The danger of playing with SEO is you might win

Athletes running a race and crossing the finish line

When people type into Google what you do, or ask a question that you’d like to be the answer to, you want the search engine results to feature your website. It’s the Holy Grail. Or so we’ve always been told.

There’s no shortage of advice or specialist consultants telling you how to appear on the first page of results for high-traffic search terms. That might be great for ecommerce, but when you don’t need a huge number of clients then attracting a ton of clicks isn’t necessarily what you want. In fact, it might be exactly what you don’t want.

So is SEO important for coaches and consultants?

Do you really want them to ‘find’ you before they’re ready?

Getting your offer in front of people who aren’t ready to buy isn’t going to work. It’s why I often tell coaches and consultants that they don’t need paid ads, and the same is true for SEO.

It might be nice for your ego to come up as the #1 ‘business coach’ but if that brings thousands of people to your website every day would you be able to work with them all?

For most people, volume of traffic isn’t what they need.

What they need is someone who is looking for something very specific.

Attract less people

In a way, another form of ‘SEO’ is to focus your marketing efforts on your ideal client, thinking specifically about where they are now and where they want to be.

Here’s a personal example.

I am not interested in giving generic marketing tips and tactical advice to people looking for shortcuts. There are a lot of people already doing that. That’s not my niche. That’s not my ideal client.

I’m interested in people who are looking for something different, because what they’ve tried in the past hasn’t worked or didn’t feel right for them.

So what did I do? I wrote this blog post: How do you make marketing work when everything you’ve tried so far hasn’t?

It’s a very specific title and the post is clearly written for someone in a very specific place.

Try Googling that title, I bet it’s number one on your search results.

There won’t be thousands of people asking this question. But for the ones who are, this post is exactly what they’re looking for – it contains helpful advice specific to their needs and points them to where they can learn more.

Focus on your ideal client

Consider where your ideal client is now. What are they thinking, feeling and doing?

Next, consider where they want to be. Once there, what might they be thinking, feeling and doing differently?

Your marketing focus is the connection between these two places.

You’ll attract the people you’re looking for when your content shows people how working with you can get them from where they are to where they want to be.

I go into much more detail, with many practical exercises to guide you through exploring this process in my book Reframing Marketing.

But… Surely, if I get loads of people to visit my website some of them will convert?

Well, that is the traditional way of looking at it. But attract-in-bulk-and-cross-your-fingers is only a good strategy when the sale matters, not the client.

In my experience, these are the kind of people who don’t see the value of your work. They’re looking for a shortcut, or someone to do the work for them. That rarely works with coaching and consulting services.

So yes, more people will mean more leads, and probably more conversions. But it’s unlikely you’ve attracted good clients, the kind of people you really want to work with.

Fewer search results, more clients

Instead of going wide, go deep.

What are some of the specific questions people ask when they are ready to work with you? What questions do you get asked most? Which questions cut to the heart of where your ideal clients are and where they want to be?

By focusing on very specific answers to these questions and putting them out there, you will become known as the go-to person for answers to these questions.

The people who find you will be the people you want to find you – the ones who are ready to do the work.

If you want to work with clients who excite and energise you then I invite you to reframe your marketing. You can use my book, Reframing Marketing, to make an ethical (and effective!) marketing plan that will guide you through attracting exactly the kind of clients highlighted in this blog post.

You can find out more about the book and order your copy at reframingmarketing.com