what if nobody is looking for what I sell?

A couple of years ago I was looking for a photographer to take some newborn photos, so I started Googling around to find local newborn photographers to do a session. I filled out some contact forms and waited for people to get back in touch with me.

Most of them sent me the general packages – the “here’s how much it’s going to cost,” the, “here’s how you contact us to schedule a session.”

But one of the photographers reached out and offered something a little different. They sent the regular, “here’s how much it’s going to cost,” but they also gave me a second option of joining their family portrait membership.

This membership offered not only the newborn photos but a family photo that we’d do every year. And we’d also be able to bring our kids to various events that they’d have around town and we’d get professional pictures taken every month.

Now, I didn’t know that a family portrait photography membership existed – so I didn’t know that I could even be Googling it.

So these photographers met me at what I thought I wanted, which was newborn photos, and they gave me options to let me upgrade to become a larger part of their business.

And just like these photographers did, you too can be found by people who don’t know what it is that you’re selling. It’s all about positioning yourself to get search traffic.

people aren’t searching for what I’m selling…

My photographers, Lori and Erin, knew that they wanted to offer long-term memberships, but they also knew that people weren’t necessarily looking for family portrait memberships.

So what did they do?

Identify what customers think they want

When doing their keyword research, they discovered that people didn’t know the phrase, “family portrait membership”, so they obviously couldn’t be looking for it. But people were looking for “photography mini-sessions.”

They identified what people thought they wanted and then gave them the option to go with the package that they probably didn’t even know existed.

So if you’re having trouble explaining what you do or offer, or you feel like people just aren’t familiar enough with the way that you deliver your services, take a step back and think about the following two items:

  • What do people know?
  • What do people think that they want?

Maybe you’re a copywriter and instead of offering mediocre copywriting templates that anyone else can offer, you create content around why your customers need a real copywriter to do this work for them (because templates are just going to make them seem like the same old Joe Schmo down the street).

And bang – now you’ve got yourself a client.

Acknowledge what people think they want in order to draw them into your site, and then give them an alternative.

what if they don’t even know my products/services exist?

“Okay, Meg, but what if I’m doing this keyword research and it doesn’t seem like people even know that my services or products exist?”

This happened a couple of years ago when a client came to me for consulting. They were making vegan Harry Potter cookies and they were using these keyword research tools, but the search volume for vegan Harry Potter cookies was zero.

Because people don’t even know that vegan Harry Potter cookies are a thing, they don’t know that they could look for them.

So how could this client get people to find her vegan Harry Potter cookies?

Look at half of it; Zoom out a bit and just talk about vegan cookies for a while and see what the search volume is for that. See how many people are looking for plant-based cookies, for vegan biscuits – what are the words that people might look for that don’t have that hyper-specific Harry Potter piece to it?

Educate them to make your solution stand out!

Maybe you decide to talk about how cookies can still taste good, even if they don’t have butter in them. Try to educate people on part of the solution that you’re trying to give them – and then you can talk about the Harry Potter piece.

You can say,

“Here’s how you can have cookies for your kids’ Harry Potter birthday.”

“Here’s how your kid can have vegan edible wands and Gryffindor cookies at their birthday party”

And you can use all of the Harry Potter-related pieces to bring people in who are looking for a Harry Potter birthday party and didn’t know that vegan was an option. Position yourself to show up in both of those spaces, instead of trying to specialize too quickly.

Still not working? Find a different marketing strategy

If you’re doing your keyword research and you’re like, “that sounds cool, Meg, but I don’t know what people think they want in my industry and I can’t find any volume of a keyword,” then maybe SEO isn’t the right choice for you.

You can still find a marketing strategy that can educate people who don’t have that base level of knowledge. You can run Facebook ads for your vegan Harry Potter cookies, or you can do a promotion strategy to get referral traffic for your family portrait membership.

Sometimes you need to have a certain level of interest and demand for your products before you can be found for them. People need to have a certain level of knowledge to be able to look for something before it’s going to show up in those search terms. This may mean you’re just ahead of the curve! And you need to educate people a little bit more before they are familiar enough to go searching for it.