Is SEO Pointless for Birmingham Businesses Now?
Having a business is great.
Having healthy competition is useful.
But many businesses are finding the big guys are taking over.
Is this happening to you?
If you run a small retail business in Birmingham or the Black Country, then news of Amazon's “warehouses in the sky” may have sent shivers down your spine.
Amazon has already pretty much destroyed many bookshops in the High Street.
It's dealt a blow to independent toy stores, and with same-day delivery, it's even made in-person impulse purchases redundant.
However, the one glimmer of hope for many was that if you wanted something now, you still had to go to a shop.
Well, no longer.
Amazon's patent talks about huge warehouses floating above major cities, ready to deliver goods immediately they are ordered.
This means, you can be starting dinner, realise you've got no coffee pods and then have them delivered within the hour via a drone.
Corner shops aren't safe anymore!
The death of SEO
You're probably wondering:
“What's this got to do with SEO?”
Well, customers still search for things.
They're still searching for “coffee pods” and they're finding Amazon, so that's why nobody's turning up at your shop, either online or otherwise.
So what's the deal, is SEO really dead?
No, of course not. Many people think it is because they think that SEO means “getting to the top of Google”, but it involves a lot of other steps, and other tactics.
These tactics have nothing to do with Google.
Want to learn how to beat Amazon at its own game?
Building customer loyalty
I remember reading somewhere that “people buy from people they like”.
That's not entirely true, however. They really buy from people they trust.
People trust Amazon because they know they have a rock-solid delivery and returns policy.
So how can people trust you?
One of the easiest ways to build trust is to give advice. It's the one thing that physical “bricks and mortar” businesses still have left.
Even though a lot of sites now have pop-up chat systems, they simply can't replace the physical face-to-face contact that many of us need in order to make an informed purchase.
And so here's a tip that will make your business shine:
Give outstanding customer service
I recently went for a meal at a local gastro pub.
The food was good, really good, but the service was average.
It wasn't bad, but the staff were disinterested.
The chef walked through the restaurant at one point looking miserable. He was just doing his job, nothing more.
Will I recommend it? No.
The thing is, it's easy to go above and beyond with customers.
Yes, I know lots of people are now screaming out “but we have to deal with terrible customers all day!!!”, but yes, that's what happens.
Deal with it.
Be amazing to all of your customers.
Make them feel that, right now, they're the only customer that matters.
If you do, they will come back.
A friend of mine went to a highly recommended restaurant and it was incredibly busy.
He ordered food for himself and his partner, but it was very slow in coming.
When it eventually arrived, it was cold.
He called the waitress over and told her, she apologised and said, “Let me talk to the chef, and we'll sort this out for you.”
A minute later, the chef arrived. He said “Please accept my apologies. We had a very large order just before you arrived which, I'm sorry to say, affected yours, and we missed our own targets, and we'll put it right.”
The next moment, a waitress arrived to take their plates away and re-dress the table with new cloths and cutlery.
A bottle of wine appeared.
Bread, oil, olives arrived.
Ten minutes later, their meals arrived.
The food was perfect.
When they asked for the bill, the waitress said, “There's no bill, that was on us. We hope you enjoyed your meal, and we really do hope you'll come back.”
That is stunning customer service.
But how does this relate to my business?
OK, so you don't serve food, but what do you sell?
If it's books, do you have a loyalty scheme where customers can get a discount when they buy a certain amount of books from you?
If it's bikes, do you offer a free service after six weeks? Do you send out regular emails discussing great rides your customers can try?
As a convenience store, do you have a local delivery service for the elderly?
If you run any kind of business where you deal with the public, you need to go above and beyond.
You can't simply be a “guy behind the counter”.
When customers see great service, they tell people about it.
They tell people on buses, in taxis, on nights out.
They tell people on Twitter, on Facebook and via other social media.
And every time they do, Google is watching.
And as your business grows in popularity, your ranking will increase, and more people will hear about you.
And that is what SEO is all about.
Andy Calloway is the co-owner and head writer for Calloway Green Ltd, a digital marketing agency based in the village of Kinver in the West Midlands.
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