Why don't more businesses spend money on SEO?

by ryanjm
30 replies
Just a question for you offline veterans that have talked to lots of business owners. Is there a common reason or reasons why more of them haven't spent money on SEO to try and attract business? Is it that they don't know it exists, think it's a scam, or ?

For instance in the home building niche, I've routinely come across major cities where almost none of the top results have spent any money on SEO. These guys make $20k+ per build, so why wouldn't the guys on page 2+ be spending a boatload to get to page 1?

Thanks for any insights.
#businesses #money #seo #spend
  • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
    Lots of reasons.

    They think it's all BS.

    They don't understand the benefits to them. (Direct measurable benefits.)
    They distrust the people telling them they need it.
    They don't want to spend any money.
    They operate with false information about it.
    They have committed dollars to other media, contractually.
    They want immediate results.
    ...and so on.


    _____
    Bruce
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    • Profile picture of the author Caper224
      Originally Posted by brucerby View Post

      Lots of reasons.

      They think it's all BS.

      They don't understand the benefits to them. (Direct measurable benefits.)
      They distrust the people telling them they need it.
      They don't want to spend any money.
      They operate with false information about it.
      They have committed dollars to other media, contractually.
      They want immediate results.
      ...and so on.


      _____
      Bruce
      ^^^hit the nail on the head. I'd add they're happily ignorant. They see thing moving forward and instead of moving with it they buried their head in the sand an hope it passes.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheKeys
      Originally Posted by brucerby View Post

      Lots of reasons.

      They think it's all BS.

      They don't understand the benefits to them. (Direct measurable benefits.)
      They distrust the people telling them they need it.
      They don't want to spend any money.
      They operate with false information about it.
      They have committed dollars to other media, contractually.
      They want immediate results.
      ...and so on.


      _____
      Bruce

      They don't want to spend the money.
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  • Profile picture of the author VegasGreg
    SEO to them is not a common word to IM Outsiders and is often associated with annoying telemarketing calls.

    Sell the benefits, not the feature!
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  • Profile picture of the author Susovan
    This can be due to ignorance of the of the fact that professionally written, researched articles can really attract more traffic to their sites.......gradually they would realize i guess.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark72
    They simply don't understand how it can be of benefit to them. You need to focus on convincing them that you can sen them more leads and more leads = more money - that they can understand.

    If you try to explain how doing SEO/building backlinks will help to rank their site for certain keywords it just goes straight over their heads.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    They are uninformed.

    Even showing them a Top 3 site for their market they think it's a Scam, Vudu, or that their IT friend can do better for free (same stuff with offline print - they think they can do it in Word :p).

    And everything else that Bruce told above ^^.
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  • Profile picture of the author dmurphy
    Having had the opportunity to do SEO some sizable projects in the past, I concur with what Bruce was stating.

    With SEO, you can't guarantee anything such as time that you'll get a certain ranking, what position you'll see and when you'll see it, etc. They're really taking your word for a lot of it, and hoping you're going to provide some magical service and they will see some ROI. And, while they're cutting checks to you and waiting for this to occur, they're hoping you're not going to skip town with their hard-earned cash.

    During discussions the client, we really had to say in one way or another, "we can give you results. However, we can't really tell you exactly when it will happen, but we're guessing (1 month, 2 months etc.)" Of course, we didn't use those words, but we basically threw the disclaimer in there. The customer obviously finds this hard to get, since they want to know when they can receive a return on their investment (and rightfully so). This makes it even more difficult for them to invest in SEO.

    With one of our clients, they were generally buying PPV/PPC/Television ads, so their result was much more quick and measurable. They paid, they saw the ad. With SEO being such a "non-tangible" product, it makes it a harder sell. Bundle that with the fact that the client doesn't understand how this "SEO hocus pocus" works, and that really makes the sale a bit more challenging.
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  • Profile picture of the author Danielm
    Some people just don't want to spend more money no matter what the results. I was involved in a service business franchise for awhile. A company came and pitched all the franchisees on G. Places ranking. A number of them weren't showing up at all, their customers paid 500-800 dollars each. The service was 100/month and had guaranteed first page Places listings or you don't pay.

