social fabric, as well as your generosity of spirit, are major keys to your business success.  In many ways your business success reflects how fully you are showing up for yourself in your life.  If business is at a trickle, it can reflect that something internally is also trickling, and that it needs to be set free.

They say it takes money to make money.  I disagree.  But, I can see how they came to that mistake.  Rather, it takes generosity of spirit and trust in existence to make money.   It takes courage to make money- courage to be yourself, to show up authentically and to give your all.  Courage to not get caught on the small stuff and to always remain focused on the big picture.  Courage gives people charisma and radiance.  Courage makes people likable.

My most confident, empowered, courageous clients get the best work out of me because they give me the trust and the authority to give my all.  Their confidence in me supports me to in making their marketing campaigns great.  And, they tell me that they have the same experience with their design clients.   Everyone loves trusting clients.  Not just because they are easier to deal with, not just because of the absence of the negatives, but because of the life-affirming joy that comes from the positives.  Energetic misers (those who don’t share of themselves freely) not only don’t inspire us, but they actually can sap our intrinsic love to work.

Thus, when you show up authentically in your world, both the lived world of your community and the digital world of the Internet, your energetic/emotional fingerprint will be matched by those around you and your business will grow.  People will resonate and trust your honesty, earnestness, and generosity.  You will earn people’s respect and trust, and that will be the fertile grounds that the seed of prosperity will grow.

 

Marketing Idea

 

Many designers focus their interior design blogs on interior design topics.  This can be helpful in many ways, but it also is limiting.  What would it be like if you instead focused on your community and its members?

If you had one lunch per week with a member of your community and then wrote up some notes on it and included the person’s photo and a link to their website, would that be helpful?

Might these people be grateful that you are providing them with some extra promotional support for their businesses and want to return the favor?

Might they feel like a permanent relationship has been established in some way because of the long-term visibility of the blog post?

Might your site come up in more local searches?  And, might you get more people in your community looking at your pages even though they weren’t searching for an interior designer?

What if you joined all the local organizations you can find on LinkedIn and like all the local pages on Facebook, and then post these blogs there?  You think the local insurance agent or home inspector would appreciate you for exposing them and their business to wider circles?

Then you can imagine how people’s collective perception of you would change.  You’d be viewed as an insider, as a hub within the local community.  And, you’d likely have people start calling you and taking you out to lunch.  (You could even hint at that opportunity on your blog)

Remember, don’t just market the what of interior design but also the how of sweet, trusting, harmonious relationships.  Don’t aim for increased sales, aim for enhanced relationships.  Once trust is established you will have no further need to worry about sales.

 

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Using Houzz for Interior Design SEO & Marketing http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/houzz-marketing http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/houzz-marketing#comments Fri, 14 Dec 2012 01:12:24 +0000 http://www.kennethlewis.com/?p=2993  

“Houzz, in particular, presents an excellent model for how a high degree of user engagement can result in premium local search results.”

- Search Engine Watch, June, 2012

 

Houzz has become an integral part of any Interior Designer’s marketing campaign largely because of its dominance in the search engine results.  In a search for an “Interior Designer in Philadelphia” Houzz came up first in the organic results, just in front of my client Donna Hoffman.

 

This is a mixed blessing for Interior Designers.  On the one hand, if you are already at the top of your SEO game you might find that Houzz has taken your top position and bumped you down a notch.  And, this definitely results in traffic going to Houzz instead of to you.  In the case of Philadelphia there are 400 designers there registered on Houzz displaying their work.  Ouch!  The competition.

The good news is that if you haven’t yet developed your marketing you now have a chance to be listed at the top via Houzz.

 

Houzz Optimization

 

Once you see the value of Houzz you will want to create a professional profile, upload your project images, and begin participating in the optimization of your profile.

As with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Houzz uses secret algorithms to determine the order of their search results.

After careful analysis (I applied my SEO knowledge to examining Houzz results), here are the important factors in their secret algorithm, listed in what I consider to be their order of importance:

  1. Having a photo that is placed in other people’s Ideabooks (see below)
  2. Reviews- quantity and quality
  3. Having lots of followers (and possibly also following others, but not as many as are following you)
  4. Number of project photos
  5. Responding to questions from others (discussion participation)
  6. Having a Houzz link from your website’s homepage to Houzz (can be in the form of their “badge” or not)- homepage only.
  7. Participation with Ideabooks
  8. Reviewing other Houzzers
This is what Houzz shares with its members on what are the minimum requirements to be considered completed:
Houzz Profile Minimum Requirements

Thus, don’t expect to be found in the top of Houzz search without the minimum of 5 photos, 3 reviews, and the Houzz badge on your website (unless you don’t list a website, and then they appear to overlook that you didn’t provide them the backlink).

