A colleague and I were talking about the Google Penguin / Panda updates as well as how Google Analytics no longer shows the keywords people use for searching when they’re logged into their Google account (aka Not Provided).

The more I think about these updates — and the more I look at small business websites — the more I come to know, with certainty, that Google is forcing companies to become really good at marketing.

An example of really bad marketing

A prospect called a few weeks ago. They wanted help with (I think) SEO and content for their new site in progress. When I viewed the proposed site template, however, I just about had a heart attack.

The template was ugly. It was ugly and poorly designed. It was ugly, poorly designed and lacked any type of lead generation.

When I pointed all of this out, the prospect said, “We like it. We just want you to write the copy.”

I politely declined. Actually, I wasn’t really polite at all. I said that my writing any kind of copy would be a waste of my time and their money.

When I told this story to my good friend Jill Whalen, she commented that she was doing a webinar on client responsibility.

Client responsibility. I knew instantly what she meant.

You’re responsible for creating really great marketing

I look at **a lot** of websites. I used to think that lack of or poorly done SEO was the number one mistake companies make. It is a huge mistake, one I see often.

But the even bigger mistake companies make is . . . not doing any marketing at all.

I see it time and again — a company creates a website and then basically lets it sit there . . . month after month, year after year. In addition to a neglected site, a company will do nothing in terms of advertising, direct mail, social media, nothing.

As I stated in my post, Effective Marketing Isn’t Easy or Cheapmarketing is now paving the way to sales. With the rapid changes happening today, it’s imperative that you:

  1. Regularly create content (blog posts, white papers, case studies, FAQs, e-books, reports, tools, apps, etc.).
  2. Add this content to your site and then let other people know it exists.
  3. Repurpose this content for a social platform (just pick the one where your customers / prospects congregate).
  4. Optimize your content (and the rest of your site) for those people who have no clue you exist.
  5. Create an e-newsletter, send it out religiously, and use it to point people back to the great content on your site.
  6. Develop direct response print ads (yes, I said print ads) that include an offer (one of those great white papers or reports you created). Use a special landing page with a special URL so that you can track response.
  7. Buy a good list and send direct mail letters — again, offering one of those reports or white papers you created. Create a duplicate landing page and a new URL so that you can track response.
  8. Thank your customers for referring you. Send them presents and things. Everyone loves a gift, even if it’s a Starbucks card.
  9. Talk about what you know and freely share your knowledge with others. Encourage people to share it with those people they know and then thank them when they do. (I love it when people thank me for sharing their content. It doesn’t take much time but the sentiment goes a long way.)
  10. Measure every thing you do and if something doesn’t work, either figure out why or try something new.

Do all of this and you won’t have to worry about Penguins or Pandas or your site getting “whacked.” You won’t have to resort to dubious tactics that produce zero results. Most important, you won’t have to pull out your hair wondering why you’re not getting website inquiries.

Dianna Huff is the founder and president of Huff Industrial Marketing, a full service agency that tackles a host of marketing and communications challenges for manufacturing companies.

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