Building and Converting Your Audience
Hey guys, so what we are going to jump into now is going to be a little bit more of the technical side. Robert's going to be touching on SEO and by touching on I mean he's gonna go pretty deep, but not too overwhelming, I hope, for photographers. Like what you really need to know and then the thing that if you wanna push it a little bit further, the things that'll be useful. So I just want to reiterate some of the things that we've been talking about, 'cause you wanna keep thinking about this in your mind. As you're picturing this, you figured out what your ideal client is, know your brand message. But in the end, what you're trying to do, you want to attract and build that audience. So maybe that's social media, that might be SEO, we'll talk about that. And then in the end, we want to be able to turn them into customers, and one of the terms that you'll hear, and that Robert will also be talking about, is either capturing or converting, which would be getting their email or turning th...
em into a customer. It's just something to say, I'm taking you, I'm scooping you up from social media and I'm bringing you into my world, so that we're capturing them over here, that's kind of the idea behind it. So this is what you were thinking about. You're connecting with them, you're capturing them, and then you're closing on it. This is the last part, is actually turning them into a customer by closing the sale. And so we have that little diagram again, so first they're a stranger, and you connect with them maybe through blog or social media, maybe it's a post that you did, you connect with them. And then they're a follower because they're watching what you're doing and they're like yeah, I like this person's stuff. And then you have something. It might be a download or an offer, something where they're like, yeah, you know what, I'm interested, I want more information, here's my email, or you know what, I'm gonna call them. So what you do is you're turning them from a follower into something called a lead. Once you've got them there it's like, alright, I know you're interested. You're a lead, that's what they call it. Now I'm gonna get you to be a customer. So you connect with them, you capture them, you close, this is what we are talking about. So the idea is, in the big picture of this, you've gotta get people back to the website, capture their email and continue the conversation. But what we're gonna talk about that first part, the connecting with part. We gotta talk about this, and there are three main ways to drive traffic to your site. Because that's the idea, we get them there and then capture them or turn them into customers, well you gotta get them there. So the three main ways we'll be discussing is SEO, content, and social media. So search engine optimization, the information or content that you produce, and then social media which can leverage the content as well. You'll see kinda the big picture of this. So Robert is going to steer for social media, I mean for search engine optimization a bit because I know my original misconception, I don't know if any of you were like this. I thought if I put some words, like let's say Syracuse wedding photographer, and I put 'em someplace on my blog, and then eventually people find me. That was like the gist of my understanding of SEO, and he's gonna put it much more eloquently, so.
So, show of hands, how many of you are familiar with SEO, but don't really feel comfortable at all with it, or have a grasp of what it is?
I'm better now.
So, SEO basically stands for search engine optimization, and its purpose is basically to drive people back to your website organically, which means a non-paid channel. So you're not paying for it, you're using certain things to get people back to you, like certain techniques and mainly through content. And it doesn't have to be complicated, but it is something that does require commitment. It's kinda like anything else. You're gonna put commitment towards your craft, towards learning lighting, towards shooting, posing, everything else, so this is kind of another angle of it. There are things that you can do, kind of set it and forget it, and then there are things that require a little bit more of a constant basis. So what is SEO? A lot of people we hear, like isn't SEO that plugin that I uninstall, that thing on WordPress or whatever, or isn't it those keywords I put somewhere in my site in the little keyword field, and yes and no. So the keyword thing doesn't exist anymore where you put in your keyword for meta, at least in Google. In some other search engines, maybe. But the plugin, for example, we'll talk about some different things a little more, but it's a little more complicated than that, but as I said it's the process of getting organic or free traffic to your website through search engines. So what kind of proper SEO strategy do? Basically, helps you rank higher in Google, so you can be found by your clients, which is what we want. So you type something into Google, and ranking, for those of you who might not know what that means, you show up in the search results. Now, most people don't click page two. And they don't even click halfway down the page. If you're shopping for a photographer, it's a little different, because you want to start looking at multiple things. You want to look at different styles and who's available and different pricing, so your chances of getting clicked on are a lot better, but your chances improve if you're on the first page. We want to try and get you in the first or second page.
