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Where Google Holds No Dominion

I recently sent an email to all of my awesome blog subscribers that asked a single question: what is the one thing that will help your business the most? I've received a number of great responses, and wanted to take today to begin to answer one of them.

As a side note, the question I asked falls into the “people know what they don't know” view of people rather than the “people don't know what they want until they're shown” view – something I'll be talking about in posts to come.

With that digression out of the way, here is the question I received back:

Hi Robert,

As for now, after Penguin, I'd like to read about easy (referring to the time needed) ways to get traffic beyond Google. We as bloggers can't remain at the mercy of something like big G who always push big dogs, Adwords, G+ and everything that make it money nuking small websites. It's their business politics but we must find a way to overcome this kind of web-racket, imho.

Cheers!

[name removed for privacy reasons]

A fantastic question, and one that is on the mind of many marketers as Google continues to pollute its search results with G+ posts in a misguided effort to get people to join G+ and provide “personalized” search results.

In case you're not familiar with the recent Google updated dubbed “Penguin” it's an update on Google's effort to clean up it's search results and reward “high-quality” sites while making life even tougher for web spammers. For more on the update see this post on the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog (as mosts posts I've read offer no real analysis whatsoever, as does this one).

In the face of Pandas, Penguins, and whatever animal Google decides to name its next algorithm update after one thing is abundantly clear – if you don't want to be beholden to Google you need to diversify where your visitors come from, and the two places they hold no dominion are social media and IRL (in real life – not the Internet).

It All Begins With Your Ideal Customer

All talk of branding aside, the first thing you MUST know for your business to succeed is who your ideal customer is. Write the description of this person in painstaking detail and then create a computer wallpaper and put it there, print it out and put it where you'll see it all day everyday, and before you do any marketing or writing read the description again.

Knowing exactly who you can best help is immensely empowering. It means you can safely ignore everyone else. And that's a really good thing to do.

Connecting With Customers In Real Life

By “real life” I mean not on the Internet. That includes networking events, phone conversations, Skype (even though yes it does use the Internet), trade shows, magazines, direct mail, etc. Google doesn't dominate here, and these channels are well established.

Connecting With People on Social Media

By “social media” I mean anywhere you can interact with people outside of your blog. This includes all the biggies – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, Pinterest, and whatever else marketers determine is the latest flavor of the month.

The key here is to know whether these locations are worth your time, meaning are your ideal customers there? Sites like Quantast and Alexa provide some demographic information, however if the site owners can tell you for realz that's even better. Keep in mind that there are MANY niche forums that could be of immense help.

Once you identify the sites where your ideal customers hang out start a conversation. The relationship may begin as shallow – a tweet here, a mention there, a +1 over there – and later, once you actually talk with people, become much deeper. And if they don't that's okay too – keep at it.

Your Blog + Email Subscription = Awesome

Let's not forget your own business and your email subscribers. Make it as easy as possible for the people you connect with (who in turn are connecting with people you aren't connected to) can share your content. Invite them to ask questions of their own or on behalf of their friends. Hold webinars and ask them to invite a friend. Create a hangout on Google+. Hold a group Q&A using a telephone conference service, and again ask them to invite a friend.

The Key Is Focus

Let me say that again – the key is focus. Focus on your ideal customer. Think of this person as you write your posts. Keep this person in mind as you do searches to find niche forums. Bring the image of this person to the forefront of your mind when you go to events and talk with people.

This is a long-term growth strategy – not a “quick fix” or “get rich quick” type of scheme. If you're serious about building a business that grows over the years and provides you the money, happiness and freedom you want think long-term. Relationships, be they online or offline, take time. Don't forget that, and act accordingly. In the end not only will your business last longer than most, it will sustain you and your clients for life.

Comments

  1. Great post Robert, clear and detailed. Having been affected by Penguin who kindly reduced my traffic to one tenth while leaving my rank untouched, I had a thought about joining their paid link scheme, called AdWords, or begin using G+ but then I decided it’s not my way to go. I hate being forced to do something especially if it’s for someone else benefit. And as a retaliation I’m not going to use their free web storage or the coming comment system. I’ll stick to AdSense just because I don’t have something better, for now. Same thing for Gmail. 🙂
     
    The point about knowing your ideal customer is very important even if for a small blog like mine it’s a bit difficult to figure out but you’re really right when you say that everything begins there. I just hope to be able to use the social media effectively and with a little time but for this I guess JugnooMe will come handy.
     
    Great post, tweeted and stumbled. 😉

    •  @Andrea H. | The Hypnotism Weekly I had considered AdWords when Google stopped providing us the keywords that people used to get to our sites. Thanks to Google’s schemes to increase the user numbers for Google+, (not provided) now ranks the #1 keyword people use to reach my site, for a total of 44.58% of all visitors in April 2012.
       
      It’s abundantly clear for those of us who watch these things (people like you, I, @ChuckBartok and other readers) that Google will do what Google deems is in their best interest. They rely on ad revenue for their income so anything to boost those numbers is fair game it seems.
       
      To succeed as we move forward we need to decrease our dependence on Google and be more proactive in connecting with our ideal customers. For me that means social media and offline methods.
       
      I hope today’s post helped.

  2. Are you sure we are not related…….Every valid position you post above is what I have been preaching to the internet audience for 6 years….WE DO NOT sell products or services through the internet, rather the internet is the pipeline that keeps a fresh number of like minded people “hooking up” getting to know like and trusty and then become huge sources for referrals. Last week my telephone and webibar time was 32 hours.the rest of the time was writing content to keep the dialogs going…
    Google is a very modest source of traffic to our sites and those of our clients….
    Interesting to see one client, in a very visual business, have Pinterest become their number ONE referral source in April

    •  @ChuckBartok the idea of a “visitor source portfolio” isn’t new, however today it’s even more relevant. The Internet is vast with many people there. They aren’t all on the “popular” sites. So the challenge is to find them and connect with them. And that isn’t always online.

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