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How much to give away for free?
Revealing "tricks of the trade" in a presentation to get business.
Robert Charlton

 5:47 pm on Jan 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm going to be making several presentations in the near future, some just meetings with prospective clients, one a public Web SIG group meeting.

In the course of persuading people that I know what I'm talking about, I've found I have to tell them some of what I know... but I've always been uncomfortable about where to draw the line.

Do you tell people about titles and headings? Do you tell them about link anchor text content? In a public presentation, do you mention Goverture as a place to look for how people search? How much do you tell people about ODP? About text density? Some of this is easily available online, but many webmasters, eg, never look.

On these forums I generally have no problems, because I know there's an exchange, but even here no one really just wants to lay it out... usually we wait for specific questions as evidence that there's been some digging. In a public presentation, I'm thinking that maybe I should assume that the do-it-yourselfers will do it themselves anyway, and for the rest they'll see that I'm giving good information. But maybe not...

And in a business presentation, with an in house webmaster and marketing people present, it also becomes ambiguous.




 6:18 pm on Jan 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

It is better to focus on results and samples (show some serps of sites that you work on). If they ask how you do it, just tell them you are also available for consulting at $800.00 an hour.


 6:42 pm on Jan 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

In a public presentation, since the speaker controls the pace and depth of the delivery, it may be possible to touch upon the topic and move on without giving them all the tricks of the trade. You can also over-inform them, such as listing every PPC engine known to man but not identifying which ones are worthwhile. I'd even open and close with reminders that this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg -there's no way the nuances of the business could be covered in days, much less minutes or hours.


 6:47 pm on Jan 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>If they ask how you do it, just tell them you are also available for consulting at $800.00 an hour

Or simply use the standard "Gosh, there are so many different strategies...I don't really have the time to list them all" and give them a nugget or two at most. Speak in as many generalities as possible and when asked about specifics, give them your most basic examples.


 6:48 pm on Jan 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

No matter what, you are always going to get the webmaster or marketing person who thinks that they can achieve the same results doing it themselves.

We have done a bunch of presentations to potential clients, as well as at Tech conventions. I think that the presentation should have a happy medium of general information regarding SEO and what the things that work are.

Give them leaders......enough information that gives them feeling that you are experiences, but not enough where they can take detailed notes.

For example, if you tell them that Titles are important to SEO, they probably won't be able to pull it off just from this.

Talk about keyword density and why it is important, but don't tell them what the target percentages are...........they will be intrigued and want to know more.

I would definitely show them some ranking and traffic results.......graphs are good for the traffic representation. Talking about targeted traffic is always good as well.

Presenting to potential clients and presenting at a public forum or convention are two different things. When presenting to potential clients, make the presentation more general. If they want to know more or ask questions, you can answer them but you are not giving the keys to success away off the bat. At a public presentation, you should give a little more away, but also focus on the importance of SEO and what its results are.


 7:08 pm on Jan 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

I like your thinking john316.

I think it is good to occasionally use technical terms and hints in your presentation. You don't necessarily have to give away your best secrets, just terms that impress. That registers to a potential client as "Wow, he knows a lot. This stuff is not easy. He must be good." Then the $100/hour consulting fee seems appropriate instead of shocking.

As far as the Do it Yourself crowd...Send them here after you give them a tip or two. Leave your nickname and e-mail address "if they have more questions". My bet is 80% find themselves over their head, realize there is a lot more to this SEO stuff than they want to deal with, and ask you for your services.

Oh yeah, don't mention spiders, crawling, and updating on the new moon. People will start to think you are creepy. :)


 7:14 pm on Jan 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

When faced with the know it all marketing director that figures since Microsoft Word was an easy nut to crack, SEO should be just as easy I make sure to point out that we monitor sites across many industries which alert us to site specific issues, industry specific issues and also trends in search engines as a whole. I make sure that they know we adjust content, tags and off page criteria if only to show the differences from companies that only run submissions. Then if you keep getting the "how", through out "A lot of data entry into spreadsheets to analyze word counts and densities". No one wants to do data entry :) especially the know it all marketing director.


 7:27 pm on Jan 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Send them here

Really, that's a good point. I coached someone who'd been asked to make a series of presentations on web traffic. This audience had previously been purposely misled as to things like "hits vs impressions vs pageviews vs uniques" (imagine that) and were very frustrated and skeptical. We made extensive use of the terms glossary at searchengineworld as well as other authoritative sources, even printed excerpts and urls for handouts. Worked like a charm.

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