SEO Guide 101: SEO Is Still Marketing And Marketing Is Still Driven By Creativity
An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. -Edwin Land
In the SEO world, we often get caught up with what’s going to happen with recent Google updates, rankings, errors, conversions, traffic, and a whole slew of other issues. But, in the midst of this hailstorm, we often forget that in the end, SEO is still marketing, and marketing is first and foremost a creative venture. It only has overtones of data being used, SEO white-hat practices, site-health, and so on.
There is no doubt that you should keep on top of good SEO practices for a website, but really, proper practices don’t outright attract customers. They may make the users experience better, and keep the Google Gods appeased with an immaculate site health, but marketing has been, and will always be more than that. Just because SEO is confined to the virtual world certainly does not mean you’re stuck in box with what you can do. Creativity sells, and if that’s the name of the game, we should be sure to use that thought when doing SEO.
SEO Is Still Marketing
The job of anyone doing SEO is primarily to attract potential customers, retain their attention, convince him or her that something is worth buying, and make the whole experience pleasant enough that they may be willing to do it again, or in the least, refer someone else to you.
There is so much focus elsewhere nowadays in the SEO world, you can sense the continuous anxiety of people scrambling to make sure they’re doing what Search Engines want them to do, and again, this is needed. But to spend so much time worrying rather than doing what is needed is counterproductive at best.
And what is needed, are those 4 points above:
Attraction, Retention, Convincing, and Pleasing.
Attracting Through Creativity
Attracting through creativity is what first comes to mind when thinking of marketing and SEO. In order to gain the attention of anyone, you have to do something that is attracting to one of their many senses. For the virtual world, we are limited somewhat as touch, smell, and taste are all certainly excluded. But even those can be touched upon indirectly by imbuing imagery, or drawing on old memories, such as grandmas freshly baked cookies.
But online, we are left with site and sound. With those two senses we need to conjure up the others, and for clarification there are more than 5 senses. They certainly become vague but are present nonetheless. For instance, our sense of time, humor, hunger, thirst, and the list goes on. But we can influence those other senses online through the only two we have access to; those again being site and sound. Imagery is powerful, and when combined with sound, you can conjure up all sorts of feelings in a person. I’m sure we all know this well enough.
Point being, that attracting customers through SEO does not confine you to a world of keywords and rankings, site traffic and bounce rates. Sure those things are present and important. But all the data and information in the world does not in itself draw more traffic or conversions to your business. You have to be creative with the data you have in order to be successful; you have to make something of it. You simply can’t read a few facts and say that needs to change, and it’s done. SEO is marketing, and as such, those that do SEO are marketeers… we should all start to act like that.
Retaining Through Creativity
What better way to keep a person around than by impressing them with something humorous, clever, informational, topical, or simply put… awesome. You have to offer something appealing in order to keep the attention of someone you’ve worked hard to get. Again, this won’t come from the facts and data itself, such as women loving bracelets this fashion season, baseball waning in popularity, or the odd rise in popularity for parachute pants. That information means nothing on its own, but needs to be implemented in some fashion.
This is where your awe-inspiring creativity comes in. If you managed to get a potential customer to enter your site through some clever ad, a well designed infographic, well written guest blog post, or even a simple referral, you then need to up the ante once they’ve entered your site. They went to your site due to something creative and clever prior, so you’re going to have to be equally if not more creative and clever once they’ve entered your site.
We all know that people love being sold an image for instance. If you buy this bar of soap, you’re gonna be as soft as that babies bottom. But once they enter the site, if there are no longer any visual clues to the soap being soft, and rather lets say the message being sold now is that you’ll smell good. Well that’s nice and all, but I was more concerned with being soft to the touch… not smelling of lavender.
The idea in the end is that the design of a website is more than just proper SEO practices. But a large portion of it is aesthetics as well as ergonomics. People should be pleased by what they see, read, and envision when they enter a website, and those things should fall in line with what is being sold to them outside of the website. It may sound a little difficult… but hey… just be creative.
Convincing Through Creativity
This follows the same lines as before, where you can use imagery to place an idea into someone’s thoughts without them really knowing that it has taken place. A sad person wants to be happy, and notices a smiling woman driving in a convertible. An overweight person wants to lose a few extra pounds, and what do you know, there’s a story of a person who did just that. A bored person wants to be excited; a hungry person wants to feel full. All of these ideas, and any others, can be sold through the only two senses we have at our disposal online, site and sound.
You can convince people that by purchasing your products, or visiting your website, they will have their hopes and dreams met. A lonely man wants to find a companion? Well sir… at our site we have Binders of Women given to us directly from Mitt Romney. Any type of woman you can imagine could be met. Pictures of people meeting for the first time, laughing and having fun on their first date, snuggling up next to a fire, even testimonials.
And oddly…. That pretty much sums up Match.com marketing strategy. They tried very hard to be as creative for convincing they can sell romance and relationships online, and they’ve done a pretty good job of that. Their customers… were certainly convinced that meeting the love of their life was possible, maybe not certain. But definitely possible.
Pleasing Through Creativity
Finally, if after you’ve attracted a customer, retained their attention, and convinced them to buy your product or use your service, you are going to want to make sure that their experience as a whole was pleasing enough such that they would use you again or recommend you. Obviously if any of the first few stages failed, you wouldn’t have to worry over this one because it wouldn’t matter if they didn’t buy anything. But customer satisfaction is crucial, especially in a day and age where anything to be upset over could be seen and reviewed by potential customers down the road.
One of the worst practices in SEO is the deleting or drowning out of negative comments. Let’s not forget why those comments were made… if they were so unjust they themselves would be drowned out by the multitude of positive comments. So really it should signal for a business to get their act together and not take it to heart. Really, them voicing their opinion on what upset them should help you to do better business by avoiding it in the future. Follow up emails, or thank you notes, even dancing kitty emails, anything to show your gratitude for their service, and continued concern over their being a happy customer will go a very long way in ensuring your customers are pleased. And as such, willing to use your product or services again.
The idea here is that those doing SEO should not forget the end goal in mind here. A banner ad does nothing if it doesn’t attract, a guest blog post does nothing if it puts someone to sleep, and an infographic is wasted if its showing information in a dull way, or information that no one really cares to know anyhow. We have to be creative still, even though we feel we are confined to a box designed by search engines and ourselves. And even if we were confined to a box, how would our creative minds break free of that?