I don’t see any correlation between the Houzz ranking and the social media like widget on the left side of the Houzz profile page (Facebook, Twitter, and Google +).  I have yet to determine if this is because these are not used enough or if they simply aren’t connected with the Houzz database that the algorithms are draw from (which is my assumption).  I would nonetheless aim to get these clicks as they can’t hurt and could potentially help, even if just a little.

 

What Really Matters

 

When I did a Houzz search for Interior Designers in New York City the results (here) show the #1 position belongs to Marie Burgos Design.  This top placement should yield her more great design projects then she could ever accept.  In examining her position, I notice that she has:

  • 12 5-star reviews
  • 373 followers (and she follows no one)
  • She does NOT have a Houzz badge on her website (which really intrigued me)
  • 19 projects consisting of 152 images
  • 69 discussion comments
  • 0 Ideabooks
  • 17 Facebook likes, 2 Tweets, and 1 Google +1 on her profile page
  • and, a Best of Houzz 2012 badge on her profile from this bedroom image that was added to 12,097 Ideabooks

Added to 12,097 Ideabooks.  This is why she is #1 in New York City (and why she has 373 followers) and this is why we determined that the single most important metric in Houzz’s algorithm is having a photo that is placed in other people’s Ideabooks.

Some of Houzz’ system can be gamed.  Other elements, like having 12,097 people add your image to their Ideabooks cannot, although it can certainly be encouraged through marketing efforts.  In the end, your images will speak for your work.  If you have fantastic images that people love, you will rise up.  If you don’t, you will be largely unnoticed.   In less competitive markets, involvement alone will take you far.  In more competitive environments, you need to both be involved and to have the images to flaunt your design work.

Not everyone searches by major metropolitan area, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t compete in those searches.  There are always town/zip code searches that provide more local and less competitive searches.

So you have now seen Houzz through the eyes of a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consultant.  As with search engine results positions, top Houzz placements leads to more eyes on your work, more calls coming your way, and more projects to engage with.  If done well, you’ll be turning away clients for a lack of time.

 

Houzz Effects Your Website’s SEO

 

Houzz does not give what we call dofollow links, which means that the link on your Houzz profile that points to your website does NOT help your website’s SEO.  Most social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, provide no-follow links that do not help your SEO directly.  Houzz is now the same.

However, Google is always trying to find new ways to determine how to deliver quality search results, and thus a powerful Houzz profile, which can be partially determined by the Page Authority, MozRank, and MozTrust (see below), can help Google understand the connectedness between your firm/name and your major keywords.

To understand this better I turned to one of my SEO tools and fed into it three different Houzz interior designer profile pages-  the top NYC position holder Marie Burgos, the active Houzz user Joanne Jakab, and the relatively inactive profile of Washington DC interior designer Ebonee Bachman of Moonlight Interiors.  I tried to also include this new account for interior designer Donna Hoffman in the testing, but the tool did not yet have sufficient information on her profile page to include it.  Here are the results:

 

SEO For Interior Designers using Houzz

 

What this tells us is that your success on Houzz, as determined by your placement in the rankings and your connectivity to other pages via engaged activity, yields a higher SEO value for your profile page.

Marie’s getting a link with an SEO value of 62/100, which is exceptional.  Joanne is getting one of 54/100, which is very good.  And, Ebonee is getting one of 40/100 which is still of value, but not enough to bump her up too much in organic search.  What interesting is that Joanne’s MozRank and MozTrust (two SEO metrics) are higher than Marie’s metrics probably because Joanne links to her page from her website and Marie does not.

In many ways, Joanne is sending a link to Houzz that is hurting Joanne in search, as Joanne, the authority in her geographic keywords, is recommended Houzz, but Houzz is not recommending her with a link.