If you're not on the first or second, they're not finding you. It's not gonna be anything through Google.
So why SEO? So we talked about, it's getting people to your site, but it's cost effective. It can reduced the cost of your paid marketing channels. If you're getting people to your website without having to pay for it, then that's gonna reduce your ad spend. If you're paying for Facebook ads, or Adwords, or Twitter ads, or Pinterest, or Instagram, getting people to your site more organically, you're gonna save money in the end. Increases traffic to your site, which we said is good, because the more people that come to your site, the better chances of us capturing and converting them. Continuing the conversation via a channel that we can control, versus a channel that we can't, like Facebook or Instagram, they see it and maybe they don't see it and so on. Increases brand awareness and authority. Lindsay spoke on that, but basically, it shows that you're an authority. If you're showing up first page of Google, first result, second, third result, then people are gonna go alright, this is pretty interesting, this is the first person on here. That kind of shows authority. Your competitors are doing it. They're definitely doing it. And especially they're doing it more than more. So SEO has become more mainstream. It's not like it used to be where it was just technical, geeky people like me doing it. It's everyone, everyone can participate in it. There's not, it's not as scary as it sounds, except for this next slide, which Google has over 200 ranking factors. And they definitely don't tell you what they are. They tell you three of 'em, and we'll touch on them, but out of the 200, it's like anything else, and they've had continuous updates and things that kind of make it difficult for us to game the system. I'm sure if you've ever heard of black hat SEO, people would try and keyword stuff their website, so if they put in photographer, photographer, brides, grooms, photographers, that used to work. Doesn't work anymore, and you'll get severely penalized if you do that, if you repeat things too often.
Can I add something real quick?
One of the things I like, so search engine optimization, someone's looking for a wedding photographer in Seattle, and they search it and it comes up. One of the reasons I like that is because you kind of have a half-way qualified person already. They already want what you have to offer. If they happen to stumble across you on social media, they might not be looking for wedding photographer, like they might have had just, oh that's a pretty photo. You're actually getting someone who wants what you have to offer, so that's a higher qualified person. So that's one of the reasons that I'm like, man, in fashion photography, if I can rank high up there, someone's looking for that. They're looking to hire me.
And one thing to notice, you don't have to completely rank for fashion photographer in New York, or boudoir photographer. There are different search terms, and we'll get into that, that are gonna drive people to your site, so it's not always trying to like, well how am I supposed to compete with these 400 other people for this very specific term. And that's why you do the research to uncover other opportunities. So the top Google ranking factors, we're gonna only talk about the ones that kind of really make the most sense. Content, so creating valuable, relevant content. Now this is pretty much number one in Google's eyes. They've changed completely where they rank your information based on how people interact with it, how they engage with it. Are they sharing it? Are they coming to your website? Are they leaving immediately? Are they scrolling, that's a ranking factor. Are they sharing, that's a ranking factor. Even though social signals is kind of a gray area in Google, but they rank you based on its relevance and whether it's helpful. Backlinks. So backlinks are links obtained from external websites. Means a blog links to you or a news site or a vendor or someone in your industry that links back to you. It's a very high ranking factor. And on page SEO. So proper optimization of your content, your title, tags, descriptions, your internal linking, your meta data. All that stuff that you probably hate, so this is important because that's part of getting your house in order. And once you take care of some of the basics of it, it starts to become a little more natural. Most people take care of that first, because you've heard of meta keywords and alt tags and things like that, but there's other areas that you can improve upon or completely forget about, and if you're not paying attention to this all the time, think that still matters, but doesn't. And technical. This is a big one too. So site speed, mobile optimization, duplicate content and navigation. So site speed and mobile, very, very important in Google's eyes. If your site's not fast and it's not mobile responsive, they're going to rank you much lower. So, duplicate content, we'll talk a little bit more about that, and navigation we spoke about earlier about how you should have a clear navigation. Google crawls your side, and if you have a confusing navigation, it doesn't crawl it well, and it actually won't rank you based on that. So if you have a clear page structure, it's not 80 million pages of the same thing, then it'll be a little easier for Google to understand what your site's about. So, your first step. It's gonna be installing Google Analytics. I don't know how many of you have installed Google Analytics on your site, I need a show of hands. So it's important we install. We might not look at the information that often, but we'll talk about that later, what to look at and how that matters. Your second is to sign into Google Search Console, which was formally webmaster tools. Now why that's important, and these are free by the way, it's just from Google. You can associate your Google Analytics account to your Search Engine Console. Basically, they have some free tools that tell you whether your site's mobile friendly. It'll tell you whether there's crawl errors on your site, which means that Google can't access a certain part of your site, or there's a glaring error, there's a bunch of pages that aren't found, which we'll get into that also. If there are pages that are not found on your site, that'll result in poor ranking as well. And it'll tell you some other information. One of the things that you can no longer find in Google Analytics are the keywords people typed in to get to your website. You'll see something that says not provided in parentheses, and that basically means, people are signed into Google, it's not gonna show you what keywords organically drove them to your site. However, in search console, it does show you. So you'll be able to get an idea of what keywords are driving traffic to certain parts of your site, which is very helpful because you can craft your content strategy accordingly if you know what those are. Like I had no idea I was ranking for top dog photographer, or something like that. There's different things like that.