    Even if it only took them one new customer every 6-8 months to break even the majority of them still thought it was too much money and refused to sign up...
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  • Profile picture of the author MaxReferrals
    Because in all likelihood they don't understand how SEO translates into
    more customers and more money for them (and working less).
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  • Profile picture of the author jrobconsult
    If you offered 100 business owners a $100 bill with no strings, how many would take your offer? Sad to say, it wouldn't be 100%.
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    • Profile picture of the author Vanessa Reece
      I don't think it's a case of all of them not wanting to spend money. That's a bit of a sweeping statement, although some of them don't; you often find they want the pretty site first and they think that its that which will bring hoards of people into visit.

      Case in point: Early this year I had someone contact me about a business they were launching and they ask a few generic questions and off they went. Two weeks ago I got an email saying, 'Vanessa can you call us, we need to speak to you about SEO.' When I called them they said words to this effect, 'we spent lots of the site, went crazy with it and our web designers told us we should consider making it SEO friendly. We didn't think we needed to so we passed. Now we know we made a mistake.'

      So in usual mother mode I told them they had not made a mistake but a learning curve. I offered to write them a full report on what SEO was and how to implement it on and off their website (they purchased the report) and they got back to me today regarding further services including SEO that they wish to purchase which I explained (but did not out right sell) in the report.

      Don't chastise them - educate them. You'll may even get more business.

      V
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      • Profile picture of the author zimbizee
        Originally Posted by Vanessa Reece View Post

        I don't think it's a case of all of them not wanting to spend money. That's a bit of a sweeping statement, although some of them don't; you often find they want the pretty site first and they think that its that which will bring hoards of people into visit.

        Case in point: Early this year I had someone contact me about a business they were launching and they ask a few generic questions and off they went. Two weeks ago I got an email saying, 'Vanessa can you call us, we need to speak to you about SEO.' When I called them they said words to this effect, 'we spent lots of the site, went crazy with it and our web designers told us we should consider making it SEO friendly. We didn't think we needed to so we passed. Now we know we made a mistake.'

        So in usual mother mode I told them they had not made a mistake but a learning curve. I offered to write them a full report on what SEO was and how to implement it on and off their website (they purchased the report) and they got back to me today regarding further services including SEO that they wish to purchase which I explained (but did not out right sell) in the report.

        Don't chastise them - educate them. You'll may even get more business.

        V
        Vanessa, check your sig links, all broken.
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  • Profile picture of the author 479
    I'm all for being the Father and educating clients in what SEO is and why they should care. I used to be a teacher, so that's fine.

    But the point about SEO being very challenging to explain to non-technical clients I feel is valid. I had a call today from a client who complained that a local competitor is eating his lunch daily because the client has a responsive site with a blog and very rudimentary SEO, while he, the caller, has a DIY freebie template with no SEO and blank pages.

    I told him that I could help him be more competitive to be sure, but that no one could guarantee SEO results with any real accuracy because Google changes their algorithms quarterly, penalizes sites wit back links and is now penalizing sites that don't pay for SSL (or beginning to roll it out). So, in effect, deeper pockets result in better SEO and it takes time to see any results. So...my point (and I do have one) is that SEO is still rough to explain and quantify and dollarize.
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  • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
    Well, they got their businesses to where they are without SEO, and without SEO they'll likely carry on growing (if that's their plan) .
    SEO isn't going to bring more people through the door to spend real money , it's just going to get visitors to the online places and then the battle begins to win the £££/$$$ against all the other online places whereas if the customer actually walks in through the real life door or at worst is on the end of the real life phone call, business is more likely to be done .

    IMO there is too much focus on getting eyeballs to web pages when the only thing most decent clients want is £££/$$$ into the bank account by winning and converting real life customers
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  • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
    Here's my two cents.

    I have an physical offline business but also do a lot online in multiple niches. I also consult to clients who have monthly adwords spends of between $4-20K monthly. All the bigger accounts would spend 20K on a lame branding magazine advert but they wouldn't spend $1K on SEO

    Reasons

    Firstly PPC is easier and immediate

    Secondly. Trust.

