Problem: How to position your company well
Shortlist, a list building agency, helps their clients by generating a healthy backlink profile and getting them featured on websites generated through guest blogging. Shortlist has a unique story in that they had wonderful positioning, lost it, then found it again. Today, Dave Schneider (cohost of How We Solve and head of Shortlist), talks about what lessons he learned during this process.
We offer a lot of other things. And the problem was that we kind of lost our way with it and started to water down our positioning, which hurt us in many different ways.
The Steps to Good Positioning
Dave shares what he learned from the missteps that Shortlist took, as well as their wins when it comes to positioning.
Shortlist’s biggest missteps with positioning
When it came to lessons learned, Dave lists two main things they did, which hurt their positioning:
- Naming services on their websites, which weren’t searched for by clients
- Shifting their focus on the wrong audience
The other aspect of positioning is who you provide it for. And for the entirety of Shortlist we almost had no ideal customer profile. It was, “whoever has the budget to spend on marketing.” There were so many different niches and companies and business models that we were servicing. And so about eight months ago (give or take), we said, “Well, let’s choose one and go with it.”
Find and embrace your niche
While you want to be able to reach as many people as possible, you shouldn’t do that at the cost of finding your perfect niche. Dave agrees that as businesses grow, it can be helpful to branch out and offer other services, but you don’t need to “go all the way” and offer as many services as possible. Staying in your niche and evolving those services so they can be the best possible product/service for your clients is the most important thing.
You branch out but you stay under that umbrella
Set aside a budget for SEO and link building
It is important to set aside a budget for SEO and link building, however, don’t just throw a large lump sum of money at it. The best approach is to test out the waters with different approaches for a year. This is a long-term aspect of your business so it is important to nail it down just right.
Setting aside a budget for SEO, for link building, is important because we know that generating inbound traffic is kind of that holy grail for marketing and leads.
The Three-Month Pilot
In these three months, choose ten keywords you want to focus on. Work on those for three months and after that time period, go back and analyze your data. See which keywords you are ranking for and which you aren’t. What targets are you looking for?
Google ultimately is the one that decides which [keywords] you’re allowed to rank for. And so you want to kind of go where you have momentum.
Ranking number one for your keywords
It depends. There are useful guidelines and key factors you must look at:
- Your budget
- Your current ranking status
- The strength of your website
- The difficulty of your keywords
- The competitiveness of the niche
Onsite SEO (internal linking)
This is something you should start utilizing before you dive headfirst into offsite SEO (external linking, outside of your website). Using links to other portions of your website is a great SEO technique that most people forget to do.
Internal linking on your blog posts. Posts that you can link to other blog posts (with the right keywords). It makes a massive impact.