Let’s imagine for a moment that you are a simple seller, working in a small bookstore. In this instance, we’d like to think that you’re not hiding behind your desk, playing Minesweeper, and waiting for your buyers to come to you! As any successful business person will tell you, the world of sales is a dynamic, proactive and consistent one, which requires your absolute attention, and the ability to constantly be one step ahead.
In order to sell a book to your next visitor, you have to not only meet his or her needs, but you also have to give them a tantalizing glimpse of the product experience they are hoping for. Entice them, tempt them, make them feel drawn to all you have to offer. In order to increase your chances of success, you have to turn all of your senses on, and carefully measure every aspect of your sales prospect. This goes far beyond considering which shelves they are looking at in any given moment, and requires you instead to take into consideration their age, general interests, gender, and culture specifics. If that sounds like a lot to take in, consider for a moment the fact that we’re now in the digital age, and all these senses are now handled admirably by Google Analytics. Today we have tools to measure just about everything on our marketing channels, but in order to use those tools and measurements effectively, we first have to understand why we should measure such things, and what differences they can make.
Let’s take our analogy further: imagine for a moment that I got a job in the same small bookstore, and need to impress my boss. In our shop, we mostly sell spiritual and self-help literature – so needless to say, it’s definitely a specific niche.
My mindset goes towards my customers. What am I going to say? Hold that thought for a moment – listening needs to come before speaking. I need to learn all about the customers coming through my door, and then I’ll be able to make more intuitive and effective suggestions, based on the input I receive (we’ll learn later that inputs from potential buyers are actually invaluable keywords).
Ding-dong! Someone is about to walk in! Get yourself ready… oh, wow – ain’t she a stunner! What an absolute beauty, just my type!
“Good afternoon, what a lovely day it is today! How may be of assistance?“
She’ll look up, surprised at my pleasant greeting. “Hi, I was just looking for some interesting titles in self-help, maybe transformative memoirs or something“
(Hell yeah, I tell myself. I’ll transform into anything you want me to!)
“I see! You’re a woman seeking some inspiration. Tough times I guess? Yeah, I can imagine, I’ve been through a lot. My #guineapig has died and I’m still suffering. My girlfriend left and I just can’t understand it – I’m funny, #handsome, #charming, #smart. Did I say #humble? Oh yes, I’m #veryhumble! I guess I’m open to ideas now. What was that you said you were after? Looking for a memoir, right?“
Ding-ding. She was saved by the bell and bounced away from the store. My boss is all about metrics, unfortunately. So he writes it down:
– Too many keywords
– Irrelevant keywords
– Misguided landing site
– High bounce rates
– Poor conversion
It doesn’t sound I’m keeping this job, right? Well, you wouldn’t have to be Einstein to understand that this whole business will collapse quickly, especially if keen visitors are being put off their purchases, and are not turning into buyers.
Now, let’s pause the tape a moment and see how I can improve my ratings. It’s all about metrics, right? In that case, I can do better. I have to do better – she entered the shop looking to buy a book, after all. So let’s try it over again… and thankfully, I’m offered another chance to do things properly. It turns out that she wasn’t running away from the store for good, frightened off by the blabbering salesman; she simply had to take a call outside the door. She steps in, and understandably, looks around to see if there’s another seller to hand.
“Excuse me”, I approach her tentatively. “May I suggest transformative memoirs written by a special needs parent? The book is about #transformation, #discovery, #denial, #hope, #fear and above all – about #truelove.“
(My boss’s eyes immediately light up from the corner and mentally starts making plans to buy himself a new car. Could her finally have a salesman on his hands who can find his way around relevant keywords, and who is focused on a product that’s most likely to sell? It’s certainly starting to look that way, and the woman’s face has similarly softened with interest, too).
“Oh great – that sounds fascinating. It’s not actually what I was after myself, but I’m close friends with a parent of a child on the #autismspectrum, and this might actually be a good read.“
I’m on a roll at this point. “Nice! We also have a very insightful book by Temple Grandin, a #best-selling author in #specialneeds. The social feedback on this book has been absolutely amazing!”
She’s on the hook… now I just have to reel her in. ”Cool”, she replies.”I’ll definitely check it out. I’m also looking for books to elevate my sense of #fulfillmentinlife, maybe something that cultivates the #courage, #compassion, and #connection needed to embrace your #imperfections.”
“I see… can we discuss it over #dinner?!“
Ding-ding. And off she goes, bouncing away from my store for good.”
I guess she wasn’t into meals after all.
Alright, as you can probably imagine, my boss kicked me out as quickly as the dreams of his new car dissipated. Seeing as I was out of a job, I thought I’d try my hand in the world of publishing, instead. What could I write about? Well, maybe I could produce a series of books on relationships, and how getting a date is harder than it looks. Sure, it might bring some success… but in the long run, it probably won’t lead to the most fulfilling of lives.
Suddenly, a thought strikes me. I’ll write the best book I can on the subjects of #courage, #compasion, #fullfilmentinlife… just without sinking too far into sentimentalism, and losing my Love Doctor vibes. Since I’ve been volunteering with some non-profit organizations, I’ll also get stuck into writing some #inspiringreallifestories from the #specialneeds community. Suddenly, I’m on a path I can really follow.
All that’s left to do is to find that rare beauty that stepped into my unfortunate bookstore episode. That’s no mean feat – there are millions of women out there, and I don’t even have a name to go on. No matter – I’ve no doubt that she’s the one who’d really love to read my book.
Actually, when I stop to think about it, I actually have quite a lot of the information needed to make a good start on finding her. After all, I know that she ’s a woman in her 30s, looking for #self-help genre, probably an #motivational #reallifestory about #compassion and #courage, something to elevate the sense of #fullfillment. That’s exactly what my book is all about! If only I could locate her somehow.
The fact of the matter is, even though I might not be able to, the power of SEO has exactly that ability.
I can use those keywords and demographic details on my marketing channels, and thanks to the wonders of search engine optimization, I can significantly boost my chances of being discovered by my dream girl.. even if happens to be quite unfortunate with booksellers when trying to locate an interesting read. Maybe her search queries will result in relevant content that delivers #fullfilmentinlife, through a #reallifestory about #compasion? It’s starting to look a lot more likely!
This is what SEO does. By using demographics and carefully-chosen keywords, SEO forms your marketing messages in the shape of relevant content based on search queries. The SEO (thankfully), removes all of my hopeless babbling and focuses entirely on relevancy. I’ll keep my mountain of nervous bragging bollocks for myself, somewhere hidden in the basement of my mind (I can’t tell you how happy I am to use this Britishism somewhere in my book!)
In order to convert a visitor into a buyer, all we need is compelling content that delivers our marketing messages to our target audience, without any unnecessary distractions.
Keywords are the answer, and they’re the main thing we need for success. This is what fuels our SEO shuttle, and delivers the results we’re after. We get them by reading comments from our customers and by listening to their needs. Their needs are our future keywords, that will come out of our marketing channels and rocket their way to our sales prospect. Simple!