“Make up your mind! You’re not losing, you’re learning.” – Mike Murdock, The Wisdom Commentary Volume 1
The vast majority of my readers won’t have a clue who Mike Murdock is – let me help you out by giving you the unfiltered down-and-dirty word on the street. Mike Murdock is a Televangelist who is especially good at getting people to give money.
Yep, that’s the creepy version anyway. Mike Murdock is also a published song writer, prolific author and accomplished musician. Most folks just concentrate on his money gathering skills. Isn’t it always about the money?
So, if you’re still with me, let me get into the Televangelist’s quote, “Make up your mind! You’re not losing, you’re learning.”
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be very tiring, exhausting and frustrating – especially when you’re pumping out several thousand dollars a week (a day) on PPC while waiting for your converting keywords to pop up on page one of Google. I know this for a fact because I’ve been there… many times!
The last project I worked on was extremely frustrating. The company was spending up to $2.5k a day to drive PPC traffic. The good news was that the website could convert visitors into customers.
(NOTE: If your PPC traffic isn’t turning your visitors into buyers, you’ve got bigger problems than SEO.)
The bad news was that this particular industry was getting more and more competitive by the day. We were importing goods from China to sell them here in the United States. The problem was that the factories in China had decided to cut out the middle man and setup shop here in the United States too. Great for them – bad for us!
The competitive landscape was being leveled with each passing month and we were laying off employees as soon as we could implement efficient systems to take up the slack. It was a sickening feeling. The employees we laid off were actually working on the efficient systems that would soon replace them. I constantly had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’ve got one now just typing this!
If my SEO results would just POP, I could keep a few of these people around to grow the company to the next level. We were trying to break into the lucrative wholesale market and I could have really used the extra help. In order to get there, we had to conserve cash on hand. We were bleeding cash in only two areas: payroll and ppc.
They were are good people. Honestly, the day we let my friend go – a month before his first child was to be born – I thought I was going to die. I went home and pulled the covers over my head. There’s nothing worse than letting your family and friends down. When people are counting on you to do what you do best and you’re not getting the job done – that’s just about as low as you can feel in business.
I wish I could tell you my SEO results popped up right after that and we were able to call everybody back in and we all lived happily ever after. That didn’t happen. Instead, we languished through the Christmas holiday, starved through January and limped our way to Valentine’s Day… and then, finally it happened!
10 Months after I started the SEO project, we finally POPPED up on Page 1 of Google. All of my best converting keywords were there within a few days of each other.
It was a bittersweet moment. Yes, we now had our rankings, but all of our cash was gone. The new buying season was just about to start and we had no money to buy fresh inventory. All of our credit lines were maxed out and there we sat. The best website in our industry, the best search engine rankings in our industry and not one single, tiny, little, dime left to buy our own inventory.
What did we do? We became drop-shippers for other people’s stuff. The margins were significantly lower and the headaches (returns, warranty, customer service issues, etc.) were significantly greater, but that was the only choice we had… at least we had a choice. Without the SEO results, the margins wouldn’t have been big enough to sustain anything more than a mom & pop working out of their kitchen.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t have a good ending. The company closed up shop 6 months after our search engine optimization program started producing results. My contract was finally terminated and the last few remaining employees were let go without their final paychecks. Stinks! Doesn’t it?
If there’s a bright side, the owner of the company was able to do a fire sale on the website a few weeks after closing. A quick sale pulled in $50k for the owner – an old competitor bought it for the rankings. It’s still going strong today.
That was a year ago in August 2007 and I’m still bewildered by what happened. Did I get caught in the perfect storm? What mistakes did I make? Why did it take so long? Where did I go wrong? How could I have done anything differently?
Short answer – I don’t know.
Long answer – “Make up your mind! You’re not losing, you’re learning.”
SEO & PPC