It is up to the SEO strategist to decide how to best handle this situation.  By providing the link to Houzz you are increasing your Houzz profile’s strength, however you are voting Houzz up in the search engine results for “your town interior designer.”  Since the best course of action on this is situational, I’d turn to your SEO provider to give you suggestions on how to best handle your specific case.

Surely this inquiry will help DIY marketers with their Houzz efforts, and it will help any good SEO to see what needs to be done to help their clients.  The only thing I left out is the recipe for my “secret sauce,” or the unique, advanced strategies that I employ based upon these findings.  And, these are too situational to be put into universal strategies.  What would be a positive strategy for one situation could actually hurt another.  And, it is always changing.

 

Let me know if you have noticed anything that factors in Houzz’s algorithms that hasn’t been mentioned above.  Thanks!

 

For more information on Internet Marketing services for Interior Designers, visit this website: Client Expander.

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Interior Design, SEO, & Plagiarism http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/interior-design-seo-plagiarism http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/interior-design-seo-plagiarism#comments Wed, 14 Nov 2012 12:29:52 +0000 http://www.kennethlewis.com/?p=2882 What is the difference between these two lines:

“Internet Marketing is the great marriage of technology, modernity, psychology, business, marketing, pop culture, customer service, and human intelligence.”

“The internet today is a combination of technology, modernity, psychology, business, marketing, pop culture, customer service and design.”

The answer: I wrote the first one, & the second one I found on a website that sells SEO to interior designers. And, the second one doesn’t capitalize the I in Internet, which reveals a lack of professionalism as Internet is spelled with a capital I- see Wikipedia for the full explanation, if you care.

It is outright theft.  And, the rest of the page was no better.

“World-class, yet affordable, Internet Marketing” is the motto of Ken & team.  They judge their success not on their  own profitability but rather on the return on investment (ROI) and increased profitability of their clients.  Kenneth Lewis & Associates takes pride in their client’s websites reaching the top of search engine results- which they always do.  This team of 5 take much joy in seeing their clients gain increased traffic, new customers, more sales, increased revenues, and greater profitability.  Ken is genuinely concerned with his client’s earning high ROI from their Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization campaigns, and prices and strategizes in order to achieve this aim.”

“World-class, yet affordable, SEO and Internet Marketing” is our motto.  We base our success not only on profitability, but the number of leads and new business that our clients receive.  SEO for Interior Designers takes great pride in our client’s websites.  Our team ensures that you gain increased traffic, new customers, more sales, increased revenues and greater profitability.  Our top priority is to make sure your interior design firm is earning a high return-on-investment (ROI) from your Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization campaigns.”

 

Plagiarism

This isn’t just copying marketing verbiage- it is copying my essential relationship to ethical, client-centered business.  I wouldn’t care if they borrowed something that was superficial, but this is pointing at the essence of my business relationships- this is the ground I stand on.

I assumed that it was a youngster who did this, or someone from a developing country- both of which I understand their naivety.  But, my investigations led me to discover that this was done by an interior designer who decided to pick up a second stream of income as an SEO.  According to him, he hired someone locally who was apparently experienced in Internet Marketing, and this is what this hired guy created for him- a copy. You can imagine how original his work would be for his paying clients.  (Note: I am not opposed to multiple streams of income. I am just opposed to pretending that you are more professional than you really are and plagiarizing to feed that presentation).

To see the original text of this SEO for Interior Designers just click here: SEO for Interior Designers.

 

Here is the domain name registration details with the thief’s designer’s name on it:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, his design website (he uses two last names and thus the screenshot here):

 

 

 

 

The Ethics of Nickel-and-Diming

It is not fair that I target just this one provider, but since he copied my words he got my undivided attention.  What he does is unfortunately the norm in this industry.

He offers website development packages that offer limited pages, as for the same prices we offer unlimited pages.   He promises that this includes SEO services, but these services are just on-site SEO which constitutes a tiny percent of what goes into a real SEO campaign.  Most everything he offers as add-ons for additional money we include in with no additional fees.

He says “You provide the content (simply email it to us), we’ll update your blog…. Price: $50 per submission.”  We do this for free for all of our clients.  You can send us three blogs a week, which is almost 15 per month, and you don’t get charged a penny extra. He’d charge you $750 for that service.

 

Expertise and Ethics

He even copied many of my business processes.  But, it needs to be clear that just because you have the tools in your kitchen doesn’t mean you can cook.  The guy who delivers the produce cannot adequately stand in for the Head Chef, even if he notices and purchases the Chef’s preferred knives.

