SEO is the Solution
Making money has never been more important; proper Search Engine Optimization mixed with a digital marketing plan including customer search insights and a healthy portion of proper keyword strategy is our recipe for success at Rich Benjamin & Associates. Vendors know that the web holds the key to success; unfortunately the vast majorities of said vendors are un-educated in Web and Social Marketing and may not be prepared for what they have ordered. Meet Rachel Brown, owner of the small Need a Cake Bakery, she became a victim of the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it.” More than 8,500 people took Rachel up on her Groupon offer of a 75% discount on a dozen cupcakes, forcing her to make over 100,000 cupcakes to fill all the orders. In the end Brown lost almost $20k. “We take pride in making cakes of exceptional quality but I had to bring in agency staff on top of my usual staff, which had nowhere near the same skills. I was very worried about standards dropping and hated the thought of letting anybody down. My poor staff members were slogging away at all hours — one of them even came in at 3 a.m. because she couldn’t sleep for worry,” she told The Telegraph. “We are still working to make up the lost money and will not be doing this again.”
It gets worse… Rachel is from a town just outside of LondonEngland; therefore the $20k quoted above is in pounds. She actually came out of pocket almost $40, 000 inUScurrency to honor her contract with Groupon and their buyers.
Today’s economy has business people grasping at straws they are unsure of the correct decision. It only makes sense that people who have worked in one industry and have a business model that is laden with labor and materials costs, will fail if they utilize a service like Groupon. Please understand I feel that Groupon is a good and valuable company, they provide an excellent service. However they are in business to make money just as we all are, their sales people who are paid and have great incentives to get new product and to sell it on line.
I feel for Rachel, I sat through a Groupon proposal with a previous company it is easy to get swept up in the excitement. They never actually say “You will be selling your product or service for 75% less than normal.” What they told me was we will increase your traffic; more customers equal a great opportunity to grow your customer base, if your product is good… You will be able to make them a steady customer. We do all the marketing the way to get people through your doors is to run a great offer at 50 % off then we split the proceeded… 50/50. And we will cut you a check immediately this offer will only run for (xyz) period of time, if no on buys you’re not out anything. Now 50% of 50% = 25% that is what you will gross per sale before expenses, can you still make money is the question? This type of deep discounting has been reefed to as a “Fire Sale” is that how you want your company image to be portrayed?
Don’t get me wrong there are businesses that can really do well with the help of a program like Groupon, a business or a product with fixed/low labor costs that can increase flow or service without adding to its overhead. Those are rare: a Zipline experience is a good example, fixed material and labor costs. Your labor is standing there whether the product is at low capacity or high capacity; it is a fixed operating cost. If you run 1, 2, or 25 people through the operating expense is the same. But if your material and labor fluctuate as product is produced, and you do not account for it in a profit and loss projection this type of program is a recipe for financial disaster.
It is simple (1) Know your operating expenses know how much labor cost is per item and how much material cost goes into each item produced. If you sell a product for less than it costs you in materials and labor to produce, you will go out of business FAST. As for increasing traffic to your store, you will only see the opportunistic customer one time…. just long enough to take what you freely give. If that customer does come back they expect the product at the low price. Why not you have conditioned the consumer and cheapened your product. If a Cupcake is really good, the baker has a great personality and we bond I will gladly pay $4.00 for the experience. Think about it a cup of coffee with a squirt of chocolate syrup and a splash of cream is almost $5.00 at Starbucks. My wife use to ask me “Why do you pay $5.00 for a cup of coffee?” my response was this, “I do not pay $5.00 for a cup of Coffee, I start my day by going into my favorite Starbucks and as I walk through the door. I am greeted with smile and a friendly GOOD MORNING Rich… That is what I pay $5.00 for the coffee is an added bonus.” Service is the secret ingredient in any successful business, sure the product has to be of a certain quality, but I believe for the most part we buy into people before we buy into products.
Instead of trying to offer your product to everyone in a desperation sales technique, how about sitting down and coming up with a sales and marketing plan that focuses on the consumer who are actively looking for your product. At RB&A our first move when we acquire a new client is to understand their product, how they operate and how or what their possible consumer is interested in.
I would start my consumer Keyword search with the term “Need a Cake” the name of Rachel’s business. There are 22,200 monthly searches for this term on average, with roughly a 20% competition for the word or term. You can write several articles in a blog and very quickly rise to the top for this term. However this term is what I would consider a (Global) term, meaning it can be used or found virtually anywhere in the world and not do Rachel much good. Depending on the type of business and the product or service it offers, I believe there should be a prioritization of search terms into one of the following 3 category, Global, Regional or Community terms. After Global search terms come (Regional) terms which are a specific geographic region or area on the globe, individual states I.e. Florida, or countries like England are good examples of Regional search terms. The most specific of the three levels would be the (Community) level search terms these terms would be specific towns or communities. Rachel sells cakes and cupcakes she is not a global producer like Dolly Madison, so she should be looking for business in her region or her immediate community. Let’s narrow our search, Rachel is fromReading, Berkshire England 15-20km outside ofLondonEngland, lets search
” need cake London“
As you can see by narrowing our keyword search from a global term to a Regional or community term we have found 9 incredible new KEYWORD search terms that with little creative writing effort will yield you all the new business that you want or can handle. 10 minutes of research can open new doors that you had only dreamed were possible. Better yet is the fact that if you keep writing for these terms you will soon become a very trusted authority on the subject of cakes inLondon. Now put some sprinkles of Social Media Marketing and a good frosting of E-mail campaign and you are a recipe for success.
Loyal consumers don’t just buy a product, they buy into an experience. Consumers love to feel connected this is the art of true sales and marketing. People want to believe, they want to be part of something. We love to be entertained in the process, stand your product tall and shout here I am and you do not want to miss out on this experience. People will come to see what you have, you had better make sure your product is good; or your company will suffer a quick death.
Now go out there and HAVE FUN at what you do! And for goodness sake’s, remember simple math works best in 99% of these cases, if you KNOW what you have in a product, you will KNOW where you can set a discounted price to maintain a healthy profit margin Do the math before you sign anything. If your findings come back negative and the sales person keeps pushing for the sale, do not be afraid to say “No thank you, I appreciate you taking the time to offer this opportunity to me, but it just does not fit our business model. Thank you for your time.” Then politely slide their paperwork back towards them and end the meeting with a handshake and a smile.
To read the entire conversation related to Rachel’s story CLICK HEREMarketing, Marketing Advice, SEO Help for Small Company