I was reviewing some correspondence with one of our clients the other day when I was struck by the importance of coaching as a part of the SEO and marketing process. People tend to ignore this because on the surface, it seems to undercut one of the features of outsourced marketing: Clients can get back to their core business, leaving their firm to handle the strategic internet marketing campaign. If you are that firm, why sabotage that by nagging your client?
In fact, if youâ€™re like us, one of the axioms of your approach is that the client is your consultant. Theyâ€™re your chief informant for their industry and region. That means they usually have a legacy of independent marketing efforts and insights. As their marketing coach, itâ€™s your job to dig deeply and find the parts of that legacy that have value online.
For example, the client I was thinking of had a number of local television spots. On his own initiative, he added a link to one of them as a small video file. I saw this and immediately shot off an email suggesting that he get himself a Youtube account, add his TV spots and optimize his Youtube presence for target keywords, his region and his branding. As a next step, I would advise him to embed the video back into his site. (If his site was a high end affair, then hosting the flash video himself would be the way to go, to really make the look fit his branding, but this client doesnâ€™t have those concerns â€“ stability and ease of use are more important.)
In the case of another client of ours, his site came from a template linked to a vertical business network â€“ there were lots of similar sites out there. Aside from standard on-page optimization efforts with text, titles, interlinking and so on, we noticed a couple of compositional elements that could change. His template used two stacked fields for body text. Add too much to the top field, and youâ€™d push the bottom field down â€“ and the bottom had the siteâ€™s main menu in line with it. Since scrolling down to do basic site navigation is a pain, we advised him to perform a subtle redesign that got rid of that top field. These small changes have helped give him a more functional web design. This client had already put some videos up on Youtube as well, so we showed him how to tweak them to be more search friendly.
If youâ€™re a conscientious coach, youâ€™ll always find something with SEO value somewhere. Does your client have a close relationship with someone who has a more popular site? Is he or she doing charity work that gets local, offline news coverage? Is he or she going to trade shows that can be spun into content? Itâ€™s exciting to unearth your clientâ€™s potential, and helps them feel like full participants in the marketing process. Thatâ€™s what we aim for.