‘SEO SEO SEO! You need f*cking SEO!’
I used to go around screaming and ranting about how important SEO to business owners without understanding that SEO is just one part of the huge puzzle of marketing.
I attended world class SEO courses that I paid multiple thousands for and thought that business owners would trust me if I was certified. However, apparently not. I didn’t understand the concept of positioning. I was going up against hundreds of others of “SEO experts’ pitching $500 a month SEO deals, guaranteeing Google page one rankings within weeks or days.
Needless to say, it was an uphill battle.
When start a business or marketing a product, you need to understand the power of positioning.
The basic idea of positioning is to help you stand out and differentiate yourself from the competition.
When I got my first SEO certificate from a reputable SEO course in Singapore, I got overly excited and started pitching to business owners in my warm contacts. Here’s what I got: crickets.
Nobody seemed to care. Who cares about ‘SEO’ if they can hire some Indian firm to do it for $500 a month. I did manage to clinch a couple of deals, however, I was doing a lot of work and I felt constantly under paid. I was also getting constant objections: someone else was willing to do it cheaper. That was when I realized, I had to market myself and position myself differently from all competition that I face.
Furthermore, in their eyes, I was a young, brash 23-year-old. How can a young 23 year old help a 50 year old business owner market their business?
Here’s the big question: How can I win and earn the trust of these business owners who are well into their 30s, 40s and 50s?
What is Positioning?
Positioning isn’t just what you think of yourself, it’s also what the market thinks of you.
When I was pitching to these small business owners, I can’t help but notice that they viewed me as someone who was inexperienced, and trying to make a quick buck off them. I got discouraged initially. However, I was determined to prove them wrong with my own results.
Over the years:
However, that I intuitively knew that isn’t enough. I had to build my own brand, and get my own SEO rankings for my own company. I also had other positoning ideas other than just branding myself as an SEO consultant.
Get Your Positioning Right from Day One
You may say, you can ‘work on your positioning’ along the way or you could get it right from day one. I rather you get your positioning right from day one. You should be asking yourself: How are you going to stand out and differentiate yourself from the competition?
Firstly, I figured out my target market. Here’s the target market I was going to serve: SME owners in Singapore with a services or products with a clear demand in Google. If you’re a first time entrepreneur, freelancers or dabbler, you’re not in my target market. If you know who you going to serve and who you are going to exclude, you can tailor your services, products and content to fit your audience needs.
Secondly, there you can position yourself to how you want the market to perceive you.
Some Positioning Examples
- Personalized or corporate
- Professional certificates or results oriented
- Detailed Tactics or simple nugget sized wisdom
- Brash, impulsive and idealistic or methodical
- Academically tested
- Beginner or advanced
- Technical or relatable
- Affordable or luxurious
Your positioning will shift according to your target market and your own strengths and weaknesses.
Positioning Case Study
Who are my target audience? These people are small medium enterprises business owners in Singapore. They want to be able to rank for keywords in Singapore and get leads and sales in Singapore.
I also know that I don’t have to be an international expert in SEO to be able to help a company in Singapore rank for Singapore keywords. I then tailored my content accordingly. I’m not writing for SEO junkies. I’m not writing for copywriting experts. I’m writing for business owners and entrepreneurs that want market their services on Google.
I also knew I was going to get undercharged as a SEO freelancer. I also knew I was going to fall short if I became just like any other SEO consultant or company. I decided, I was going to build a brand, and position as a business consultant.
So, I asked myself: how can a brash young 25-year-old stand out from everyone? Well, one of the key decisions was that I decided I would write everything myself.
Here are a couple of other position ideas that I use for my own site:
- I write everything myself, how many SEO consultants or companies do that?
- I give you free business and marketing advice like this, how many SEO consultants do that?
- I don’t just focus on technical SEO, I focus on good copy and quality
- I don’t guarantee rankings, even though I’ve achieved them
- I write detailed case studies and strategies: including line by line scripts you can use
- I publish case studies and testimonials
Positioning is Something You Work on in Progress
Finally, positioning is something you work on as you progress.
When I started writing for this SEO blog, I wrote boring generic blend SEO advice that every other SEO company is publishing. That resulted in a high bounce rate and I knew I wasn’t getting any return visitors. I deleted everything and started writing for my audience: established business owners and entrepreneurs.
What do these people care about? They care about sales. They care about cash flow. They don’t really want SEO, they don’t really want high Google rankings, they want sales. So, I started writing SEO advice that is tailored towards sales and business advice. That is my positioning. I’m not just your nerdy SEO consultant, I am a business consultant to my clients and students.
I also made a choice to not go down the technical SEO route. I don’t think it’s required for the small medium enterprise level. Unless you’re running a worldwide E Commerce store, then probably don’t require advance analytics or SEO analytics. However, I’m writing for the small medium enterprises companies in Singapore. They don’t require that advanced technology. The majority of them don’t even know how to operate Google analytics! This was something I figured out along the way.
Ultimately, when starting a business, you need to know your target audience, their hopes, fears and dreams, what the market thinks of you, your own strengths and weaknesses and how you can position yourself in your market.