Some tradesmen moan about the costs of advertising in the paper directories – but still do it.
Some tradesmen moan about the pressure to list in trade directories – but still do it.
Some tradesmen say social networking is a complete waste of time and effort – And spend hours chatting to their mates on facebook about football and sending rude jokes.
Some tradesmen get taken in by the promises made by cold callers selling facebook advertising, high Google rankings, Google maps listings, online directory listings and Pay Per Click management.
Others Listen, learn and reap the benefits of self learnt online marketing.
James Smith is a typical example of the latter.
James is the owner, manager, webmaster, SEO, marketing expert of a small Leicestershire heating engineering company Dormouse Heating
6 months ago James was like the above;
Ask him what Google Places was and he would assume it’s some kind of travel agents service provided by Google.
Promise him number 1 rankings in Google and he would want to know who to make the cheque out to.
Ask him about his Google Profile and he would have said his left side has always been his best.
Ask him about Analytics, how his SEO was performing, his directory submission was going , his back-link profile was building up and his keyword research was progressing and he would have given you one of his Karl Pilkington looks.
What did James do that is different though?
First of all James didn’t get taken in by all the promises from the snake oil salesmen and smooth talking cold callers.
Rather than getting taken in by the guys trying to charge him £149.99 to set up a Google Places listing – James went to Google found out some information about Google Places, followed the instructions and set up his own listing – http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/place?cid=3673054218823410558
When James was cold called by a company implying they were facebook that had a special offer for just 1 heating engineer in his area at an amazing rate. He said, thank you very much, I’ll think about it and then went and looked up about facebook advertising to discover using facebook pay per impressions for a small heating company wasn’t really the best ROI he could get, he also found out that he could run the similar £99 per month package they were selling himself for about £5.00 per month.
When James started his directory submission he had already been forewarned about the sales pitches. James knew that the reason most directories allow free listings is so they can then up-sell upgraded listings. With this knowledge James was ready to handle the inevitable calls, James wasn’t rude, he didn’t get annoyed, and more importantly, he didn’t get taken in by any sales spiel. Rather than the calls dragging on James was 100% clear he wasn’t interested, made it clear he only wanted the free listing, was polite, and gave the opportunity for the salesman to just quickly move on knowing he was only wasting his own time.
As James learnt more it became more clear to him how important SEO (search engine optimisation) was if he wanted his website to be found in the search engines.
Did he rush out and engage the first SEO company he could find? – no
As with other aspects of his marketing James went in to Google and researched. He found websites providing Free SEO tips and free SEO advice and read the information methodically, he found facebook groups about SEO and started following the blogs of the more successful SEO experts.
James then went that one step further that in some SEO Circles is often referred to as the golden step, James started to express an interest and connected with some SEO’s and marketing people.
It can be in these little circles, where people share the “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” philosophy, that the little SEO tips and Advice are shared which don’t generally appear elsewhere.
James himself will tell you he still has a lot to learn, but do you want to know something? That learning isn’t a chore it’s a pleasure. Online Marketing and SEO can become a hobby and how many hobbies are there that you know earn you money rather than cost it.
You may read the above and say I haven’t got time for all that malarkey, but do you know what James is probably doing whilst your sat moaning about the rubbish Eastenders has become, moaning about the quality of this years X factor, constantly flicking through the remote moaning that nothing is on? – He’s probably chatting on an SEO forum, adding some latest news to his facebook page, uploading a short heating advice video to youtube, re-coding his own website, reading more about the latest Google+ feature, networking with like minded people in his area and industry, and you want to know something else, he is learning all the time as he does this and at the same time is improving his online profile.
Knowledge is key – Learning is Fun – What a Combination.
6 months ago James and his website were in the wilderness when it came to online marketing, now he really can be described as The heating engineer who came in from the cold.
If there is one bit of very important advice I can give to James that is go to Reddit and ask what they think of him using the Comic Sans MS font – http://www.reddit.com/r/comicsans/search?q=comic+sans
January 12, 2014
by Terry Simmonds
No animals were harmed in the creating of this article – honest, that isn’t a real dormouse.