Before I start, I must give a big thank you to Andy Harris of Custwin, who helpfully pointed out that I had neglected to give people a way to subscribe to my monthly summary of blogs. The sign-up box has dutifully been added to the sidebar, so if you enjoy my witterings then please add yourself to the list. I only send out one email a month about the blog, and very occasional news that I don’t think can wait.

Sometimes you need someone to point out the bleedin’ obvious 🙂 Thanks Andy!

Demonstrating expertise

In checking my Google+ stream this morning, I came across a post promoting a blog on the SEOMoz website. The main thrust of the blog post was to tell so-called SEO experts that they need to demonstrate their expertise in real terms before they can get a job in the industry. The world is full of guys who claim to know how to boost traffic using SEO techniques, but only a small percentage can demonstrate that they have actually done it. It’s an interesting piece if you have 5 minutes spare.

Why sell someone else’s products?

The G+ discussion asked the question “If someone is really good at SEO then why would they work for someone else and not promote their own stuff”? I disagreed with the statement for a couple of reasons:

  • SEO covers a number of disciplines. So our SEO person, let’s call her Linda, could be great at producing search-engine-friendly copy, but not so good at link building, for instance.
  • Even if Linda is good at all aspects of SEO, do she have a good product or service to sell? Wait a moment, Linda wants to sell her SEO skills…obvious really. All she needs to do is rank higher than the 2 billion other SEO consultants out there!
  • OK, even if Linda has a product or service to promote, does she have the skills to run all the other aspects of the business? Can she design and build an attractive website (not just promote one)? Can she handle logistics? Is she comfortable with accounts and taxes? Can she manage staff if the business grows?

The bottom line is that entrepreneurs are generalists, not specialists. They often have an aptitude for sales and promotion, because that helps generate a buzz around their business, but if they spend all their time on one aspect of the business then the business will fail!

SEO experts are like the travelling salesman of old. They can go a long way towards making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but you wouldn’t get them to do your accounts.

Selling a vision


New 'new iPad' - more hype than substance?

All this talk of selling brings me to yesterday’s iPad launch. Before I expand on that, I need to ask a question. WHY is it just called “New iPad”? Are they trying to confuse us even more? What happens with the next iPad, will that be called the “New, New iPad”? Will we end up referring to it as TIFKAI3 (The iPad Formerly Known As iPad 3)?

Anyway, rant over. What I took from the announcement, and admittedly I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention so please correct me if I’ve missed the killer new functionality, is that this device is a minor incremental improvement over the iPad2. More pixels, LTE capability for those lucky enough to have 4G, better battery (obviously) and very little else. The rest is mainly software upgrades which will probably be available for the iPad2 before long.

And yet you can guarantee that people will head out in their droves and buy one. Even at the inflated prices that Apple charge (£659 for a New iPad 64GB with 4G!). Why do we do it?

Aspirational Marketing

We do it because we see it as the entry price to ‘living the dream’. Apple have carefully positioned this, and all their products, as the ultimate devices to have. The best display, the best software, the best experience. Having one of these makes you one of the ‘beautiful people’.

Of course it’s all marketing hookum. The devices are nice, of course, but any techy will tell you that they have their limitations. Want to plug your SD Card full of MP3’s in and play them? Nope, sorry. You’ll have to use iTunes sir!

So billions of people behave like sheep, stop thinking for themselves, and do things the Apple way. After all, they know what’s best for us, they said so themselves!

Bursting the dream

Apple’s problem is that they need to keep ahead of the market, to keep convincing us that their products are simply the best. This isn’t sustainable forever, and as soon as someone produces a product that works better and costs the same or less, then the whole bubble will burst. Without Steve Jobs at the helm, my guess is that this will happen fairly soon.

The Business Hangout

In closing, I would like to point you in the direction of a weekly online video chat session I run. It previously existed as ‘Coffee and Tech’, but has been relaunched with slightly different goals as The Business Hangout. The sessions are free to attend, and will cover all kinds of business-related topics, with an emphasis on technology. The site and Google+ page will also offer resources on how a business can use hangouts effectively to their benefit. See you there!

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