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Seo For The Unknown


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#1 SEOigloo

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 04:32 PM

Good Afternoon, My Friends,

Got contacted last week by a company who has created a new product. It's an invention, you might say, and will be used as a sales tool by sales people. I've never heard of anything like this product before, and according to the inventor, it's genuinely a brand new idea. That's neat, but the trouble is...

how do you optimize a site for a product for which no one is searching?

I know that in the the big business world, manufacturers create new products and hire marketers to 'create' a need for these things via advertising.

In this case, though, we're talking about a small business with an unknown product.

As an SEO, one generally does one's research and reflects the findings of that in the tags and copy of the pages being created. But when no one is searching for the product, the title tag may simply sit there winking at you, looking vacant. ;-) The meta description tag...well, yes, we can write a little pitch for that. Alt tags and headers...we can do our best. But it's a new situation for me, attempting to optimize for something that, in the minds of the public, doesn't exist.

Have you had experience with this situation? I'd love to know what you did.
Miriam

Edited by SEOigloo, 13 October 2008 - 04:34 PM.


#2 Ron Carnell

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 04:58 PM

Does the new invention fill an existing need, Miriam? Why would someone buy one?

I suspect that's what you'll have to optimize for initially (while also optimizing for the product which will "eventually" become a valuable search term).

#3 SEOigloo

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 05:54 PM

Hi Ron,
Thanks for your reply. In regards to whether the product fills an existing need...the product is a bit cerebral. Rather than being a "clean your storm drains in 4 minutes thing," it's more of a "be better at what you do," kind of thing. It's something that could be helpful to people, perhaps, if they knew it existed. So, I suspect you are right in that the owner needs to imagine the scenarios in which the product might be helpful, and that you'd need to optimize based upon those scenarios + the product name.

My feeling is that social media marketing may be key here for creating awareness that such an item exists.

Miriam

Edited by SEOigloo, 13 October 2008 - 05:54 PM.


#4 iamlost

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 05:57 PM

...and will be used as a sales tool by sales people...

If it is a sales tool then it does something(s), accomplishes something(s), replaces something(s), integrates with something(s), leverages something(s) - all of which are existing query terms.

There are two parallel tracks to develop - the brand, i.e. Kleenex, and the value of the function, i.e. disposable soft tissues. The first will take time, varying by the speed of market uptake and it's true uniqueness. The second is a matter of advertising especially, I would think, reviews by prominent salespersons (start local and cheap, build up as budget and cajoling allows) and interviews/articles on sales oriented blogs and magazines.

But the kicker is what Ron identified - what need will it fill at what price point, or what is it's value within it's market. Which is another point to isolate: what is it's marketplace? 'Sales' is an enormous very general field. Is it every salesman at 100$, every sales organisation at 10,000$, enterprise organisations at 100,000$?

If it has not yet been done, the inventor really really needs to do a careful thorough marketing plan. If the idea truly is unique and truly revolutionary missteps and time will cost dearly.

#5 bwelford

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 06:16 PM

As I suggested in the MRN - The Customer Is The Boss article, this needs to be looked at from the point of view of the best possible prospect for the product. Ideally, try to think of prospects who are "suffering pain", which is an old selling trick. How would they be looking for solutions to their pain? How might they Google a solution?

Of course if this is not a solution to someone suffering pain, but merely a "nice to have" thing, then the selling job is very much more difficult.

#6 SEOigloo

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 08:32 PM

What need will it fill at what price point, or what is it's value within it's market. Which is another point to isolate: what is it's marketplace? 'Sales' is an enormous very general field.


Agreed, Iamlost. I function well in regards to 'needs'. But it can be tougher to make 'wants' into 'needs', if you get my meaning. Advertising tells us that we need a new luxury car, need crispy breakfast cereal, need a trip to Sweden. The fact is, we don't actually need any of these things, and I, for one, have never been convinced by this type of marketing unless the need is real...like "I need drinkable water." That's a true statement.