    It is always a little bit threatening when you've got to allow back end access to your sites and you feel you are being spied upon and potentially if you terminate your arrangement you will be exposed.

    This why it is easier for someone like Reach Local to go in a manage PPC and then sell SEO services after they have established a relationship.

    I know a consultant who left reach and went out doing SEO and did very well as he converted past reach client into his new SEO clients. Again his success was because they trusted him and he had previously delivered results for business owners when Google PPC was new.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      They don't buy SEO services for the same reason that they don't buy any advertising....

      They don't see the value. And they haven't talked to a competent salesperson.
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      • Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        They don't buy SEO services for the same reason that they don't buy any advertising....

        They don't see the value. And they haven't talked to a competent salesperson.
        thanks Claude.

        I was hoping you would reply here.

        you have more "virtual and street cred" than I do

        I never get on the phone and sell seo, websites, mobile, facebook, etc..,
        never have, never will.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by kirbymarketingconcierge View Post

          thanks Claude.

          I was hoping you would reply here.

          you have more "virtual and street cred" than I do

          I never get on the phone and sell seo, websites, mobile, facebook, etc..,
          never have, never will.
          I think SEO is a complex intellectual sale. It requires education, just like any new idea (New to the prospect, not to us).

          It's why I sell my services by speaking to groups. That talk is the educational process. But it can also be done by webinars, repeated calls, etc.

          Cold calling SEO, trying to sell the idea? I'd sell something simpler, and easier to explain..like PPC first, then start the education process.
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  • Profile picture of the author benbro
    This is a great discussion. And indeed, it's something I've often wondered about - myself.

    However, one thing that has become abundantly clear to me is this...the hard core business owner can be a stubborn lot.

    And guess what? That's not necessarily a bad thing. In many cases; this "stick to what I know and understand" approach to business is why the owner has succeeded in her niche.

    The good news to offliners is that if you're able to persuade an old school client to divert some of their traditional marketing spend to you - for long enough to generate results - these guys will often become your best clients...

    Of course, it goes without saying that you must produce results...but this shouldn't be difficult if you're tracking campaign performance via analytics.
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Lessard
    Actually I am shocked at how many businesses continue to spend money on SEO given the way it is pitched.

    "Hey, wanna buy this thing we can't define for results we can't guarantee? Hec we don't even understand how google ranks things or what they will do next week but wanna buy?"

    ;-)

    Walk in to the same builder you mention above and ask him what commission rate he would pay you for referrals and watch how easily they quote you a number. That they can understand and you can handle that VooDoo seo thingy...
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    If they can't rank their own pages they probably don't understand SEO. So..., sell something they understand, sell the word advertising instead of SEO.

    Each person/client is unique, put yourself in their shoes, is your sales pitch confusing (SEO lingo)?

    The best deal I've made online started out with about 10 emails of just chatting back & forth about the niche & getting to know the other person. That gets you clients sending you emails. Turn the table.
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Ever since the Google "Florida Update" November 16th 2003 the objectives and rules of SEO changed. Many if not most SEO firms are STILL working from a objective stance of pre November 16 2003.

      ANY and EVERY update since November 16th 2003 have been an extension of "Florida". Simply put, when it comes right down to it, in the last 11 years and so many months the rules have not changed. More defined maybe.. but have NOT changed.

      So looking back to this last November. Right at one month short of 11 years, Panda 3 comes out and there are those in the darker half of the SEO community that were crying. Why were they crying? well, they were cutting corners, hedging bets, looking for the easy route. And it failed, and again for the 116th time "Google" ruined peoples lives. ( yes, there has been 116 "known" Google updates since November 16th 2003 )

      Very clearly with Google, you need look no further than the PAST to see what route they are on, and what path you as a SEO provider should be taking.

      Quick raise of hands... how many have ever heard of the "Florida Update"?

      So now lets look at why business' don't spend money on SEO. There is historically 116 times that business sites have basically been wiped off the internet map. For the sake of discussion we will say with each of those 116 business altering occurrences, 1000 business' were directly affected.