It took me almost a decade to understand the science and develop my art of SEO, and that experience is deeply embedded in every strategy in my head and goes into every click that I make on the keyboard.

He tried to conceal his identity, yet anyone who knows the online world could find it within seconds as I did (see investigation link above).  Strange his name shows up on his own SEO site as a customer testimonial.  He stated, on a phone call with me, that he felt that it was ethical because he says that his Internet Marketing business got top results for his Interior Design business.

I believe in disclosing conflicts of interests.  I take things like this seriously.  A relationship founded on deception or on withholding information can only lead to wounds.   I disclose all, which is part of why my prices are so low compared to my competitors.

On his SEO “About Us” page he writes about his business philosophy (all copied from my site) and not about who he is.  He conceals his identity.  No surprise, as what interior designer wants to hire another interior designer to do their I.T. stuff.  That would be as popular as me trying to sell interior design services to my Internet Marketing community because of my exposure to interior design through my work.  So, he hides his affiliation with the SEO site and it becomes a business without a face.

He offers a page that reads: “Check out our “Picks” for some Must have WordPress plugins,” without doing the ethical thing of disclosing that all of those links are affiliate links, which means he gets paid for you buying those plugins.

“Blogging for Business E-Book we highly recommend below. You’ll get hours of blogging for business consultation for a only $49.”  Again, no disclosure that this recommendation is an affiliate program that earns him cash whether or not it serves you.

 

Trust

One of the biggest hurdles in my business is getting trust from a potential client.  So many of my potential clients come to me abused and neglected by other providers.  And, they are rightly defensive and afraid- they have not been treated well by Internet Marketing providers.

These days the wounds are getting deeper and deeper.  Clients aren’t getting their websites developed on time and on budget.  They are getting squeezed by the providers who are always looking for more money, and they are not getting their promised results.  They are getting tricked into using websites that have the wrong technologies and thus don’t provide search engine friendliness.  Many of these sites are beautiful, but they are dysfunctional.   These sites look like supermodels, and their insides are just as impoverished and neglected.

I offer genuine services at a fraction of what this site is selling them for.  Please don’t be deceived by anyone claiming expertise.  Please don’t take anyone seriously who solicits you via the phone.  Please don’t test out a new company.  Only use recommended providers- recommended by people you know- not by the words that they choose to post on their website.  If you don’t know someone who has had Internet Marketing success for their Interior Design business than ask an industry leader for a recommendation.

I have a relationship with the interior design community.  When someone recommends my services, their and my reputation are on the line.  I do nothing short of being fully committed to my client’s success to continue building this trust.

 

My Heritage of Ethics

I come from a lineage of customer service.  My family owns and operates the top hotel in Chicago based upon “value” according to TripAdvisor reviews.  Offering reasonably priced services with exceptional customer service is in my DNA.  Both at the hotel and in my marketing firm, we are concerned about the well-being of our guests/clients.  We choose to run our businesses on very thin margins in the name of giving the financial advantage to our guests/clients.

We are deeply concerned about their experience, their comfort, and their satisfaction.  We don’t take advantage of the power imbalance that arises from having a service that they need.  We treat our guests/clients as we would like to be treated.

Our hotel includes complimentary Wifi, breakfast, premium movie channels, fitness center, business center, and shuttle service.  Our shuttle doesn’t just take guests two and from the nearby Midway Airport, it takes guests anywhere they’d like to go in a 2 miles radius (and often well beyond that radius).  We don’t nickel and dime, and our guests appreciate it.

Our Internet Marketing packages include everything needed to build an online presence, including website development, website and email hosting, content management with unlimited postings and pages, SEO, social media management, email support, advertising support, etc.  We never request additional funds from clients unless they want to do an “SEO booster” to gain quicker traction in a competitive marketplace.

That is why when I wrote it, I meant it: we offer “world-class, yet affordable, Internet Marketing.”

 

 

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Marketing as a River- an Analogy http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/marketing-as-a-river-an-analogy http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/marketing-as-a-river-an-analogy#comments Mon, 12 Nov 2012 02:44:45 +0000 http://www.kennethlewis.com/?p=2818 Often people ask me to describe my work in marketing. I find the best analogy for marketing development is to think of it as akin to the growth of a river. It takes countless streams to feed into and make a river. These tributaries individually are not necessary significant, yet collectively they are all an integrated part of the whole.

