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SEO – Practical SEO advice for smaller businesses

SEO – Practical marketing advice for smaller businesses

By Jeffrey Dobkin

FIRST: SEO? Forgetaboutit.

Like my cousin Vinny from the Bronx said about his first wife: forgetaboutit. It’s not worth all the time and effort you’re going to put into it.

Not convinced about SEO? OK, ok… here’s what to do. Write a several helpful “How-To” articles to post on your website.

SECOND: Forget one word searches.

In my own business – a direct marketing, copywriting and advertising agency –  the words that keep coming up are marketing, copywriting, advertising, direct marketing and direct mail. Those terms are all taken-up on the first few pages on Google® by big firms who hire tech-savvy kids right out of college who work 15 hour days and then sleep on their keyboards at night trying to get their company on the first pages of Google. At my age, I need 8 hours of sleep or I get cranky. OK, I’m cranky anyhow, but I still need 8 hours to sleep, preferably in a bed. OK, exclusively in a bed. Not on a keyboard.

The effort of a small firm to get on the top search page of a one word search is virtually impossible. All those people who said they could get you up there? They lied. Every one of them. Or at best, they can get you up there for a few hours – just long enough for you to pay their bill.

THIRD: Use the Jeff Dobkin 3-by-5 rule.

Pick the most likely 3-word search terms that people will use when they’re looking for what you sell. Use the 3-word search terms 5 times in your articles. Use it up front in your header tags (the headline of your first page), a couple of times in the first paragraph, and a few more times throughout the rest of your site. The more, the better, within reason of course.

Make sure the articles you offer are great, not just some puffy advertising copy selling your products or services to the unwary.  Offer real, practical and helpful advice; and plenty of insider information. And employ the Jeff Dobkin 3-by-5 rule in your copywriting: the 3-word search string written 5 time in your article.

FOURTH: Offer something FREE.

Offer a FREE informational booklet.  Booklets are inexpensive to produce and you can showcase your knowledge in an information-rich piece clients will keep for years. Give away your best insider information and tips — you know, the industry niche information that took you 20 years to acquire. A book of truly useful tips will assure people you know your stuff, and that you’re on the top shelf of your industry’s financial ambassadors.

When people see what you’re offering for free, they’ll think you’re holding back your best material for when they hire you. This will elevate your paid knowledge and make it even more valuable.

Your booklet should have a GREAT title because the title drives the response. With a GREAT title, more people will call you to take you up on your free offer. Some just to see what you have to say, some to see what kind of advice you offer. We call these callers “potential customers.”

Offer a FREE booklet filled with unbelievably helpful tips to someone sending you an email, filling out a form, or better yet – offer your FREE booklet to people who call you.

Call you? Whoa, did I just say “call you?” I can’t believe I just accidentally stumbled onto this insight… just because I’ve been thinking about how to make people call you for the past 25 years!

Wow. This is the exact OBJECTIVE of your website: to make people call you! All business starts with a phone call. What good is your website if visitors didn’t call you? I’m thinking, pretty much none. If they didn’t call you, you didn’t get their business! So your whole website should be designed to make someone call.  Read that again.

I’ve heard a lot of people say if you get just one great idea from an article that’s all you need.  Well, ‘designing your website with the single objective of having people call you’ is the single idea you can take away from this article that’s worth its weight in gold.  Come to think of it, if this concept just changed the whole strategy of your entire website, send me $100.  And please recognize that you got away cheap.  If you hired me I’d tell you the same thing, and I assure you it would have been much more expensive.  Know what else?  It would still be worth it.  Really worth it.

When someone requests your free booklet by email or on your fill-in web form, they’ve raised their hand as a person interested in your products or services. You’ve created a warm market, and a higher likelihood of a sale. The next step: speaking with them on the phone. So the real objective still is… after they fill out your form – speaking with them on the phone.

Why not go right for the kill: offer a big phone number and ask people to call right up front. I know it’s almost unheard of on the web, but asking for a call works in newspaper advertising, TV ads, at trade shows, and every direct mail package I’ve ever written. Getting visitors to call you from your website shouldn’t be that hard.

FIFTH: Yes, my number one choice of response: Generating a Phone Call.

To generate a phone call from your website, direct every line of your site to fulfill this one simple goal of generating a phone call.

A phone call is the start of every order, and the best, most successful action goal your website can achieve. Unless your website is set up from the get-go to receive orders automatically and process them online, people need to call you, speak with you.

Face it: while your site may be great, without a phone call there’s no feedback, and it’s tough to generate a sale, right? Otherwise you’ve be rich by now. Wouldn’t you? We’d all be rich by now. And we’re not. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m not. Well, I have enough money for me, but I still get dry food for my cat. He complains a lot, and I’m thinking if he still had his claws – or opposable thumbs – I’d be in big trouble.

Sure I have a few cars, two houses and a couple of wives, but I’m not rich like my older brother. Wait, did I say a couple of wives? I mean a wife. I don’t know how that slipped out. Shhh… don’t tell them, I mean her…

When a person visiting your site wants a red one and you only offer black and green on your site, they flee. But on the phone if they ask for a red one (or what colors are available… bingo — you get the strongest buying signal! Close the sale buy selling that red one you have in old stock; or tell them you can paint one red just for them – if they’ll just ‘buy now.’ Or mention how you can adjust the cost of the black one if they’re willing to give you a credit card on the phone. You can’t do that on your website.

SIXTH: Use your website as a the real marketing tool that it is:  Use the Jeff Dobkin 3 by 5 rule to get on the first page of your three word search string in the search engines, then once visitors land at your site – make them CALL you.  Generating a call from your website is the number one goal. Your whole website should be designed with this single objective in mind: generate a phone call. Quick test: What’s the goal of your website?  If you answered correctly, please send that $100 you owe me to Jeff Dobkin, P.O. Box 100, Merion Station, PA  19066.  Thanks.


Jeff Dobkin will now take your questions.  Write him at  Call him at 610-642-1000.  Jeff is a humorous motivational speaker with an intense message of how to increase the response of your marketing campaign and keep customers longer.  And did I mention a damn good copywriter specializing in letters, print ads and web content.  He has written 5 books on direct marketing and two on humor.  Please buy his books — he needs the money.  Just kidding!  You don’t have to buy his books.  Just send the money.

NEW – For the Financial Advisor Community:  Jeffrey Dobkin has just personally finished writing a series of awesome sales letters specifically for Financial Advisors.
These letters do just one thing:  they make people call you.  They don’t sell anything, they don’t showcase your products or position on the market, or sell stocks, bonds or whatever.  They are written with one single objective: to make your phone ring.  That’s all they do, and they do it very, very well.  Then YOU can speak with recipients, sell them anything you like, send them material or free booklets – and convert them to become your clients.  That’s YOUR job.

The goal of the letters Dobkin has written is to get readers to CALL YOU – so you can do your job.  If this sounds like a letter series you’d be interested in learning more about, please Click Here.  To go to the Checkout Page to purchase Jeffrey Dobkin’s series of Awesome Financial Advisor Sales Letters, Click Here!  To stay where you are, Click Here. Or… don’t do anything, you’re already here!  You’ve got to admit, Jeffrey has a pretty funny sense of humor!  But, his Awesome Series of Financial Sales Letters is harder working than he is, a very serious set of goal-oriented letters, and will definitely make people call you.  To get more business, get more clients – you can now make your phone ring with this series of sales letters written and designed specifically to get readers to CALL YOU.  Click Here to order.  Thank you.