      Those 1000 business owners that were negatively affected talk to 10 people ( 10,000 ) those 10,000 talk to 10 more people ( 100,000 ) and those talk to another 10 people 1,000,000 etc and again this has happened 116 times. What becomes the basic word of mouth pre judgement of SEO?

      Another show of hands.. How many know someone that has had a site sandboxed?

      How many know someone, that knows someone that has had a site sandboxed?

      The sad part about that set of questions in particular... NO ONE is going to need to ask "What is sandboxed?"

      TO THIS DAY.. we read "Get #1 listing for 5 keywords". Keyword specific targeting was laid to rest 11 years and some months ago. ANY and EVERY TIME, you see "Get a #1 keyword listing" you are looking at a future sandbox. No if's, No and's, No but's.

      November 16th 2003 was the DAWN of the CONTEXT era. The CONTEXT era has only been more defined and more focused in the last 11 years and so many months. Yes, Keywords are a part of this "New" era, but NOT the primary objective.

      So how do you sell SEO? you STOP selling what you can not produce. You STOP selling "results" that are delivered wrapped all nice and cute in an Agent P package that will self destruct in 7 seconds. You STOP cutting corners, and LEARN what it is SEO is SUPPOSED to be today, and how to effectively incorporate that into the services you provide.

      SEO is not hard to sell the moment you take it from listing results, to bottom line results.

      quick show of hands... how many here have run a Newspaper / Magazine ad?

      A question then... How long did it take to see results?

      Then another quick question... is SEO any different?

      < steps off soap box >
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    I think that it's really an ROI factor when it comes to paying for SEO and the one thing I've learned about SEO is that you can assuredly get a clients site to the top of page one and
    it won't guarantee ANYTHING!

    The reasons can be many but I've found that the clients actual site has a lot to do with its
    performance in regards to ROI.

    So it also boils down to conversions and I've had to learn a lot about conversion optimization
    since doing SEO.

    Conversion optimization starys with what appears in the SERP result and then continues on
    to the page that Google ranks.
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Rus,

      All I can do is whole heartedly agree with your statements. What good is a boom in traffic, if the site is not converting. Like I keep saying.. the moment you change your SEO strategy in general, let alone selling it to one of Return, vs Listing Results this is where the game begins.

      Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post

      I think that it's really an ROI factor when it comes to paying for SEO and the one thing I've learned about SEO is that you can assuredly get a clients site to the top of page one and
      it won't guarantee ANYTHING!

      The reasons can be many but I've found that the clients actual site has a lot to do with its
      performance in regards to ROI.

      So it also boils down to conversions and I've had to learn a lot about conversion optimization
      since doing SEO.

      Conversion optimization starys with what appears in the SERP result and then continues on
      to the page that Google ranks.
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      • Profile picture of the author 9AppAve
        Generational !!!

        This may not be an SEO issue per say, could be a SEO, Non Website, Non Mobile version etc...

        A lot of it however could be based on generation.

        Here is an example that I do not think that most SMB's realize.

        My daughter and some associates were driving through Miami on there way to a biz conference...

        Four people were in the car, average income of the four about 100K, they are in there mid to late 20"s...

        They were looking for a place to eat, as they drove by places slowly on access roads, they tried to look the places up on their phones, they passed everyplace they could not find a site or a menu for.

        Or if they some how found the site and was hard to read because it was not mobile friendly they passed it....

        Why, they felt if the restaurant did not care enough about being found, having a site or having it easy to read on their phone why would they trust their food...

        That is how the younger, educated generation think..... Maybe not all, but that is an example

        Feel free, to use this as a pitch if you wish but this actually happened and feel it happens quite a bit...

        It is worth noting they were not from the area and were trying to research such establishments but still !!!
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        • Profile picture of the author savidge4
          DAMN SKIPPY!!!!!

          That was AWESOME! I am awarding best share of the day right there and its like 4am or something!


          Originally Posted by 9AppAve View Post

          Generational !!!

          This may not be an SEO issue per say, could be a SEO, Non Website, Non Mobile version etc...

          A lot of it however could be based on generation.

          Here is an example that I do not think that most SMB's realize.

          My daughter and some associates were driving through Miami on there way to a biz conference...

