Lemon-Aid Anyone?

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As a newcomer to the industry of Search Engine Marketing, I found myself paralleling this form of marketing to a more simple time of my life. Lemonade stands were a “big thing” in my neighborhood and each year I would take an inventory, defining my competition in my neck of the woods. Each year my strategy changed; each year the timing of this big event solely depended on the weather, the perfect intersection and of course, customers’ needs.

Mrs. Bade was one of my biggest customers who liked tart pink lemonade with lots of ice. To accommodate her taste buds, I always made it a point to concoct a biting brew just for her. Each year, she walked away with sheer delight, or at least she made me feel that it was special. Of course, having a lemonade stand in the middle of a snowy winter didn’t make good sense to anyone; but once in awhile my instincts told me that I should be ready to lead off the pack of lemonade stands each Spring by being the first on my street to lure in the thirsty customers. Of course, positioning was a huge step in my calculated plan. To strategically place my lemonade stand directly on my front lawn was not a wise choice; my house was on a cul-de-sac where traffic flow was minimal. Nor did I follow my parents’ advice to erect my stand within eyesight and only two houses down. My quest was to find the perfect corner, perfect timeframe and perfect “stand front” banner to catch the eye of my potential customers.

The big day finally arrived and I was ready to command my post. My lemonade stand was sprayed with streamers and balloons of all shapes and colors. It didn’t consist of the normal one-table stand; no mine was a three-tabled display offering a variety of lemonade flavors and sizes. Making sure my stomach did not interfere with the selling side of my big day, my mother insisted that we start off the day with a stack of pancakes and of course, a glass of my fine brew. Now, recruiting reasonable helpers was another matter as friends usually insisted on sampling my concoctions and daily profits. The recruitment side of my business was to include the right mix of personalities. Not just anyone would do. I sought out two friends who, if needed, could persuade consumption of the finest cut of meat to die-hard vegetarians – Wanda and Wendy Wachendorfer. Their parents owned the local meat market, “Buffa’s Deli”. Everyone in town knew who the Wachendorfers were, so if the lemonade itself didn’t make the sale, their presence would – simply out of sheer empathy.

With everything in place for the big day — position, employees, flyers distributed on every storefront and a variety of lemonade flavors that included peach nectar, mango and orange, the day was sure to be a huge success. Every year brought about new changes and new flavors to my lemonade stand – from knowing my favorite customer picks to the importance of positioning my stand in just the right place; that was the BIG picture.

So when I began my human resources job last month in an industry I knew nothing about, search engine marketing, I reflected on a time in my young life when I realized it was all about positioning. Positioning the customer in a place on the internet where they wanted to be. In my case, it was the corner of Burgess Street and Fleming Road. On the internet, each customer maintains a slightly different place or position for their business; it may not be number one in the search engine listings, number two may work just fine for them, but it’s up to the search marketing company to aid and assist the customer in defining needs, business strategy and marketing challenges, to determine what corner of the internet works for them.

It really is all about the relationship. Whether it lasts one year or several years, the relationship becomes an integral part of the partnership between the search marketing company and the client. My lemonade customers from one year were my returning customers the following year. Each year the relationship was more fruitful allowing me to understand whether pink lemonade was desirable or whether the plain lemonade was their style. It was really up to me to offer the varietals of lemonade; it was simply all about choices. Search marketing offers a number of choices from organic optimization to pay-per-click advertising campaigns. Choosing the service(s) that impact your company will help a business succeed – again, having the choices.

In addition and conclusion, search marketing really focuses on aiding the customer. So let me conclude my story by asking, “Lemon-Aid Anyone?”

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