What Happened to the Freedom of the Internet Entrepreneur?

The best way to avoid the FEAR of getting the Google Slap is to avoid giving Google, or any other third party, total control over the success of your business. As an entrepreneur, isn’t one of the reasons you went into business for yourself to be your own boss; to not have to answer to anybody but yourself; to create something you are passionate about and build a business on your own terms?

Then why are so many people building their business on Google’s terms? Why are so many people settling for the rules set up by Google’s playground? Why do so many businesses live or die based on search rankings and then set themselves up to live in fear of the Google slap?

Because, some would argue, it’s Google’s world and we are just living in it.

I don’t hate Google and this is not a rant against their company or their business model. I actually use Google quite a bit. I recognize it as a very powerful tool which I can use to leverage the efforts of my business and my client’s businesses.

Yet I’m very clear that it is just a tool. And like any good tool, you get the most from it when you leverage it to your advantage rather than allow it to consume all of your energy.

And I can think of no greater waste of energy, time and talent than fear. So here are 3 very simple ways to avoid the fear of the Google Slap and build a business, a real business, leveraging the power of Google and other search engines.

Step 1: Create Amazing Content that your Customer’s Care About

I know, this is really no earth shattering news, right? After all, a lot of the algorithm updates that have happened over this past year were implemented to create a better search experience for the customer and bring up the most relevant content. Everyone is talking about quality content.

But figuring out what “quality” is can be tough. That’s very hard for a robot that cannot think or feel to do. And, as good as the engineers are at programming probabilities of keywords and such, only a human being, your customer, can have an emotional response to anything that they read. Only your customer will know if the words, images, or videos that you put together matter to them.

Face it, your customer doesn’t care what a robot thinks. They only care about themselves.

And the only way they are going to know that you get them, that you understand what really matters to them, is through you, your business, and the content and information you deliver.

Initially, in the world of search, it was all about quantity. Put as much as you possibly can out there so that you get a backlink, get a good search score, and get ranked. For better or worse a lot of keywords were scattered all over the web – some good, a few excellent, but a vast majority was just re-hashed stuff.

Those days are gone. And like in any normal consumer economic cycle the trends are moving toward quality. Just like in the offline world. A household may start with having no computer. Then, they will add more than one to their stock until every room and every person in the household has a computer or two. That’s the quantity stage of the cycle. Then, when they don’t need “more”…they demand “better”. Smaller, faster, more features, better design, etc.

It’s the exact same with content. Your customers right now want better. And, since Google wants that too you can leverage their rules to your advantage.

Step 2: Direct your Customer to an Opt-in or Squeeze Page

Your primary goal with any piece of content you put up should be to dazzle your customer enough to encourage them to become a part of your community. You do this by sending them to an opt-in page or squeeze page. So, what is an opt-in page? What is a squeeze page?

You may not know them by name, but you have surely seen them. This is simply a web page where you are asked for your name and email address (sometimes more information than that) in exchange for something. That something could be a report, a book, a video training, an Mp3 download, or something else.

The customer’s goal is to get something of value, for free. Your goal is to be given the opportunity to continue to market to that person who was motivated enough to give you their name. Without their contact information, you have no way of knowing who they are or where to reach them. And, with millions of pages on the web and your customer’s shrinking attention span…they are not going to remember who you are let alone where to find you!

You have to take initiative and reach out to them so you can continue to establish a relationship with them.

Step 3: Build a Relationship with Your List

But collecting names alone is not enough. That’s about as useful as a rock collection, and about as exciting. You have to build a relationship with your list. And to do this you need, guess what, more original and quality content. By continuing to give them value you can show them your expertise and build trust and rapport.

Remember, they won’t buy until they know, like and trust you. They won’t buy unless you stay in the forefront of their minds as they continue to search for answers about what is more important to them. They won’t buy from you unless they remember who the heck you are!

You don’t want someone else to sneak in during the last three feet of the sale and woo your customer to their product or service simply because you forgot to build a relationship, loyalty, and a sense of reciprocity in your marketing.

Never rest on your laurels. Adding people to your list, collecting rocks, doesn’t equal money in your account. The sale doesn’t occur until you ask for it, and they open their wallets. This transaction is easier to achieve when you set up a system to build that relationship.

This means building an email list and marketing to that email list. The easiest way is to set this up on an autoresponder system through Aweber or whichever customer management software you use.

And, you need to put some thought into your email follow-up campaign. Where are you leading your customer? What do they need to know in order to eagerly purchase or join whatever your endgame is?

Remember, make each piece of content matter!

Step 3 ½ : Build your Business!

Google can’t touch your list. When you do a good job of exchanging great content for the right to market to your future customers through your opt-in or squeeze pages, you put yourself back into the driver’s seat of your business. You won’t have to worry about the Google slap or business shattering algorithm changes. You have your list. You have a relationship with that list. You are golden.

Creating marketing campaigns isn’t enough. Today, it’s more about providing consistent, quality content that has a purpose. Knowing this is one thing; executing it is something completely different. The consistent part throws many businesses off as they strive to do everything else that’s required in their business. This is where content marketing comes into play. To get training and resources for content solutions, go to: http://www.TopShelfContent.com

dawn damico, content marketing strategist, monthly newsletter

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