          Four people were in the car, average income of the four about 100K, they are in there mid to late 20"s...

          They were looking for a place to eat, as they drove by places slowly on access roads, they tried to look the places up on their phones, they passed everyplace they could not find a site or a menu for.

          Or if they some how found the site and was hard to read because it was not mobile friendly they passed it....

          Why, they felt if the restaurant did not care enough about being found, having a site or having it easy to read on their phone why would they trust their food...

          That is how the younger, educated generation think..... Maybe not all, but that is an example

          Feel free, to use this as a pitch if you wish but this actually happened and feel it happens quite a bit...

          It is worth noting they were not from the area and were trying to research such establishments but still !!!
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          Success is an ACT not an idea
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        • Profile picture of the author DABK
          Long stories to show how a lot of business owners don't know, because they don't track, or don't track carefully enough, where their sales are coming from and are afraid of new ideas.

          I had once an agreement with an auto shop to make them a mobile site, then work on SEO. The next day, he called to cancelled. He'd talk to his friend from childhood who was offended that he'd hire me to make him a mobile site when the friend could do it for free (A week later, his friend made him a mobile site: it was a desktop site that shrank to fit the size of the screen... You could read nothing!).

          The friend didn't believe in SEO, either.

          Anyway, my client put his friendship above making money, so I was out of $657 for the mobile phone and the $400 a month SEO profit for a few months.

          There's a bakery here where half of the pastries are made on site from flour, eggs, milk, etc. I found them 2 years ago, about 6 months after they opened and just about the owner was thinking of folding.

          Most of their sales were to people from his country, specifically, people from his country who attended his church or who he'd met in previous jobs, or friends of friends. He wanted more of them. There were enough of them, he thought to support his shop. He marketed by making flyers and posters and dropping them on their cars when they were in church.

          Except, they were not, for the most part, living or working within 5 miles.

          I liked their stuff they made on site and decided to help. For free, he was doing -$1200 a month at the time.

          I wrote him an ad for a local newspaper that would run in the print and online versions, to attract Americans (i.e., people not from his country, seeing there were a lot more of those around), thought him to give 25% off to people who responded, to do it every time, to give them a buy 1 get 1 at x% off when they came in with the 25% coupon, and changed the copy on his home page and about us page and made him a mobile version of his site. Yes, all for free, while he was arguing with me that none of that would ever work.

          Towards the end of the 2nd day the ad ran, I stopped by to see how it was going. To find out that he was not giving the coupons, or asking people what brought them over.

          He did notice that there were 3 or 4 buyers who were not from his country, but were some 15-20 years older than what he expected. (The ad was inviting parents to stop feeding junk to their kids; come instead to this place get pastries that had nothing in them but milk, eggs, flower, etc.)

          3 or 4 meant 100% increase in business. But not enough to get him into positive cash flow.

          I insisted he have the coupons on the counter top, by the register, and made him an excel page for tracking.

          I stopped by the next day, just before closing. He'd given away 7 coupons to people who said they saw his ad in the print version of the newspaper. But he'd been minding the front of the store only the last 4 hours and his wife didn't give away coupons but she said she'd seen 3 or 4 new faces.

          A few weeks later, the day after his mobile site went up, after a long discussion about what the copy on the mobile site would be, with him arguing against everything I knew would work and in favor of copy that was all about him and where he'd studied cooking and baking and how his mother had been a pastry chef), I stopped by to see if he'd noticed people coming in from the mobile site (there was an offer he had nowhere else except on the mobile site and the copy was all my ideas: I did it for free so I felt I could over rule him).

          There were several people in line. Had to wait some 20 minutes before he had time to talk to me for a minute. He was dumbfounded: just before I'd walked in, a couple of women had stopped by, mobile phone in hand, with his mobile site homepage open. He was, now, a believer in that new-fangled online marketing I was telling him about!

          On the other hand, there are those who are enamored of one or 3 marketing ways that have proven successful to them and are not willing to admit (for reasons I do not understand) that they work or whose conversion of online leads sucks.

          Case in point, a mortgage broker: I made him a site a few months ago. Last week I looked at callfire. He's getting 18-20 phone calls (they go all to him) a month where he's on the phone with leads for at least 2 minutes (longest one last month lasted 16 minutes).

