This podcast covers one of the biggest problems facing estate sale businesses: How to get prospects to contact you when they need an estate sale.
Links to References, Reviews and Recommendations>>>
Blogging and Blog Websites (Part 1)
Article Examples with Keywords Highlighted (Part 2)
Keyword Development Tools (Part 2)
Link Building Techniques (Part 3)
Transcript of Podcast: ESB005 Get New Clients for FREE: How To Build a Steady Stream of Estate Sale Business Clients By Making the Search Engines Work for You
Every Estate Sale Business shares one big problem. How can you get prospects to contact you when they need an estate sale? They don’t know you. They may not even know what an estate sale business is. And half the time they don’t even live in your area…
Stay with me and I’ll share the approach used by the most successful businesses and show you how you can make it work for you. And get this: it’s FREE!
Welcome to the Estate Sale Business podcast, brought to you by estatesalebiz.com. This is episode ESB005 titled Get New Clients for FREE: How To Build a Steady Stream of Estate Sale Business Clients By Making the Search Engines Work for You.
I’m your host, Ronald Andrew Murphy.
If you’re like most estate sale businesses, getting new clients is a constant challenge. Although there are a number of approaches to getting new business, there’s one method that can bring you a steady stream of new clients. And the big plus is: this method doesn’t have to cost you anything but a little time.
More than likely you already have the basic requirement for using this method. It’s your website. If you don’t already have a website, it’s a simple task to get one these days.
Your website is the starting point for building a steady stream of new clients. But most businesses fail to use their website as the major marketing tool it can be.
Ask yourself. Is your website designed like an online brochure? Does it just provide your business name, contact information, and a brief description of services, but doesn’t go much beyond that?
Your website should be a magnet for attracting new business. And it can be if you learn and apply the basics of search engine traffic building.
In this episode I’ll cover how to do that in three parts. First, I’ll explain how Search Engine traffic works. Second, I’ll cover the process you can use to build a search engine magnet. I’ll show you how to develop a powerful keyword list that can attract a steady stream of new business to your website. And Third, I’ll offer some tips for dealing with competing businesses trying to build traffic with similar techniques.
Ready? Great, let’s jump into finding out more about how search engine traffic works.
If you were starting a retail business, you’d pick a location where there was a lot of traffic – a lot of people passing by. You’d want to be in a place that was visible so people would see you and know you were there. You’d want to be where your prospective customers could find you easily.
Your website is your location on the internet. On the internet – online – a similar concept of visibility applies. You want the greatest possible visibility. You want people to find you easily. The concept of a good location is the same as it is with a physical store. But how you accomplish that online is totally different.
Instead of your physical location bringing you traffic, online, it’s the search engines that bring you traffic.
People looking for products and services online usually start by searching. They use one of the search engines to help them find what they’re looking for.
You’re probably familiar with at least the largest search engine, Google, but there are several others. There’s Google, Bing, Ask, Yahoo, AOL, and even more.
The actual technology behind how the search engines work isn’t a subject we need to get into for this discussion. I’m going to simplify the process because for our purposes, it cuts out non-useful information. Plus the actual techniques are trade secrets anyway.
You can think of it like this: Search engines keep updated lists of websites. The lists are organized in the most common ways people search for things. For example, businesses would be organized by type of business, services provided, physical location, and a variety of other characteristics.
The search engines want to provide the most current and precise results for anyone using them. But even with all their information, they can’t be exactly sure, so they don’t return just one result for a search. They show you a whole page of results. These listings are sorted from most likely matches to your search term to less likely but still related.
And they don’t just give you one page of results, they give you page after page. Sometimes thousands or even hundreds of thousands of results.
Most of us, of course, don’t look much beyond that first page.
Given that, you can probably see why it would be important to appear on the first page of results for anything relating to your business.
For example, say you have an estate sale business in Denver, Colorado. If someone searched using the term, “estate sale business in Denver,” you’d want to show up on the first page of results.