So, when it comes to psychological yearnings, twisting want into need takes some stretching. You can say "you need this sales tool", and maybe some people actually do need it...but, in reality, I think most of what we promote answers wishes rather than needs. That's fine...I can do that. But I can't help noticing, within myself, how unconvincing I find such propositions.

I really appreciate your input.

Ideally, try to think of prospects who are "suffering pain", which is an old selling trick.

That's great advice, Barry, and believe it or not, I think I could actually connect a type of pain with this product. Thanks!
Miriam

#7 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 07:21 AM

My feeling is that social media marketing may be key here for creating awareness that such an item exists.


Yep, that's how I'd go about it. Generate buzz. Think of all the web 2.0 sites that filled a need that didn't exist, but they created buzz about them, and became hits. Same kind of effort is probably needed in this situation. Linkbait might be a way to get the buzz started, but on the whole, it's probably going to need a concerted effort of lots of social marketing avenues tied together to get noticed. Don't just get links. Get noticed.

#8 EGOL

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 08:38 AM

I would be sure that my creation is properly protected by patent or copyright if applicable. After that this sounds like more of an opportunity for wholesale / affiliate promotion to people who already sell related products or have related traffic.

#9 SEOigloo

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 02:38 PM

Thanks DD & Egol -

Egol...yes, the business does have plans to do affiliate programs, as it happens. Glad to hear you think that sounds like a good idea!

I so appreciate all the thoughtful answers here.
Miriam

#10 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 04:58 PM

What you're being asked to do is build a new query space. You choose what the relevant keywords will be for the space, then optimize the site for those keywords. When the site ranks for the keywords, you start a branding campaign to teach people to search for those keywords.

Social media is certainly one way to do that, but the social media sites have to have something to link to that is buzzworthy. Otherwise your grape will shrivel on the vine.

Whatever the new product or service is, as Ron pointed out to you, should fulfill some need. So you create the buzz around that need. Traditional Web marketing calls for a press release campaign but the press releases would work better if they focused on a marketing event rather than on the product or service.

The marketing event could be a promotional contest or an official unveiling (captured on live streaming video, perhaps) at a venue with people.

The client would also want to integrate a blog into their marketing strategy, writing useful articles that capture long-tail traffic and help introduce people to the product or service.

Traditional advertising such as banner ads on other sites, Pay-Per-Click advertising, and offline advertising (television, radio, and print ads) also help build query spaces. People don't have to budget for full-page advertorials in Time magazine. Classified ads in the back of regional and trade publications, and small press magazines (limited distributions targeting specific demographics) are relatively inexpensive.

I have used radio and print advertising to build traffic for Web sites. I've also built interest through radio, print, and television interviews. You create many opportunities to build brand value through a media campaign and there are decent publicists who can help launch new products and services for only a few thousand dollars.

Within the context of just optimizing for search, you build a new query space by creating content for the targeted queries and then by leveraging content that ranks well in many long-tail queries (that are related) to build interest in pre-qualified visitors. You build the traffic through cross-over optimization. It's time consuming but it works.

#11 SEOigloo

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 08:17 PM

Greetings, Michael,

I appreciate your input on this. I've read your comments twice and will read them a third time. You've summed things up very concisely and your experience is evident!

Thank you for taking the time to let me know what you think.
Miriam

#12 cre8pc

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 09:23 PM

Wow! Michael has some fantastic ideas here for you Miriam ;)

Very inspirational! Thanks Michael! :applause: :applause:

#13 incrediblehelp

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 09:50 PM

That is easy, user generated content. Your user base knows what is hot and popular, especially the way to describe it, more than you do...at first. Just make sure you give them this ability in an optimized structure. Once you realize the popularity of a keyword then you start creating some real pages around the topics.

#14 Jordban

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 03:31 PM

Thank you everyone who has posted here. What a great read!

#15 iamlost

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 07:24 PM

Michael Martinez has enlarged upon his advice in this thread in his latest article, How To Build A Query Space.