          I cross-referenced the callfire numbers from the last 2 months against his list of prospects or clients. No matches.

          Found out that he talks to them when they call, answers their questions, tries to get them to apply for a mortgage with him. He doesn't follow up. Ever.

          So, though he says he can convert 1 or 2 in 10, he converts 1 in 50.

          He's done ads in the past, stupid ads, the kind that list all the possible types of mortgages he can do. He's placed on in a Spanish paper because one of his processors speaks Spanish, one in a Polish paper, because one of his processors speaks Polish, ignoring completely the fact that the neighborhoods with lots of Spanish and Polish speaking people are far from his office.

          So, according to him, marketing doesn't work. Internet marketing definitely doesn't work. The only thing that works is him networking with real estate agents and referrals.

          If you ask him who's been his best client last year, he points to one of the few who found him on the internet. (We know this guy found him on the internet because of callfire and I happened to be present one day when the guy was there and I asked him how he'd found my client. I asked that in front of my client. My client heard the answer: Found your site on Google. Still, internet marketing, like all marketing, does NOT work!).

          My two cases might be extremes, but a lot of business owners I meet do things like that to a certain degree. And, if you combine that with the endless blind, often stupid, pitches to sell SEO they get, you can understand why they don't buy SEO better.

          Speaking of stupid SEO pitches, I got one yesterday. For a site about me I have. They told me I was missing on 300 visitors a day.

          I'm tall, dark and handsome, I swear. Smart too. But, alas!, there are not 109,500 people (300 a day for a year) who give a rat's ass about me.

          Originally Posted by 9AppAve View Post

          Generational !!!

          This may not be an SEO issue per say, could be a SEO, Non Website, Non Mobile version etc...

          A lot of it however could be based on generation.

          Here is an example that I do not think that most SMB's realize.

          My daughter and some associates were driving through Miami on there way to a biz conference...

          Four people were in the car, average income of the four about 100K, they are in there mid to late 20"s...

          They were looking for a place to eat, as they drove by places slowly on access roads, they tried to look the places up on their phones, they passed everyplace they could not find a site or a menu for.

          Or if they some how found the site and was hard to read because it was not mobile friendly they passed it....

          Why, they felt if the restaurant did not care enough about being found, having a site or having it easy to read on their phone why would they trust their food...

          That is how the younger, educated generation think..... Maybe not all, but that is an example

          Feel free, to use this as a pitch if you wish but this actually happened and feel it happens quite a bit...

          It is worth noting they were not from the area and were trying to research such establishments but still !!!
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          • Profile picture of the author amenwolf
            Originally Posted by DABK View Post

            Long stories to show how a lot of business owners don't know, because they don't track, or don't track carefully enough, where their sales are coming from and are afraid of new ideas.

            I had once an agreement with an auto shop to make them a mobile site, then work on SEO. The next day, he called to cancelled. He'd talk to his friend from childhood who was offended that he'd hire me to make him a mobile site when the friend could do it for free (A week later, his friend made him a mobile site: it was a desktop site that shrank to fit the size of the screen... You could read nothing!).

            The friend didn't believe in SEO, either.

            Anyway, my client put his friendship above making money, so I was out of $657 for the mobile phone and the $400 a month SEO profit for a few months.

            There's a bakery here where half of the pastries are made on site from flour, eggs, milk, etc. I found them 2 years ago, about 6 months after they opened and just about the owner was thinking of folding.

            Most of their sales were to people from his country, specifically, people from his country who attended his church or who he'd met in previous jobs, or friends of friends. He wanted more of them. There were enough of them, he thought to support his shop. He marketed by making flyers and posters and dropping them on their cars when they were in church.

            Except, they were not, for the most part, living or working within 5 miles.

            I liked their stuff they made on site and decided to help. For free, he was doing -$1200 a month at the time.

            I wrote him an ad for a local newspaper that would run in the print and online versions, to attract Americans (i.e., people not from his country, seeing there were a lot more of those around), thought him to give 25% off to people who responded, to do it every time, to give them a buy 1 get 1 at x% off when they came in with the 25% coupon, and changed the copy on his home page and about us page and made him a mobile version of his site. Yes, all for free, while he was arguing with me that none of that would ever work.

