Did you realize there’s a difference between being found and getting found? The words suggest a subtle difference but, really, there’s a huge distinction when it comes to online marketing. Many new and experienced small business owners make critical — often costly — mistakes by not understanding the difference.
I’ll start with ‘being found’ because this is my own strategy (and my area of marketing expertise) so it’ll be easier to explain. Also, I think you’ll be able to appreciate the difference more when you read down to the ‘getting found’ description.
Someone searches for your name or the name of your company because they know you in some way or have heard about you.
These people already know something about you or your business. They have a perception that you might be able to solve their problem and they are looking for evidence. Hopefully, they are also looking for how to contact you.
In sales lingo, these are warm leads. In my lingo, this is a strategy based on relationships and referrals.
This strategy depends on creating and maintaining relationships over time. The relationships trigger people to look you up. Your goal is to trigger that interest, look good and be ready. You may want/need some help with the marketing activities but you can do many of them yourself.
Someone searches for your services and products, perhaps in their geographic area.
These people don’t know about you or your business. They are researching possible solutions to their problem. Perhaps they are having trouble narrowing their search to terms that will yield results.
I call these ‘tire kickers’ because they don’t know you, your business or your success. They want to find a solution to their problem and, lacking other info, will strongly depend on price comparison to make a decision.
This strategy relies heavily on search engine optimization (SEO) to get found when people search for your products and services. Since your expertise is not in marketing (or you wouldn’t be reading this), you’ll need to rely on others for help. SEO is a complex field and doing it successfully costs time and money.
This strategy also relies on a solid sales process to close the deal. But you may need to talk to ten or more people to make one sale.
Which is Right for You?
For my business, I rely strongly on being found but I do make some SEO efforts. I dabble when I can but won’t invest a significant amount of time or money in it. Pretty much all of my business comes through relationships and referrals.
For your business, you are the best person to answer that question and now you’re closer to making an informed decision. It’s likely not wholly one or the other but some combination of the two strategies.