In developing an Internet Marketing campaign, we focus on the development of such streams. These streams include one’s website, the content and SEO signals on the site, the back-links that point from other sites to the main one, social media, directories, newsletters, and a whole lot more. Within each category are many separate streams. So we have streams feeding streams feeding streams, which eventually make for a mighty river. And, if we don’t continue to feed the streams with fresh content and signals, than we will eventually go dry again.

On top of that, not all streams are created equal. Some streams just don’t produce much to contribute to your river, and thus they should be left to go dry. So, it takes knowledge to understand which streams to invest in when.

Often the novice marketer is short on time, budget, and direction, and is looking for the most important tributaries. However, experience informs us that one needs to pay attention to dozens of streams before even a small river is created. Significant marketing rivers are the collective results of countless smaller strategic activities.

That is why one should hire a marketing team. You simply don’t have time and expertise to do the endless tasks necessary to develop enough streams to make your brand as visible as you wish for. By investing a small monthly fee in your marketing, you have the support of a five person team that will work tirelessly for you.

The most important aspect of your hire is trust. If you trust that a provider is dedicated to building and replenishing your streams then you are in good hands. Your marketing dollars are only wasted if you hire someone incompetent or unprofessional.

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Personalization Not Customization http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/personalization-not-customization http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/personalization-not-customization#comments Mon, 20 Aug 2012 03:45:01 +0000 http://www.kennethlewis.com/?p=2744 The business world has been experiencing lots of growing pains with the integration of new technologies over the past few decades.  One notorious point of pain has been the creation of websites. We often put so much emphasis on the website that we forget that it is nothing without its web of relationships.  A website is so much more than its “look and feel.” A website needs to:

1) Speak to the search engines.  The search engines require a certain presentation and way of being, and if the website doesn’t fit the search engines’ criteria it will be neglected and possibly even banned.  Speaking to the search engines is the way to bring relevant traffic to your site.  For this we do Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

2) Speak to visitors.  Once you get the traffic you need to convert them into sales.  This requires marketing intelligence and what is commonly called a sales funnel.  It is what directs traffic from their entrance point to a conversion goal.   The goal can be a sale, signing up for your newsletter, or requesting a consultation.  Whatever the goal is, the site must be designed to point people in that direction.

These goals are not met by programmers or designers.  They are met by Internet Marketers.  Internet Marketing professionals are the conductors of the marketing orchestra.  The violinist and the trumpeter are both amazing at what they do, yet even the finest musicians, or the finest athletes for that matter, require someone to set the direction and coordinate the effort.

The Internet Marketing professional sets the direction and makes your marketing campaign happen in an integrated fashion. Often one puts the majority of their marketing budget into creating the “perfect” website.  This is based upon the myth that a beautiful, informative website is enough.  And, this is often the result of not having an Internet Marketing professional conducting the efforts.  A beautiful site designed by a designer is often ill-prepared to help your marketing efforts for reasons that are obvious to SEO professionals.

The sad thing is how much time, money, and effort can be wasted on a website that doesn’t get traffic at best, or never reaches completion at worst. Our solution is using just 7% of the budget on the website and putting the remaining 93% into other marketing efforts.  We use the 93% for SEO, so that the website receives a lot of targeted traffic.  We also use the 93% for social media efforts, email campaigns, advertising administration (upon request), and other useful marketing efforts.  The 93% is for action, motion, progress, engagement, and outreach.

We offer our marketing clients websites for just $29 per month.  The fee is ridiculously low, yet this is no cheap compromise.  We use a highly efficient development model that doesn’t waste our time or your money.  We use the robust and reliable WordPress content management system (CMS).  This is open-source (free) software that enables us to develop your site without having to hire a coder/programmer.  We get the code without expense or time delay.  And, it is much more dynamic and capable than any client’s budgets would permit.

For the design we use a “premium theme” to build the site.  Premium refers to it being something we purchased from a theme designer (freebie themes do exist).  Theme refers to a predesigned structure for the visual layout.   We use these beautifully crafted themes that have been tested across more platforms than the typical client could afford to test for.  Regardless as to whether a visitor is looking at your website on their iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S III, or on a new Mac laptop with Retina Display using Chrome or on an old desktop PC using XP and Explorer, your site will look great.  We only use themes that are make personalization easy and effective. So, we don’t reinvent the wheel. We personalize your site, not customize it.

