A week does not go by without a least three or four people asking me why I do not market my SEO services to people who are in the Internet marketing industry very hard. They point out that the market should be full of people looking for a professional SEO to get their sites ranked in Google for their particular keywords.
And they are correct.
I do a small amount of marketing in the Internet marketing industry for my SEO services but I actually prefer to target those who do not dabble as deeply in ranking websites. The guy that knows how to rank websites, and decides to outsource it, is typically not my best client as I would rather work with people who have brick-and-mortar businesses or are not in the business of ranking websites, but rather in the business of making money from their websites.
In a sense I don’t want to sell ice to Eskimos.
Sure, there is business in selling ice to Eskimos and your average Eskimo does in fact buy ice but when I spend my majority of working hours ensconced in that world I lose touch with how to help those that have a “regular” business and my heart has always been in operating on a business level as opposed to an Internet marketing level.
It is fairly common knowledge to anyone that has followed me over the past seven or eight years in the Internet marketing world, knows that I don’t do badly for a guy with bum needs. I provide SEO services to Internet marketing individuals, people who provide SEO services to others as well as to people who want to rank websites and have a specific vision for Internet marketing. And I enjoy playing in that sandbox without a doubt.
My real joy though comes from working with people who have a business that is not centered around Internet marketing per se but rather around marketing their business which could be a brick-and-mortar, a website designed as an e-commerce business, a person looking to expand their brand or even someone who is looking for some online public relations. Of course there is some carryover or intermingling with the Internet marketing world but is really a separate entity and operates entirely different.
The thought process is significantly different and the interaction you have with people in those worlds is entirely different. People in the industries I’ve described above don’t spend their days pondering about how to find back links that are relevant and contextual. They don’t drool when they have the opportunity to be featured on a DA 60 website. They don’t go gaga when there anchor text ratio is perfect.
Not that there is anything wrong with that; I kind of roll that way myself at times.
The non-Internet marketing crowd is a little more focused on whether the dollar they spend will bring them two. They would much rather see a well written piece on their business or their brand, as opposed to 40 PR2 (yes, I know PR is an outdated metric) back links generated from Scrape Box or GSA SER. If you mention the term “anchor text ratio” to them their first thought goes to their sailboat down at the docks not what shows up on ahrefs. The entire vernacular and mindset is completely different and more along the lines of how I generally think.
The other aspect that I like about marketing to non-Internet marketing people, is that I am not in a small lake with many other people all vying for the same client base. I’m actually a fan of competition because I believe it is good for the industry and sharpens your own skills and gives you credibility in the eyes of those to whom you are marketing. That’s one reason car dealers all seem to congregate in the same area, restaurants are all bunched in the same few blocks and malls seem to sprout up everywhere. I actually believe you need competition to show that what you’re offering is something that, although can be very unique, is not outlandish, superfluous and completely unnecessary.
If I spend my time marketing to specific industries, I can learn what is best for that industry and be able to offer something that is unique to businesses and people in their field. I understand that there are a tremendous amount of processes and methods that I can do that transcend specific businesses and I implement them of course. On the other hand if I’m working within a particular industry I can see things that your average search engine optimization professional is not going to see usually. I have a little more insight because I spend more time walking the same path as them and seeing things from their perspective.
I believe that is huge benefit to those industries in which I like to specialize. I know what they need, I understand why they need it, and I know how to provide it.
On the other hand I also know how to market to those industries. Do not market to someone who is a professional Dog Trainer the same way you market to someone who is running a law firm in downtown Manhattan. The dog trainer is going to think you’re talking Greek if you approach them the same way as the law firm and a law firm will throw you out on your ear if you approach them as you would the dog trainer. Both industries are as viable as they come and necessary to tens of millions but they are not similar in more than just a handful of ways.
When we take the time to specialize we are able to hone in on some specificities that we may not otherwise have seen and thus we are able to give them something that is just a little bit more special.
That in no way means that an SEO should be turning down business because he doesn’t specialize in it but rather it makes a lot of sense to go the extra mile and learn some industries that you can serve in a way that is a above and beyond what a competitor can offer.
Ice to Eskimos?
Sure, even Eskimos have a need for ice at times but if you really want to build a sustainable SEO service, you would be well served by specializing in one or more industries. Your revenue will increase and you will learn a few things in the process.