And real quick, just so you know. I'd see these things and be like, oh gosh, installing Google Analytics. When you sign up for it, it gives you a short little code, and then on your site, there is a place to put it. No matter who is the platform, there's a little place to plug it in, and it does all the work. So it's not like you need to install anything, or you don't need to code.
There's a little something, if you're not completely tech savvy or comfortable dealing with it, contact your host, whether it's Squarespace, or on WordPress there's plugins, you go to the little plugin directory and it makes it really, really simple to connect your account, so feel free to email Squarespace, say, how do I install Google Analytics? Even though they have their own proprietary analytics on their site, and a lot of other ones do. Google Analytics is the king and that's the one you should really be looking at as well. So sign up for Google Places if you have a physical location. Because, I don't know how often you look in the search engine results when you type something in, but you're competing for a lot of space. There's four ads at the top, then there's maps. Before you even get to see the actual, organic results. So if you have a physical location, you sign up for Google Places, you might show up a little higher, and that would give you a little extra boost in people being like, alright, let me click on that, they're on the map, he looks like he's close to me, let me do that.
Again, and it's all free. But I thought that was a great point, because you actually have to scroll before you get to results. But if the map is visible, you might actually show up there.
So these are some SEO power tools. These are some things that we use that are very, very, very helpful. Now the ones on the left are free. The Moz toolbar and SEO Quake and Yoast SEO Plugin. Basically what these things do is they kind of just give you a little bit of an analysis of how your site's performing. Yoast for example helps you weight your title and your meta descriptions, telling you whether or not it's a proper length, or there's filled out, all that. The ones on the right are, they're power tools. So Ahrefs, Moz, Keyword finder, Screaming Frog. These are all really great tools for helping you uncover what you rank for, what people are searching for to find you, because that information is kind of difficult to find to begin with. You can type in, once we go through keywords a little bit more, in Google, and actually go page by page to see where you're at, but these eliminate most of that headache of doing that.
And are any of these cost money,
Yes, so Ahref, Moz, Keyword finder, Screaming Frog, those are all paid. The top three on the right there are more for SEO and keyword research, and Screaming Frog is really great because it's an SEO crawler, but it'll tell you what errors you have on your site, it'll tell you if there's a bunch of missing pages. It expedites having to, let's say you have a blog with 50 or 100 articles. You don't want to crawl each one. You don't want to go through each one of those yourself. This will tell you if you're missing alt text, if you're missing your meta titles, if you're missing your titles, your page titles. And we'll get into what that means as well, but these just help expedite the process. Especially, it's great for competitor analysis. So if you want to know the guy who's ranking higher than you and what he's doing, this will uncover that. You'll be able to see what's helping him perform a little better.
Now that I found this out from him, I keep saying, tell me what this person's doing.
Most of these have trials, so you can play with it, see if you like it, see if you get some power out of it, just to see if it's useful.
And I know that the Yoast is one that I've used before. It's just really nice because if you don't know what all this stuff is and if you mess it up, it tells you. So it's like a little less thought goes into it. It's really helpful.