This sometimes is hard to accept because the word and concept of customization is often related to being special or unique.  However, our total effort is towards your return on investment (ROI) and for most small business a customized website is only a drain of time, energy, and money. Using the WordPress CMS we have a highly scalable site.  What that means for you is that we can effortless add or subtract pages over time.  We can convert a site with a Premium theme over to a customized theme at any point without having to rebuild from the ground up.

We design our Internet Marketing packages to meet the goals of your business which includes increasing your sales while simultaneously freeing you up from marketing concerns.  When you sign a contract with us, we become the conductors of your marketing campaign and thus you are free to put your energy on your business. Tens of thousands of businesses have overspent on websites and underspent on the rest of their Internet Marketing.  As conductors it is our job to make sure this doesn’t happen to our clients.  We develop custom sites for clients when that is the need, yet we work tirelessly at creating amazing online marketing presences without the need for custom programming or design. Practical, reliable, affordable Internet Marketing solutions is what we offer.

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What Should I Blog About? http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/what-should-i-blog-about http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/what-should-i-blog-about#comments Fri, 10 Aug 2012 00:08:28 +0000 http://www.kennethlewis.com/?p=2735 On a regular basis I have clients asking me “what should I blog about?”  It is a great question, and it is one with an answer that changes over time.

In the beginning of setting up a business it is crucially important to be very SEO-centric in one’s blogging.  In the beginning one needs to plant seeds by becoming visible to search engines and potential customers alike.  In this initial phase it is very helpful if one blogs about their expertise not just in a theoretical/insider manner, but also in a practical way that relates to potential clients.

My first blog post was announcing my transition from being a freelancer to running an Internet Marketing firm.  The firm wasn’t a created entity, rather it is an evolved one.  From all of my years of freelancing emerged a network of clients and a bunch of teammates.  As I indicated in the title of the blog, it was time to “get firm” and to take on all of the responsibilities of a long-term provider.  In this process we sat down and clarified our principles and offerings, and then we shared them in our first blog:

“Given this growing team, the “free” of “freelancing” has slowly been falling away, and the firm reality has set in that we are a Firm.  As I am he-who-controls the business, the check-writer, the master strategist, and the master of ceremony, I have taken the principal position, and now call the firm Kenneth Lewis & Associates : Internet Marketing.

This is not the most original name, but it is one that points to the fact that there is one man who has taken absolute responsibility for the Internet presence of his clients.  Additionally, to avoid the pitfalls of other SEO firms, I am keeping myself as the point-man for the public.  This way clients and potential clients deal with me directly.  This ensures the most accurate information and the highest level of response and accountability.”

 

“The motto of our Firm, which keeps us connected to our freelancing roots, is “World-class, yet affordable, Internet Marketing.” One need not have bloated overheads and organizational waste to provide world-class services.  We have proven that for the past few years, and we will continue to prove that for many years to come.”

And thus was our start.

The next blogs were about our regional businesses.  Many of these we have since been removed from our site as they are no longer applicable to our mission.  What I did back then was explore the online presence of  the businesses in my then newly-adopted town and to publish them.   In different categories I gave reports on which businesses where succeeding and which were stumbling in their Internet Marketing efforts and why.  It gave me a chance to engage with the local businesses, familiarizes myself with the terrain, and to share my expertise locally.   Even though I removed the blog entries from our site’s navigation, I kept them online for anyone who might already have one of them bookmarked or saved in another fashion.

The third phase of blog writing came when our portfolio of clients was expanding and we saw the best use of the blog was to promote our clients.  SEO requires us to use all available tools.  Unlike most SEO firms that are happy to link from your website to theirs, giving them the all-important “link juice,” we only link to our clients, not from them.  At the most we have a non-clickable mention of our domain name on the bottom of a client’s site.  For us this is the only ethical approach.  This third phase was about blogging to promote our clients.  The promotion was not necessarily moving actual traffic from our site to theirs, but rather to send our “link juice” or popularity in the eyes of the search engine to them as a vote of confidence.  Eventually we developed more effective tools for promoting our clients that far exceeded our site’s potential and our writing went dry.

