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December 1, 2014

Dragon’s Den, Websites, and Arlene

Rant about Misunderstanding of Websites by Smart Business People

When watching Dragon’s Den Wed. Nov. 19, 2014, (see video episode below) a BC man shocked everyone asking for $2 million for just 4% of his business.
(Disclaimer: these are not direct quotes – but by memory).

What does his company do?
Generate traffic and leads to real estate agents and companies.

How does he do it?
Through creating well-optimized websites, ranking them, getting traffic to them, and generating leads from them for the real estate firms.

He said it takes a year to build the search positions through SEO (& website), but once done, it can bring huge returns.
This sounds like a long time for people, but he’s right – real estate is a VERY competitive niche in search engines, and there are SO many keyword phrase variations.

Frustrated rantAnyway, Arlene Dickinson, who I respect as a business person, just didn’t get it this time.  She said there must be huge competition of other companies trying to do the same thing.  The man (Morgan Carey) said, No, amazingly not.  Very few deliver comprehensive web services to real estate agents.
Arlene then kept smirking in disgust as if the man knew nothing, and insisted,
“Come on, there must be many who are making websites for real estate agents.” and later she muttered something like,
“You’ve been had. They just make websites. Alot of companies do that.”

Here’s my rant.
1. She wasn’t listening.  That’s one of my beefs with these know-it-alls. They are awesome at business in general, and their respective fields they do business in, and investing, but it gets annoying when they suddenly know all about an industry having done no market research about it themselves, and less than the person pitching to them.  I remember several occasions when they were adamant about something, but very wrong.  We all make mistakes. Now the main one.

2. To continue – I could tell she wasn’t listening, because she thought they “only did websites”.  She didn’t seem to get this. She should know marketing. You can’t bring leads to agents if ALL you do is “websites”.  Websites do not bring more leads or business.  THey need TRAFFIC and CONVERSION to contacting the agents.  In competitive niches, there is a HUGE amount of work between the “A” of “website” and the “Z” of “leads”.  Let me educate a little.

* Make website  (majority are not made with search engines in mind, nor with marketing conversion in mind).
* Optimize the website for search, and for marketing purposes (they include great tools like a CRM integrated with it).
* Establish a web presence beyond the website to increase reach and exposure to the brand and website
* Populate those external web properties with content that establishes the company as an expert in it’s field
* Drive traffic to the main website from other web properties through social media, syndication, press releases, etc.
* Make and rank VIDEOS to help ranking and promotion, and other marketing activities.

She’s right that there is no shortage of freelancers and companies “just making websites”.  But she totally missed the main point – anybody nowadays can make a website – it’s the integrated tools for marketing, the traffic and ranking combined with that which has very little competition.
What is still very rare?  Being able to turn that website into a money-making machine for your business.  THAT skill has very little competition. Business owners have no patience for that skill to get put to work, nor the budget for the time and work it takes to achieve it.
The reason? They don’t understand it.  They don’t realize all the work involved between “making a website” and getting to the point of getting lots of leads through that website.

So, in the end, the business owners decides:
1) I don’t want to take the time it takes to make my website visible and effective, or to educate myself on what is really needed.
2) I don’t want to invest in experts to get my site more visible through other web properties.
3) I only expect a website to solve my problems, and some basic on-site SEO (rather than continual content marketing from external sites which are required also as part of “seo”)   At this point, I must say that many web design companies are deceiving.  They leave the impression to business owners that a “well optimized website” will rank them in search engines.  So they advertise, “search friendly websites”, or “includes SEO”.   What they MEAN, is they intend to make the website structure search friendly, and perhaps add the meta tags needed.  This IS necessary for search rankings, HOWEVER, it is only the required FOUNDATION for good rankings.
Without on-site SEO, you will NOT be ranked well.   However,
WITH on-site SEO, it is USUALLY NOT ENOUGH to rank well (unless you have very little competition in your city).
What is required is OFF-SITE optimization of external web properties – (create them, brand them, populate with content that LINKS to your site, get Social Media buzz about them).
Nowadays, even ranking well is not enough – an online REPUTATION is needed to get more conversions from traffic to prospects and sales.

THIS is where (1) those who rank well and (2) those who don’t differ.
(1) is willing to invest time or money in the ongoing external content & brand marketing (Offsite Optimization).
(2) is NOT willing to invest time or money into ongoing external optimization.

Don’t follow the mistake of Arlene and equate these statements
there are tons of people doing websites”   with
we make websites AND optimize them AND work at it until it gets LEADS for the business“.

There’s a whole lot more time, effort, and expertise separating those statement, and few are really doing comprehensive packages (partly because many businesses aren’t willing to pay for it).  That’s why the competition is a lot LESS than people realize.

Please leave your comments or observations.
No disrespect to Arlene – a far better person and business person than I, I’m just pointing out how even smart business people don’t get the difference between “just doing websites” and even SEO, and overall optimization of not just the website, but other web properties to make it all work together to get leads.

People know that Marketing is needed beyond websites, but perhaps this is where the confusion happens.
Modern SEO is a form of marketing, they are not separate services anymore, but integrated.  Many good marketing activities WILL increase the rankings of the website, and good marketing content on the website will increase conversions.  So part of any good SEO package will be what is often considered in the “marketing” category.  But the focus in external optimization are the parts of marketing that increase search rankings – popular articles linking to your site, social media buzz about the site, videos, etc.

Optimization of the website is crucial and is a foundation of good search rankings.  But then the broader activities need to BUILD on that foundation for it to be complete.

Call us for the latest SEO packages and deals.   778-578-1202

If you see the Dragon’s Den episode with Nanaimo’s Morgan Cary, you’d notice how he says they do way more than websites, but people only hear “you do websites”. This is very typical – it’s the only part people can understand and relate to, and it’s what feeds the GoDaddy model of cheap websites – and people wonder why they get no customers – because it takes MORE than just having any old brochure website to get new customers – it needs to speak the language of both search engines and target customers.  (There was a video here, but was removed from Youtube).

We helped a real estate agency in New Westminster with website + SEO.  It does take time, and while researching a system, we did come across this company mentioned in the video, but not everyone can afford their excellent high-end system, so we chose a plugin instead that feeds the property info, and has some better SEO features than most out there.  I assure you, boiler plate real estate sites (which ARE in abundance) are NOT good for SEO (in spite of some company’s claims) – since they are either framed, or don’t allow for individually optimized pages and urls.  There really are very few real estate websites that are really designed with search engines in mind – but it takes more effort.

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