As a young person working in the Internet industry I get asked what I do a lot (most people think this is interesting stuff, believe it or not). At first, I used to sum it up to “I help businesses get found on the Internet”. Simple enough, right? Wrong. This response warrants more questions than answers and usually requires a lot of explaining. Don’t get me wrong, I love having conversations about SEO, but there are times when I find myself reaching for that perfect, non-existent elevator pitch.
Last month I was catching up with an old friend on the phone and after two hours I realized I’d told him so much about my job that he was probably qualified to go start his own SEO company. I began wondering if I was the only person who had a hard time describing what I did, so I started researching the topic. I stumbled across counter intuitive articles such as “The Three Part Formula to a Successful Elevator Pitch”, and “A Five Day SEO Elevator Pitch Seminar”. I immediately knew I was not alone.
I couldn’t help but think that securing a great elevator pitch could also help me communicate better with clients. If I can’t clearly describe what I do to my friends and family, how am I supposed to gain the trust of strangers? I started making a generalized, short list of “stuff” that I do:
- on and off site SEO optimization
- content creation
- keyword research
- social media
- social bookmarking
- reputation management
After studying this list, I was able to identify two main areas where most of my time is spent. The first is creating a robust online presence for any given business. The second is making sure the presence is accessible. Most of the time, businesses need SEO services because they lack an online “sense of self”. Before I can help anyone get found on the web, I need to establish who they are. If a company website looks more like a landing page, I need to address that problem before I get them ranked. Customers want to spend their money on reputable businesses whose online presence offers them more than just a phone number and an address. The algo changes made by Google over the past year are a great indicator of this fact. The more useful a website is to the user, the better it will perform in SERPs. It’s not enough to simply rank websites if the overall brand is lacking.
I decided to try the following line the next time someone asked me what I did:
“I help businesses create and maintain a reputable online presence in order to attract, engage and retain customers“.
The response I received was overwhelmingly different from before. I noticed that most people were genuinely impressed and really understood what I meant in a way that didn’t require me having to go into great detail. Telling people that I help businesses get found on the Internet was way too vague of an explanation. My work isn’t vague, so the explanation of my work shouldn’t be vague either. By broadening my elevator pitch, I’ve been able to avoid lengthy conversations with people who don’t spend every waking moment on the Internet, as well as communicate more clearly with potential clients. I no longer have to worry that when asked what I do, because my response was vague and included the word Internet, I’ll end up trying to fix someone’s printer after dinner or install anti-virus software on a PC that I don’t know how to use in the first place. If you have an elevator pitch that’s made your life easier, I’d love to hear from you.
About the author: Karen Neicy has worked with some of the leading SEO professionals in the state of Florida and is happy to have found a permanent home as an SEO Engineer for Elite Strategies in Delray Beach. She specializes in organic inbound marketing, Italian food and collecting jazz records. LinkedIn | EmailGoogle+