Bill Kopatich, an Online Media Strategist, addressed the growing disappointment among professional service businesses on their results with SEO Marketing when he was recently featured on CNN.com in a piece about marketing beyond the top of the search engines. Small Business Trendsetters also recently published an interview with him on this topic.
“Clearly having your professional service business show up at the top of the search results on Google, Bing or Yahoo is a key factor in generating potential prospect traffic for many businesses”, says Bill Kopatich. “But many of these businesses showing up at the top are disappointed in their actual results and are not seeing the customer flow they had expected.”
Kopatich continues, “Online marketing companies and SEO experts pitched the popular concept of getting businesses ranked high on the search engines through SEO or by using PPC, and they succeeded. What the business owners thought they had purchased was getting more customers. Unfortunately being at the top of the search engine results hasn’t always translated into getting more customers.”
Kopatich notes that consumers today are very educated about online search and they don’t just click on a high-ranking result and call to do business, especially with high price-tag services. For a high-value service like plastic surgery, the prospective patient will do more research on at least three to five of the surgeons found in the search results before calling even one of them. They will Google the name of several surgeons to see what other information is available about the surgeons. What the potential patient typically finds are a web site, a LinkedIn profile, a directory listing and maybe a few reviews. All of these plastic surgeons ranking at the top have spent considerable sums getting there, they all appear to be competent, but they probably all appear similar. The real challenge for the surgeons is how to stand out among the five to ten competitors that show up on the first page so the prospect picks them over the others.
Kopatich has suggested some free or low cost methods for professionals to implement to gain more exposure online when prospects are doing more research on the business or professional by searching on their name. One is to claim and optimize the business’ Google Plus Local Page. This is a free service from Google and it provides for basic business information, ten photos and five videos relating to the business. The videos can offer compelling information about the business or professional and unique services offered. Another idea is to claim listings on multiple online service and business directories, especially for businesses focusing on local clients.
Kopatich stressed that one of the most powerful ways to stand out is by being featured as the industry expert through quotes, interviews and articles in the news media, including newspapers, online news sites, TV and radio as well as in other new media such as podcasts and internet radio. Exposure in the news media with credible third parties talking about the professional as the trusted expert and authority in the industry carries the most impact for a consumer looking for a solution to his problem. Another impactful way mentioned to stand out as an expert is to be a published author. Becoming a published author is easier than ever now with self-publishing platforms such as Amazon Kindle. Online press releases about what the business is up to, even about community service projects the business is involved in, keeps the business showing up for the good things that the business or professional is doing.
Kopatich summed up his points about marketing beyond SEO by saying, “Professionals have likely spent a lot of marketing dollars with SEO getting the traffic, but if a bit of extra effort is taken to position themselves as the trusted expert and authority in their industry, more prospects will choose them over their competitors and business can be doubled or even tripled.”
Bill Kopatich is President of Charlotte, NC-based Local Marketing Solutions, a marketing agency that helps entrepreneurs and professionals in medical, legal, accounting, real estate and financial services become the logical choice among their competition when consumers or other businesses are looking for a professional service provider.