When my business development gig at the big corporate travel management corporation dissolved (there is no more subtle of a hint than when the boss hires his son to do the job you are doing) I decided that it was time once again for a change. The recession had left the corporate travel landscape less than hospitable for even the most seasoned veteran, let alone a relative newcomer of only 4 years like me.
Having dabbled in email marketing, being responsible for re-designing and keeping the company website up, and a bit of pay-per-click advertisement on LinkedIn, there had always been a side of me that wondered at the other side of what could be done in online marketing. I went through the job ads and started to detect a central theme of what was lacking in my 20 year marketing skill set. I began to take every job offer that was not suitable for me and record the exact nature of my inadequacies for each position. There was a career guidance/coaching site that had some good suggestions regarding certificate programs and it began to become more and more attractive to do some research into the matter. As a matter of fact I found an exact description of my “wish list” in the Master Certification Program in Internet Marketing offered by the University of San Francisco.
I poured myself into the program. It is amazing when one is paying for one’s own education (Varian was kind enough to foot the bill for my MBA tuition at the University of Santa Clara back in the 80’s) what kind of achievement is possible. Suffice it to say that my marks were slightly better than passing. It would have been nice if mom could have been alive to see that, but at least it is hoped that it was of some inspiration to my two (brilliant and perfect in every way) daughters. The sections on social media and in particular LinkedIn truly caught my attention. Even back then there was a noticeable trend for professional search, i.e. recruiters and those looking for professional services, to gravitate towards LinkedIn rather than the more general Google, Bing, Yahoo search engines. The degree being competed there was a long period where my services were volunteered through several mentoring programs, and involvement in the local job search community where my experience in search engine optimization, website optimization, and the integration of interactive techniques and inbound marketing practices into small businesses was getting honed.
Finally after having gotten enough confidence in internet marketing to be dangerous, there were several offers for me to teach LinkedIn as a tool, first for job search, then as a marketing alternative to organic search on Google. After helping several people with their websites and other projects, I recently had my first big hit on a LinkedIn profile optimization. Having been a teacher of adult education on the subject, a facilitator at the “ProMatch” job shop, and a mentor for quite a few companies, some of my recommendations began to read “subject matter expert” etc. That is a joke, as we all know, because the subject changes daily and all one can hope to accomplish is to learn what was happening yesterday.
Among these changes, of which I strive to keep myself abreast by attending several industry webinars and webcasts weekly, was the definite consensus that search optimization and profile development for the professional was decidedly more effective on LinkedIn than the Google type engines. Without going into huge detail regarding the difference between the selection criteria (search algorithms) suffice it to say that a new entrant into a search arena has little to no chance with Google, and every chance with LinkedIn.
My good friend, and boat partner, has spent countless hours of manual and design labor in the restoration of my 1990 boat and trailer. It felt only right to offer some token of my gratitude for his endeavor. What my strength is lies in the building of companies, business, and brand recognition. It just so happens that this efficacy has now expanded to internet marketing and social media.
We embarked on such a mission. His competitors were researched, and mined for keywords and content. The keywords were then processed through my proprietary method (largely based on AdWords keyword tool) and a suitable list of 20 words were produced and ranked according to competitive viability and search activity.
The next task was to have him write his own story, using a few of the keywords and optimizing for the content. He was amazingly cooperative through his whole process, and I had learned lots from other clients. Give them as little homework as possible, and do everything they will let you get away with, yourself.
Yesterday I put the finishing touches on the creative. There is the 2000 character summary that has to be written to comply with LinkedIn format. There are several 200 character entries that have to be optimized for your “comments” sections in the groups that you join. There are keyword lists to be added to “specialties” columns within the profile, and a few other techniques that I learned from USF buddies and the several webinars recently viewed on the subject.
Then came the testing. How did it go? At first the long tailed series of keywords was tested, and my man came up #1! I was so stoked that my wife and then the client had to be called. Next test was the really much better keywords, with a geographic tag: Still number one.
There were other things to be done last night, including the previous blog, so that was good enough for me. The story was going to be written then. A client that actually listened to everything I had to say, and a campaign that was successful beyond expectations.
There was celebration at the BayIntegratedMarketing.com tribal village, some food and sleep. As is the custom many nights, sleep was interrupted by the “bathroom break” then a period of contemplation while attempting to regain slumber. This creative period gets more frequent and longer as one ages. This particular session yielded an enlightened concept: we are all the way to #3 at the most aggressive of all keywords so far, what if we went to the most coveted keywords of all, for his profession?
It was resolved. My wife left for work and I scrambled to the computer to see who the people were that were at the top of the entire profession in our geographic area. Gosh darned, if we could come so far in a day, why not see who was at the top and spend whatever time it took to topple this tycoon of the internet?
I typed in the search words, the area code and maximum driving range and waited.
In less an excruciating lifetime of a second, the results for LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT – 95113- 100 MILES came up with …
MY CLIENT: Scott Fornaciari – Landarc Associates, Inc. Landscape Architecture, Planning, Project Coordination, and Design: with Green and California Native Plants
http://www.landarcassociates.com check out his work, it IS amazing.