Hacky Sack

A year ago, our Ken Honeywell compared your computer to the cotton gin, and since then, we’ve received nearly 150 organic search visits to our site through various phrases about that cotton gin.

Now, 150 visitors searching for information about the cotton gin and showing up on a marketing site probably won’t result in the magic combination the ends up with our entire company retiring here. But it does make the case that a little content creativity can go a long way online.

Let’s start by thinking about your audience.

Say you run a business selling hacky sacks. It’s pretty straightforward. You want the people searching for hacky sacks to wind up on your site and to buy a hacky sack from you. And let’s say you do that. Let’s say you convert every single hacky sack search in the world. You’re still missing out.

Think of all the people out there searching for ways to improve foot and eye coordination or balance and agility. You could probably sell those people a hacky sack, too. But since they’re not searching specifically for a hacky sack, you’ve got to get creative to show up in their search results.

This is where long tail searches come in.

Even if you’ve got content about agility, your hacky sack site’s probably not going to show up if someone searches for “agility training.” But if you’ve got a blog post about how a person can use a hacky sack to improve foot speed and reaction time in their living room, not only are you providing useful and interesting content, you’ve got a better chance of capturing a long tail search on that more specific topic.

And this is where you get to engage your visitors.

A visitor might not have much of an opinion about hacky sacks. But there’s a really good chance you’ve got some potential regulars who can do some serious hacky sack tricks—and are dying to show off a couple of videos. And a periodic guest blog by an athletic trainer with tips about how to use a hacky sack to improve athletic performance is something athletes would use, come back for, and share.

You’ve got to remember that not every visit will be—or should be—a transactional visit. You’re building trust with a community of people who will become your greatest advocates if you play your cards right. Be useful and interesting to your visitors and they’ll remember you. They’ll tell other people about you. Good content is about positive brand and product exposure.

We haven’t sold a single cotton gin, but there are 150 people who know about Well Done Marketing now who didn’t a year ago. And, as long as we’ve made a good impression, we can’t help be think that counts for something.

[Tip: It may be tempting to write a post about baby elephants or your new favorite beer, but if you can’t honestly connect your topic to your product or service, you’re only creating confusion for your visitors and derailing the purpose of your site–making it pretty much a generally bad idea.]