ILast week I had the great pleasure and true privilege to teach an online marketing and SEO class to seven terrific students who wanted to learn how to get found on Google and the other search engines. We had students from many places, and one actually came all the way from Australia just to take this class! Wow.

Five students passed the exams, and the other two are coming back to the workshop in March, where they’ll complete their online marketing training. As you can tell from their happy grins, they’re excited to put their new-found knowledge to work!

During the week-long class, we covered many topics from search engine optimization, keyword research, link building, online PR, Google Analytics, Search Console, Adwords, and a whole host of other topics. By the end of the week, it can be pretty overwhelming for folks to know just where to start. There’s SO MUCH to do to get your online market in gear, that it can be a very daunting task to figure out just where to start.

I mentioned it several times during the week, that online marketing is a bit like “eating an elephant”. You can’t do it all in one sitting — you truly have to do it one bite at a time, and just ignore the rest. You have to start with something small and keep building on it over time. If you try “swallow” all of it at once, you’ll get nowhere very quickly, and just give up.

Online marketing is really a process and not a solution or endgame at all. It’s an ongoing process that you build upon every day, every week, and every month, that just becomes a habit over time. There is no magic bullet that will propel you to the top, but there are some things you can put in place that will help you to “eat the elephant” without getting overwhelmed.

How to Build an Online Presence Over Time

During the week-long course, even though we covered advanced topics like natural language processing, how to overcome personalization of search and esoteric topics like “dynamic keyword insertion”, that the real path to success and enlightenment is to start with the absolute basics and completely ignore the rest. By following this path, you’ll not only lead yourself to success over the long term, but you’ll “Google-proof” yourself against the constant updates and rule changes from Google that throw all the other SEO dudes into a tizzy.

Get Your House In Order

The very first thing you need to do is build upon what you’ve already built. You already have a website, now get the SEO in place. I believe that at least 90% of all websites have no SEO built into them at all, so you have an opportunity to get ahead of your competition:

  1. Keyword optimize your page titles
  2. Build in good benefit statements and keywords into your page descriptions (which don’t influence the search engines, but can directly influence your buyers!)
  3. Make sure your content is you-focused — it should talk about the buyers’ problems — not your solutions
  4. Put in a strong call-to-action on every single page of your website to capture leads. Your visitors aren’t necessarily ready to buy today, but get them to sign up for your newsletter so you can nurture that lead over the long term

Find Out What Your Customers Want Most

This is critical. When your customers do a search on Google or the other search engines, they’re looking for the solution to their problem. They want:

  • The answer to solving their own problem
  • A product to solve their problem
  • A company that will solve their problem for them

Do keyword research to find out exactly what your customers want, and create the content around that. By putting out “pots of honey” (the solutions to their problems), you’ll attract more “bees” who want to work with you to solve their problems.

Show Them The Way to the Solution

Give them the answer. It sounds overly simplistic, but that’s the truth. Give them the solution so they can solve their problem or that you’re the correct solution to their problem. You can do this with what I call “lead magnets”:

  • Blog posts (like this one!)
  • Pages of relevant content
  • Videos
  • Free downloads (if they give you their email address)
  • Etc.

The possibilities are endless, and the more you build this content, the more your customers will keep showing up. Make sure you have a strong call-to-action on every piece of content you put out, and they will come.

What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments below!

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