What the search engine is showing in those results is a link to your website; plus a description from your website that relates to the search term. Ideally the searcher will see it and tap or click on the link and go to your website. Once they’re at your website, you have the opportunity to sell them on the idea of contacting you and using your services.
And that’s the goal of getting search engine traffic to your website. You want to do whatever it takes to get the search engines to list you as highly as possible for any term relating to your business. Especially those related to bringing in new clients.
There’s a term used to describe how to get the search engines to recognize you. It’s called Search Engine Optimization. Usually, it’s just abbreviated to S-E-O. It’s all about optimizing your website so that it’s as appealing as possible to the search engines.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is today a broad field. There are thousands of consultants and technical professionals who study the search engines. They apply what they learn to help their clients achieve top rankings.
The search engines themselves, like Google, do not reveal how they manage their listings. They also change their algorithms, or methods, from time to time. The SEO experts are always testing and experimenting to find out what works in actual practice.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert or a technical whiz to use SEO. There are some basic guidelines that you yourself as the website owner can follow. Doing so will accomplish much of what an expert could do. You just have to understand the principles and use them regularly.
I said earlier that a prospective customer might search for the term: “estate sale business in Denver.” In SEO terms, that string of words – “estate sale business in Denver” – is known as a “keyword.”
The search engines use keywords to organize their lists. So, to appear for any particular keyword search term, you need to let the search engines know that your website is a good source of information on that keyword topic.
You do that by posting content to your site that emphasizes the keywords for which you want to be found. For our example, you could write and post an article on your site that describes your business connection and history in Denver, if that’s where you’re located.
The more posts you add that contain keyword terms, the more likely you are to be noticed by the search engines. Keep in mind though, the articles need to be legitimate information pieces, not fluff stuffed with keywords. The search engines will penalize your site if they determine you’re trying to trick them.
So how do you do it? Most websites use a blog to add content. A blog, if you don’t know, is a kind of regular article or journal talking about your business, or about subjects of interest to your clients and prospects.
Many websites are built on blogging platforms which makes the writing and publishing process easier. If you’re not familiar with this, check with your website designer and find out how you can start posting blog entries to your site. You can also check out our website listing for this episode. I provide some tips and service options there at estatesalebiz.com.
Okay, we should have a basic grasp of how the search engines work. In this first part, we’ve covered the concept of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. And we’ve seen that posting content focused on keywords is the way to signal the search engines about where we should be listed.
That brings us to Section Two of this episode.
Here we want to cover how to find the best keywords for you to use to create your search engine magnet. Once you’ve gone through this process, you should have a list of keywords that your business can use to attract traffic from your potential clients.
One great way to do that is to try and think like your prospect might.
Start by identifying your best prospects. What are the situations your prospects are dealing with. Most estate sale businesses are meeting the needs of people in one of a few situations. These are:
- Death in the Family
- Elderly Relocation
- Downsizing or Moving
- Legal Liquidation required for divorce, bankruptcy, and so on.
Let’s take the first category, “death in the family.” Often your client will be a son or daughter who has lost their last surviving parent. Now they need to liquidate the parent’s estate.
What keywords might this type of client use to search for your service?
There’s the obvious: “estate sale business in…” your town? That’s one possibility and you certainly should use it. But to be effective, you need to think through as many options as you can.
For example: Are there several small towns around your location. Is there a “bigville” and a “smallville” and a “richville?” If so, identify a keyword phrase for each of the combinations. Estate Sale Business in Bigville; estate sale business in “Smallville,” and so on.
And what about this? Suppose this prospect doesn’t know what your type of business is called. He or she might search for things like “estate seller in your town” or “liquidator in your town” or “auctioneer in your town” or “moving sale business in your town.” Again think through the possibilities and couple them to each of the other possible options.
As you work through this process, make lists of all the keywords you think might bring you traffic. After you cover one type of prospect, make lists for each of the other types of potential clients and all their options.
