An open letter to Execs who feel trapped by SEO

An open letter to Execs who feel trapped by SEO

Image by Martin Howard, used under Creative Commons license.

What follows is a true story.

I walked into one of Australia’s largest distributors of a particular type of automotive parts, to chat about a piece of editorial.

The business owners and execs were smart guys.

They knew their customers and their competition inside and out.
One of the owners of this business gave me the most comprehensive overview of what they do and why they do it. He told me about how the order in and keep inventory; how their sales team handles calls; even how their customer service is so perfectly arranged that people who need parts anywhere in the country feel like the service they get is local to them.

It was an amazing story. 

We talked about benefits and needs, and about this piece of editorial he wanted to put into a trade journal. Then, just as I was packing up and getting ready to go, he asked me:

‘Hey, can I run something past you?’

I looked up. ‘Sure thing,’ I replied.

‘We’re spending on a lot on SEO, and I wanted to find out if you think it’s worthwhile.’

Ummm, ok, I thought. I asked: ‘How much is a lot?’ 

‘Well, we’re spending roughly $75,000 a year,’ he replied seriously, his dark brown eyes pools of worry.

My own eyes nearly burst out of my head.

‘Is it working for you?’ I asked.

‘Well, see, that’s the thing,’ he fidgeted. ‘I don’t know.’

‘Right,’ I said. I paused, watched him. He knew it wasn’t good, he was burning up about it. ‘Have you got any reports I can look at?’ I asked.

He was dead-straight. ‘We don’t get any,’ he said. ‘But the problem isn’t really that. It’s that I’m too afraid to cancel it. What if it’s the SEO that’s making us successful? This guy has us completely over a barrel.’

No shit.

He didn’t know if it worked. His consultant didn’t report anything to him.

He didn’t know enough about whether it worked or not to make any kind of decision.

For all he knew, he could just be piling his money up and setting fire to it, year after year.

The question is: What could this guy have done differently?

He could ask for reports, and ask for them to be explained. He could educate himself about SEO, despite his limited time, and find out if it was a reasonable spend.

Did he cancel the contract?

That’s something I never found out.

So, what’s the moral of this story?

The moral is that you, as the executive in your business, have an obligation to understand exactly what you’re spending your money on, and how it’s working for you, including financially.

If you know your customer journey as deeply as this guy did, but your content team can’t do the maths to tell you what it’s earning you (or not), then, Houston, you have a problem.

But it’s easy to solve. 

Book yourself in for a full content valuation session with me. I’m the only person who can do this in Australia. If you do what I say to do, you’ll know the financial value of your content assets to within a cent.

But remember, this is for assets: Things you own on platforms you own. It doesn’t apply to expenses like ads or social media. Why? Because they’re billboards – an advertising expense – not a content asset.

Knowing your content-related financial components is not optional in 2019 if you’re intending to play in this space and do it right.

As a carrot, I’ll send you a set of formulae cards by post, after your session, which will help you understand how it works.

AND you’ll get the spreadsheets I built for you, so you can use them for modelling.

It’s a sweet-ass deal, if I say so myself.

Leticia Mooney

The Brutal Pixie is Leticia Mooney. Race: Eladrin, Class: Publisher. --- Leticia is Australia's foremost authority on publishing in a business context. She ghostwrites for, and advises, entrepreneurial individuals in the professional services.

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