Imagine you run a shop in a village, and on your opening day a coach full of people turns up at 9.30 a.m and all of the 75 coach passengers come into your shop and buy lots of stuff.
The next day the same thing happens, and then the next. This goes on for a couple of weeks and then 2 coaches pull up. This goes on for months, every couple of weeks another coach full of people turns up and buys lots of stuff.
Business is booming, you tailor your stock to what they buy and you buy lots of it knowing that tomorrow brings another new batch of visitors.
Whilst this has been happening, you don’t have time to speak to the locals, or stock what they want or offer them the kind of service that they need from their village shop, so they have never bothered coming in as it is always busy and full of stuff they don’t want.
Then one day you open your shop expecting the next influx of visitors and no one arrives, you think it might just be a blip but the same thing happens again, and again until you realise that the coaches don’t come this way anymore and you go bust.
What the shop owner did was put all of his eggs in one basket, he didn’t invest in any other income stream other than what he was provided on a plate, as a result his bread and butter business didn’t come his way as he did not look after, service or facilitate his village and its needs.
What he should have done is focus on his core market, set up a shop for the village first and foremost, grow, incentivise and be proactive in his own community because they are more likely to repeat purchase, be loyal and create sustainable long-term growth. The coach parties were a distraction, a pleasant windfall, but not an income stream to be relied upon as it was outside of his sphere of influence. He should have built his business as if they didn’t exist, not build it around them.
Flippent and transparent as this analogy is, it is exactly what happens to businesses online all of the time, they focus on Google and Google alone as they see it as the key to its success or failure. This narrow perspective is not only dangerous because it gives you single point of weakness, it means that you miss many key revenue streams and traffic opportunities and the potential to influence people where they are and turn them into loyal repeat customers who recommend you.
The key to on-line success is to build your business as if Google does not exist. Be the expert in your market place, produce amazing content that everyone wants to share, answer people’s questions, stock what they want at the right price and become a valued member of your community, not only do people come to your shop, they will keep coming back.
Your business will grow as word spreads about how knowledgeable and helpful you are and that you always seem to have the right goods at the right price for your chosen market. Soon you are offering deliveries to the neighbouring village and your profits grow.
Every now-and-then a coach comes past because one of the passengers has heard all about you from a friend in the village and asks the driver to stop.
Before you know it coach drivers are telling other coach drivers and more and more coaches come past.
The difference is that now you have a good core business of enthusiastic repeat customers who are always telling others and if no coaches come by ever again, you are still successful.
If and when they do, it is a fantastic bonus, not only is it more people to impress and deliver a fantastic service to, the chances are that because you built your business by acting as if Google doesn’t exist, you will have built a business that Google really wants to have in its rankings.
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