When one’s blog writing goes dry it is not because one doesn’t have anything left to say, rather it is often because one needs to set a new paradigm of what to blog about.  We were busy taking care of business and in our busyness we failed to address the need for a new paradigm.

The paradigm shift of our blogging efforts that is taking place now is to being an information source for current and future clients.  There are many questions that we are hearing over and over again, and it is time to address them publicly.  Also, there are many things that aren’t on our client’s radar that we want to bring to their attention.  Now the blog is shifting to something almost like a single topic newsletter or an FAQ.   And it is only appropriate to begin this next phase by addressing the art of writing a blog post.

As you can see there is not just one answer on what one can do with their blog.  We used it as a self-promotion vehicle to announce our Firm’s opening and to reach out to potential clients by sharing our researching know-how.  Then we used the blog to promote our clients- as a vehicle of our general SEO work.  Now we move into using it as an educational platform- a venue for sharing our expertise.  What we have been consciously avoiding is turning it into an industry-centered venue as we don’t want to use this space to talk with our peers in the Internet Marketing and SEO world.  We are happy to leave those conversations to other spaces.  While ongoing learning is essential for our Firm’s success, it is clear to us all that the core of our Firm is client-service, and it is to that which we dedicate this new stage of blog posts.

Other considerations in your blogging are: do you already have a following, do people in your industry find your insights invaluable, which phase of business development are you in, do you have projects to share or just ideas to share, etc?

So where is your business at?  What should you be writing about?

If you would like to brainstorm this question, feel free to contact me to arrange a phone call to talk it through.  It is an important issue as it will determine who comes to your website and what signals it gives to the search engines.

 

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5 Indicators That You Have the Wrong Marketing Provider http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/5-signs http://www.kennethlewis.com/2012/5-signs#comments Sun, 24 Jun 2012 06:58:16 +0000 http://www.kennethlewis.com/?p=2400 It is difficult to discern good quality in everything we purchase.  When you test drive a car can you tell which one has a high quality transmission?  Can you tell which restaurant is using high quality ingredients?  How about which electronics equipment, such as a tv, consists of high quality parts?

The truth is that we are often depending upon the word of others to help us make sense of quality and value unless we have some insider expertise.

Here I will give you 5 warning signs that might indicate that you are dealing with a low quality Internet marketing provider.

 

 

1. The Link On the Bottom of Your Site Points To Them

On the bottom of many websites is something called a footer.  Often the footer gives some credit to the person/company who made the site.  Think of it like the signature of an artist.

It is hypocritical, in my eyes, for a firm that is doing search engine optimization (SEO) for you to put a link on your site pointing at theirs.  Any sensitive provider will be well aware that “link juice” (a vote of authority/popularity) will be passed with that link, and thus it is only natural that the provider links towards the client and not vice versa.

Reciprocal links, the pointing both ways, has been called into question ever since link exchanges began popular ten years ago.  Therefore, it is best to have the link one way, and it should be from the provider to the client.  If the provider wants recognition, which of course is reasonable, they can simply put their url or company name in the footer of their client’s site without making it an active link.

Whenever a provider uses client sites to point at their own site it is an indication of their values.  A solid Internet marketing provider will always want to give you the link from their site.  This is an essential component of quality service.

Before hiring an Internet marketing provider ask to see their portfolio.  And then look to see if the sites they create have active link pointing towards them.  If they do, you now know their priority.  If they don’t have such links pointing towards them yet rather find a way to incorporate their clients onto their own websites so that they can link to them, often in the portfolio or testimonial sections, then you know they will put their clients first.

 

2. Your First Contact is with a Salesperson

There are many “aggressive” Internet Marketing companies out there who are focused exclusively on their own growth with little concern for their client’s growth.  One sign of these is that they hire salespeople to close deals.  The problem with having a salesperson close the deal is that they tend to not be as deeply familiar with the technologies and with your needs.  They are more likely to think short-term, not caring much what happens past the time of contract signing.

When you are dealing with a person whose income is solely dependent upon you signing a contract and not on the performance criteria of finding you the best fit, you can assume that all they care about is that signature.  Exceptions exist, yet this is the norm in this industry.

I have been hired many times to help get clients out of messy situations with unscrupulous providers.    Whenever I do audits on the situation I find the root of the problem is in a lopsided and inappropriate contract written between the salesperson and the client, neither of which truly understand the depths of Internet marketing.  If the company doesn’t have the time to have an expert evaluate your needs from the beginning and fit you to an appropriate contract, you can be assured that it won’t happen later.