            Towards the end of the 2nd day the ad ran, I stopped by to see how it was going. To find out that he was not giving the coupons, or asking people what brought them over.

            He did notice that there were 3 or 4 buyers who were not from his country, but were some 15-20 years older than what he expected. (The ad was inviting parents to stop feeding junk to their kids; come instead to this place get pastries that had nothing in them but milk, eggs, flower, etc.)

            3 or 4 meant 100% increase in business. But not enough to get him into positive cash flow.

            I insisted he have the coupons on the counter top, by the register, and made him an excel page for tracking.

            I stopped by the next day, just before closing. He'd given away 7 coupons to people who said they saw his ad in the print version of the newspaper. But he'd been minding the front of the store only the last 4 hours and his wife didn't give away coupons but she said she'd seen 3 or 4 new faces.

            A few weeks later, the day after his mobile site went up, after a long discussion about what the copy on the mobile site would be, with him arguing against everything I knew would work and in favor of copy that was all about him and where he'd studied cooking and baking and how his mother had been a pastry chef), I stopped by to see if he'd noticed people coming in from the mobile site (there was an offer he had nowhere else except on the mobile site and the copy was all my ideas: I did it for free so I felt I could over rule him).

            There were several people in line. Had to wait some 20 minutes before he had time to talk to me for a minute. He was dumbfounded: just before I'd walked in, a couple of women had stopped by, mobile phone in hand, with his mobile site homepage open. He was, now, a believer in that new-fangled online marketing I was telling him about!

            On the other hand, there are those who are enamored of one or 3 marketing ways that have proven successful to them and are not willing to admit (for reasons I do not understand) that they work or whose conversion of online leads sucks.

            Case in point, a mortgage broker: I made him a site a few months ago. Last week I looked at callfire. He's getting 18-20 phone calls (they go all to him) a month where he's on the phone with leads for at least 2 minutes (longest one last month lasted 16 minutes).

            I cross-referenced the callfire numbers from the last 2 months against his list of prospects or clients. No matches.

            Found out that he talks to them when they call, answers their questions, tries to get them to apply for a mortgage with him. He doesn't follow up. Ever.

            So, though he says he can convert 1 or 2 in 10, he converts 1 in 50.

            He's done ads in the past, stupid ads, the kind that list all the possible types of mortgages he can do. He's placed on in a Spanish paper because one of his processors speaks Spanish, one in a Polish paper, because one of his processors speaks Polish, ignoring completely the fact that the neighborhoods with lots of Spanish and Polish speaking people are far from his office.

            So, according to him, marketing doesn't work. Internet marketing definitely doesn't work. The only thing that works is him networking with real estate agents and referrals.

            If you ask him who's been his best client last year, he points to one of the few who found him on the internet. (We know this guy found him on the internet because of callfire and I happened to be present one day when the guy was there and I asked him how he'd found my client. I asked that in front of my client. My client heard the answer: Found your site on Google. Still, internet marketing, like all marketing, does NOT work!).

            My two cases might be extremes, but a lot of business owners I meet do things like that to a certain degree. And, if you combine that with the endless blind, often stupid, pitches to sell SEO they get, you can understand why they don't buy SEO better.

            Speaking of stupid SEO pitches, I got one yesterday. For a site about me I have. They told me I was missing on 300 visitors a day.

            I'm tall, dark and handsome, I swear. Smart too. But, alas!, there are not 109,500 people (300 a day for a year) who give a rat's ass about me.
            True story, been there done that..
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  • Profile picture of the author approveme
    SEO is a slow but rewarding process. Many business owners who have invested money into the business need their profits fast which of course is not possible with SEO. Along with that SEO is a dynamic field where the strategies, means and modes need to changed quite frequently this sometimes creates a level of mistrust among business owners since they are used to treading a fixed plan that has been setup at the begining of a financial year or a product launch. SEO is also dependent on so many other factors which results in a lot of dependency that many business owners hate.
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