Summary: we went along to the Google Digital Garage in Leeds recently for a mentoring session. As a high-value, specialist technology consultancy, we wanted to find ways to make our voice heard above the bigger but less focused players. Here is what we found.
A digital tune-up from Google Digital Garage
After listening to all the hype about the Google Digital Garage in Leeds, we decided to check it out ourselves.
In their Digital Garage offering, Google have committed to helping 200,000 UK small businesses to get a digital tune-up using their own expertise by holding one-to-one mentoring sessions and group masterclasses, which provide the perfect opportunity to hear all about how to manage you presence online effectively, and who is more authorized to teach that than Google?
Located at Leeds Dock, the office space looks spacious and modern – perfect for brainstorming and generating ideas. We did get a few new ideas ourselves and have been pleasantly surprised by the useful advice we got. Below are a few key points.
Consider the ‘personality’ of your business
The first idea suggested was to clearly define the personality of your business. It is quite important to know and mark what prompts people to engage the company and to ensure that these reasons/motivations to connect are highly visible in our online presence.
If people do not know already what makes you special before searching for a company like yours online, you need to play it up, thus making easier for the clients differentiate if you are what they are looking for. Customers have to aware from the first step what makes you stand out in the industry.
In particular, it is useful to do some research asking current clients how they came across your company and what made them choose you – you will know where to direct your marketing and what to emphasize to get more clients like you already have. Make sure to ask who had the final word and who did the initial search – you might be surprised!
At Skelton Thatcher Consulting, we’re proud of being “people-friendly technologists” in an industry where technology sadly comes too often before people, and we decided to adopt this phrase as part of our business personality.
Who does the research vs. who is making the decision
A company like ours must focus their digital presence on three kinds of people:
1. The ideal client
2. The decision maker
3. The person doing the research online
The ‘ideal client’ idea is all clear – you have figure our who would you hypothetically like to work with and then work out what they are looking for while choosing services similar to the ones that you provide.
Crucially, the ‘decision maker’ and the ‘person doing the research’ may be the same person or different people with completely different skills and knowledge. For example, a CTO might ask a PA to find ‘devops training’. So the person looking and making the decision might have very different skills/drivers from our client end. Thus, the online presence has to be clear and approachable for non-technical people while still looking attractive to the ideal client and technical enough for the decision maker.
De-mystifying the technical stuff
Here is where the ‘business personality’ comes into the play and the importance of being people-friendly. In practice, these sort of ideas should make a difference in not being overlooked during the initial search:
Making sure your website /digital presence is in the language that the non-tech people are able to easily follow.
Having family or friends that have nothing to do with the business review the website and express their findings would be helpful.
In addition, considering these cases, content related to “de-mystifying” technology and practices would be helpful. Live Chat is another idea that was suggested for us as well as inviting people for a “cuppa”, in order to generate a friendly feeling, so that people researching us would feel confidence that we are going to be approachable to all levels of management. We’re looking forward to trying out some of these ideas over the coming months.
- Testimonials – PAs, IT professionals and executives included
Another idea that the Google consultant kindly introduced to us in order to strengthen our approachability was getting testimonials from wide range of people in different companies, in order to emphasize that we are happy to talk with everybody in the company. That would be:
1. Direct clients
2. PAs of our clients
4. Ops People
5. Any other role that your company interacts with
All of this should make the potential client stay on your page after visiting it and get higher lead conversion percentage. Now, how to get more leads and useful traffic?
Keyword Planner i.e. Market Awareness
One of the other points that we were reminded of was market awareness. The very handy Google AdWords tool “Keyword Planner” (my new favourite thing!) can be very helpful to realistically estimate your SEO results. With the help of the “Keyword Planner” we are able to know these statistics:
– “DevOps training” is being searched around 70 times per month in UK
– “Continuous Integration training” – 10 searches per month in UK
– “Devops workshop” – 10 searches per month in UK
Seeing this, it comes to mind that our company in particular does not need that much traffic – what we need is useful traffic – thousands of hits per month would not lead to more customers as the market is simply not that big.
Among the other useful tips and suggestions was advice to check the ‘no-follow’ status on syndicated content sites and ask for ‘no-follow’ to be removed. (Some sites dislike this as absence of ‘no-follow’ is seen as an endorsement). Since we have many articles published on other sites, this is something we’ll be checking soon.
Comment pages tend to have ‘no-follow’ in hyperlinks to avoid SEO Google Juice as well, but since you are getting the quality traffic, it still can improve your ranking via referrer even if ‘no-follow’ prevents SEO benefit directly. Hashtags could be a ranking factor as well.
There is still some time left for you to check out the Digital Garage yourself and get “tuned-up” – you never know what steps you might be missing in establishing your digital presence: http://www.leedsdock.com/events/googles-digital-garage If you have visited the Digital Garage already, let us know your opinion, as we would love to hear it!