It was almost exactly a year ago that I began researching into the world of internet marketing as it relates to Winnipeg business. My background was print and radio advertising; however, anyone breathing can see the shift that has occurred in where consumers now look for information on products and services. It was because of this that I sunk my teeth into researching this growth market.
At the time, there were only about 3 or 4 companies that were offering SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services; basically selling the ability to list a company's website top of the search engines for search terms related to their products and/or services. Now, a year in the future, there are over 60 companies in the mix vying for the Winnipeg business owners precious marketing dollars. (even more precious in the 'Peg as our belts tend to be strapped on quite tight). The obvious question becomes: How can so many experts emerge in such a small market in such a small period of time?
The answer: They can't!
Why then are so many companies offering a service they really can't deliver? Well... as one Winnipeg Marketing Agency told me in an interview "Its where the money is." Wow!... with care for the customer like that, please... take my money.
The reality is that SEO is a very distinct skill set, and that most companies offering this service in Winnipeg are mainly web designers or traditional marketers who have gained some base knowledge of good practices through blogs and online forums. To hire someone of this calibre would be equivalent to spending a night of fine dining with a chef reading from "Cooking for Dummies." The result from both being a bad taste in the mouth and less money in your wallet.
For a skill as specific as SEO (also known as online search marketing) it is actually quite simple to measure the merits of the competing Winnipeg businesses:
Step 1: Go to Google.ca (.ca means that Google will pull pages from Canada first)
Step 2: Type in "SEO Winnipeg" or "Winnipeg SEO" or "Winnipeg Search Marketing"
Step 3: Read which companies are listed first on the left-hand side (the organic not paid side)
Step 4: Call the #1 company.
Why you might ask? Because if a company is offering to list your website top of the search engines, they better be able to be the leader in their own category in a market the size of Winnipeg. If they can't, what makes you think they will be able to list you?
Whether economic times are difficult or not, wasting money is wasting money. In the past, a business struggled to place their marketing dollars in a media that most directly reached their target customer. The guessing games are over now. If someone types in "pool table Winnipeg" its because they are in the market to buy a pool table in Winnipeg. This is the power of the net.
The Fall is when most Winnipeg businesses will begin looking at where to allocate their dollars for marketing. If you are one of them reading this, please follow the steps above and put your dollars where you'll see results.
It's your turn Winnipeg!