 

3.  Your Second Contact is with an Account Manager

The next game that self-serving Internet marketing companies play is that they assign an account manager to you.  This is the middleman between you and the people who are really doing the work.  This is the person who is a professional multi-tasker, and for the most part their goal is to minimize time spent by themselves and their team on your project.

It frustrates me to deal with these people often, as they typically know so little about Internet marketing.  They are trained to go through checklists in getting the Internet presence created.  And, they are trained to pat themselves on the back for high performing sites even when they are falling short of expected outcomes.

Recently I was on the phone with one of these account managers on behalf of a client for a quarterly report.  She didn’t understand half of the things I asked her, she made excuses for her failures, and she constantly pointed at the contract as her excuse for not offering more.

Account managers are like the workers at the circulation desk at the library- they are paid much less than the people in the back offices and they deal with a lot more stress through exposure to the public.  More often than not they are squeezed from above through an overload of work, and they have no time, enthusiasm, or industry knowledge to be good strategist and partners.

Account managers are liaisons between two faceless big businesses.  If you are a small business owner they too often are sources of disappointment and frustration.  When you work hard for your money and choose to make an investment in marketing, you want a provider who shows up as a partner, as an insider who is fully aligned with your goals.

 

4. The Company Is Abroad

The people of the third world are deep in my heart, yet I would never trust them to run a marketing campaign for a Western market.

Internet marketing is not just about learning and executing technologies.  It requires vision, understanding, and creativity.  It demands that the campaign creator can understand the client, the client’s goals, and the mentality of the client’s customers.

The only way for you to optimize your marketing is to have a marketing partner who understands your market.  Oversea providers can offer affordable prices, and they can surely build you pieces for your campaign.  But they are generally incapable of bring the parts together.

 

5. The Company is Huge- An Industry Leader

Huge companies are often designed to be huge.  Their size is embedded in their business plan from the beginning.  This keeps their management focused on their huge-ness, not on their client’s needs.

For example, read this bio of a CEO of one of these huge Internet marketing companies…

… he was the Co-Founder and CEO of xxxx, a wireless connectivity solution provider based in Silicon Valley, which was sold to xxxxx [NSDQ: xxxx], a publicly traded corporation. The company is recognized as a market leader worldwide in wireless connectivity space. He took the company from start to a $14M annual revenue run-rate with over 80 employees. As CEO of xxxx, he raised more than $65M in venture capital financing from premier Venture Capital firms like xxxxxx (Google, Yahoo) and from strategic corporations such as Dell, Inc.

I once had to speak to this CEO as my client’s account was entrenched with problems.  All of the work was being done in India and all of the content, from the copy to the SEO tags, was a total mess.  Misspellings were everywhere, expressions were wrong, lists had no order… it was total chaos.  And my client was paying big bucks for this lousy product.

What I quickly realized while on the phone with him is that he is an CEO, not an Internet marketer.  And all he wanted was for me to be contented with as little effort on his team’s part as possible.  He was a man of dollars, not of marketing.  He spent much of his time touring the country as an industry expert while his very organization was performing poorly.  His focus was on dollars, not on people and their stories.

The short of it is if you want personal attention deal with a person.  When you hire a marketing provider you aren’t hiring a company, even though they will spin it as such.  In actuality you are hiring the person who will be working with you and taking care of your account.  When you hire a big company or an offshore provider you have no idea who you are actually going to deal with.  You can only hope that your account doesn’t get assigned to the new guy or one with a bad attitude.  It is the difference between going to a specific dentist because you trust him/her or going to a generic dental group’s office where the dentist on duty is the one who sees you.  It is the difference between feeling respected and feeling used.

 

I hope this helps you in evaluating your current provider and as tools for discerning your next one.  It doesn’t cost more to hire a marketer that is available to have a positive, supportive relationship with you.

Here is the shortlist spun in the opposite, positive way.  Look for a provider that:

  1. values you and your business goals,
  2. designs your marketing to meet your goals and maximize your ROI,
  3. is available to toss ideas around, brainstorm, and engage in creative solutions,
  4. understands you, your business, and your customers,
  5. stays focused on the daily marketing needs of clients.

 

 

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