The idea is to develop a rich list of keywords that you can then use for the content you’ll be posting on your site. Remember that getting traffic is a matter of helping the search engines realize what your business does and where it does it. And ultimately, you’ll create content around each of the major keyword combinations.
When you first start creating content, begin by focusing on the keywords you think are most likely to be searched for. Use the main keyword in the title of the article and repeat it in the opening and closing paragraphs. Use variations of it throughout of the post.
Generally, you should avoid mixing categories of keywords in same post. It’s better to have one or more articles for each type. It would be best to have different articles for each type of client.
Note that when you post articles is also important. Even if you write up several at one time, you should spread out when you post each one. Put at least a day or more between each posting. The search engines rank regularly posted content more highly than a whole bunch of content posted at one time. It’s a reflection of the goal of the search engines to point out the best sources of information. A site that posts regularly is likely more legitimate than one that looks like it’s just trying to influence search engine ranking.
For brief examples of the kinds of articles you might post – with the keywords highlighted – check this episode’s entry at our website, estatesalebiz.com. You’ll also find links to online tools that can help you develop more keyword variations.
Let’s move on to the third part of this episode, dealing with search engine competition.
As a result of this discussion, you may be realizing by now that there’s a gotcha with SEO. If everybody is using the same techniques to attract the search engines, how can you stand out?
The method of posting content focused on keywords is the primary way to gain search engine attention.
There are some additional factors and methods for dealing with competitors that use the same techniques.
The search engines several additional factors to weigh and rank similar websites. Here are three of the most important.
Number one. How much content your website contains.
If you have more keyword content on your site than your competitor, you’re likely to be ranked higher. But as I said before, that doesn’t mean you should post a lot of content at one time. It’s best to keep to a regular schedule and build the content over time. Post once a day at most. Otherwise, you might be flagged for trying to influence the search engines rather than informing your website visitors.
Number Two. How Many Other Websites Link to You
Links into your website from other websites tells the search engines that other websites think you have something important to say. Remember, the search engines are trying to show which sites are the best sources of information. Having a second party link to you is like a recommendation from an outside source. Note that the linking source is important. If you have Apple Computer linking to one of your blog posts because they think it’s important, the search engines will treat that as highly significant. If you have a link from your brother’s used mattress store, not so much. Most all links are good, some are just much better than others.
Getting links is actually a whole different process than the main keyword approach discussed here. It’s more of an advanced technique of SEO. But if you find you’re regularly being outranked by a competitor who has similar content, link building is definitely worth investigating. Check the website episode for more info on this topic.
Number Three. Social Media Marketing
Even if you aren’t trying to boost your search engine ranking, you should be using social media to drive more traffic to your site. But one of the best ways to gain higher ranking is to use social media effectively.
When you post a new blog, post a link to it on your facebook page also. Do the same thing with Twitter and other social media sites where you have a presence. You can even put up more than one post for a single blog article. Find different keyword focused sections of the article, write a different heading and link to the article with that lead.
To compete effectively, you just need to diversify. Make your content available through as many different sources as possible, all pointing back to your website. The search engines will notice every occurence and more than likely reward you with a higher ranking.
So, we’ve now covered the basics of how you can build a steady stream of new clients for your estate sale business – and do it for free. You just need to make the search engines work for you.
To do that, we first looked into how Search Engine traffic works. Second, you saw how to develop a powerful keyword list that can transform your website into a traffic magnet. And Third, we covered three effective ways for dealing with businesses competing for the same traffic.
Please do visit our website where we encourage you to post comments, questions and suggestions. Be sure to check out the links for this episode that I mentioned will provide more information and tools.
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This has been the Estate Sale Business podcast, brought to you by estatesalebiz.com. This was episode ESB005 titled Get New Clients for FREE: How To Build a Steady Stream of Estate Sale Business Clients By Making the Search Engines Work for You.
I’m your host, Ronald Andrew Murphy.
Thank you for listening.
Music is from Bensound at Bensound.com. Check em out.