Your Web site could be all about horses, and there are plenty of horse sites out there, but you show people that you look at horses in a new and different way. You define a niche and tell people about the niche, as well as why your Web site leads the niche (without claiming to be the niche leader).

So whether you’re promoting something no one has ever heard of before or just helping a small site compete with the big boys, you want to follow the same principles and apply similar strategies. You want to build a new query space where there is no competition to begin with (and perhaps always if you can establish a protected name space, as with a very special trademark). Here is how you build a query space:
[subheadings: lots of detail under each]
1. Pick your keywords
2. Build your flagship Web site
3. Rank for the targeted queries
4. Create an advertising campaign
5. Stimulate buzz
6. Announce the site
7. Advertise your site and the query space
8. Measure your success

Do people find your site through the search engines? If so, what are your metrics for determining search engine success? You need to understand why people search for your site to ensure that they are looking for the right reason. Just creating curiosity about a site doesn’t mean you’ve achieved your objective. They need to be curious about the topic of the query space and your site needs to satisfy their curiosity while intriguing them further.

As usual with Mr. Martinez, lots of meat to chew on.

#16 bwelford

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 08:12 PM

Perhaps I can comment from the other side of the church. :) Mr. Martinez, I believe, is approaching this very much from a product-driven point of view. We have this stuff we want to get buyers for, so how are we going to encourage them to pop in. You can almost imagine an old-fashioned shopkeeper standing on the door of his shop on the High Street trying to figure out how to get more people in to his store.

I am from the other school that suggests you should be customer centric. I have described this in the MRN article on the customer. Basically you start and try to figure out how a particular customer might look at the world and what he or she is looking for. If you can find potential customers who are almost feeling pain because they need a solution that you can provide then that is the ideal customer to have in mind. I believe if you adopt that customer viewpoint you can better target your efforts in being highly visible for that customer and in presenting an image of your product that will be highly attractive to them.

JM2C

#17 Ruud

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 08:18 PM

Very, very good stuff from Mr. Martinez. Just had to add my appreciation.

As for the initial questions, I couldn't help but think of Duma Key (by my favorite storyteller; Stephen King) where the lead character suffers some memory problems after having been involved in a serious accident. At first his reaction is one of rage but slowly he learns to approach the problem sideways, crab-walk style. Think of blue which makes you think of New York which leads you to Frank Sinatra.

I would approach the query sideways.

The product, as iamlost points out, does something for someone in some space. These people do searches about somethings in their space. Some of those searches are directly or indirectly related to your product: this is where you jump in.

For example, you're not aware that you need the Home Projector Bark Lightly. I do. What can you do with a Home Projector Bark Lightly? Well, in October you could project scary patterns on the outside of your house! What else? Well, if you're into advertising you could make a HUGE blast with the Home Projector Bark Lightly by projecting the name of your new product onto the clouds! Woooh!!

Hug other searches, other problems; inject your product as the (better) answer.

#18 iamlost

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 09:25 PM

Basically you start and try to figure out how a particular customer might look at the world and what he or she is looking for. If you can find potential customers who are almost feeling pain because they need a solution that you can provide then that is the ideal customer to have in mind.

Identifying potential customers' pain/needs is a beginning not an end. If you have no remedy to offer that is an end. If you have a remedy then you needs market it. And search marketing involves a query space. If one exists you need leverage it and differentiate your solution. If one does not, i.e. as possibly Miriam's client, it must be developed, which is where Mr. Martinez's thoughts have value.

Otherwise identifying potential customers' pain/needs is simply a competitive advantage used to better target and increase conversion percentage.

I do not see an either or situation between developing/leveraging query space and answering customer needs. They are different parts of a whole, much as usability and SEO, that may overlap and should be considered together to best effect.

#19 loki

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 12:34 PM

i wish i had seen this thread a while ago! i was faced with optimising a site for a product that up until that time, did not exist. no keywords, no competition, no sector, nada.

from an seo pov the best thing i could come up with was making a site chock full of easily parsable texts describing the product and what problems it could solve.

then it was over to marketing to generate buzz.



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