Networking versus SEO - Effort vs. Reward - who'll be the winner?
Having spent the last few years of my business life singing Google’s praises and how SEO (search engine optimisation) is the only way to market a business, I’ve done the most extraordinary thing (for anyone who knows me well) and booked ourselves a very, very expensive exhibition stand at a high end networking one day industry event. Gawd what have I signed us up for?
I’ve spent several hours today filling in forms, putting together a check list for the what’s needed on the day (yes including don’t forget business cards), deciding upon our most impressive event photos which we’ll enlarge and print to make our stand look appealing, and diligently working on the exhibition brochure.
I’ve already invested time and money and the networking hasn’t even started yet! The printed pictures are going to cost me a few hundred pounds and having our brochure entry in colour (well you can’t exactly scrimp and save can you once you’ve agreed to exhibit?) is another hundred on top. Then there’s the bottle of fizz to entice clients into leaving their business cards with us, then there’ll be the coffees, teas and drinks on the day. We’re up to £2,000 by now at least and for a one day event?
But it’s not just the company card we’re denting, there’s the ‘time’ cost of being out of the office for the whole of the day and that’s doubled because I’m taking a colleague with me. Poor James wasn’t given much of a choice. I’ve already involved him on my photo search today. What other tasks will he be asked to do between now and next Friday?
I’ve never been one for networking. Rightly or wrongly I think it’s a lot of effort with the ‘potential’ of reward and it goes against everything I strongly believe in. When I was 11 years old my best friend’s father who was a self-made entrepreneur told me one gem of wisdom and I’ve lived my whole life by it: ‘Minimum effort but maximum reward’. Now it doesn’t mean work lazy it just means work smart.
That’s what I think SEO is. It’s damn smart. Our whole business is run through a successfully optimised website. We don’t do any cold calling. We haven’t exhibited for over 6 hours. We don’t network. We don’t advertise. We simply focus on a strong Google presence and in my humble opinion it’s why our business has been a success. In the last 365 days we’ve had 209,474 unique visitors through our site searching using a staggering 72,729 different search phrases with just over ¾ million page views, Google Analytics gets my vote! Now that’s what I call minimum effort, the clients who call us and email us have visited our site and want our help – now.
Networking is my opinion just so ‘old skool’ – it’s something you have to invest a lot of time and often money in with the hope that someone ‘might’ want what you do. So I’m putting them both to the test.
Who’ll be the winner and have I got everything so wrong before now or is Google the modern networking? Who do you think the winner will be? I’ll be blogging with the results shortly…..