In Moonlighting on the Internet, internet entrepreneur Shelby Larson presents the most reliable and proven ways you can create an extra paycheck for the short term and establish a continual revenue stream for the long term with your own website. In this edited excerpt, Larson reviews six different services you can sell as a brand consultant.
As a brand consultant, there are many services you can sell. Separately, these services offer the customer a look into his or her brand and how it performs against its competitors. Together, they can help take a client from small-time player to powerhouse. You can offer these as a la carte items or synergize your model and offer different packages based on the client’s needs. Explore these options to see what might fit you best.
1. Website audit
Most companies looking to hire an SEO/marketing consultant aren’t getting the results they’re hoping for with their website. This could be because they’re not ranking well, their offers aren’t structured properly, or any number of other problems. A very beneficial service you can offer is to perform a website audit. This is where you take a “look under the hood” to figure out what can be improved on their website to help them achieve their goals.
Common on-site optimization areas you’ll evaluate are:
- Content pages that should be added or modified to match the intent of their target buyers
- Basic SEO optimization criteria like proper H1 and H2 tags, metadata, and image tags
- Proper compliance factors like a site map, terms of service, privacy, and contact information
- Identifying broken links or improper linking structures
- Irrelevant, low-quality, and duplicate content
- Errors of any kind
- Basic functionality like load speed
- User experience like proper navigation
2. Market analysis
Combining the on-site evaluation and the market analysis is an easy combination to sell. It’s very rare for people not to buy both if they’re positioned correctly, because how can you properly understand how to optimize your client’s website if they don’t understand how much market share they own, who their competitors are, and how much market share they could gain? More important, how can you optimize your client’s site if they don’t understand the intention of the buyers in the market? There are three basic components I like to package together under the flag of “market analysis”: competitive analysis, market intent, and online presence.
When competitive analysis is done right, you don’t just learn about who the main competitors are. You learn why they’re outranking you and what you need to do to dominate them. It’s easy to find out who the top competitors are for your target keywords. Once you have that information, some of the valuable data you can glean is:
- What keywords are they paying for? If they’re ranked first for a keyword they’re paying for, they’re most likely making money with that keyword.
- What do their ads for that keyword look like?
- What do their landing pages look like?
- What are their offers?
- What pages on their website are optimized for that keyword? What message is being sent to the prospects?
- Are they active in social media? What are they doing? Are their followers engaged with them?
Next is market intent. You don’t want to rely only on traditional keyword research when you’re evaluating a market. You want to get inside the buyers’ heads and ask yourself what their pain points are. What solutions are they looking for? What do they care about? A few places to quickly scan to glean market intent are:
- Related searches at the bottom of the page on Google. Google doesn’t list anything on the first page by accident.
- Market-specific forums. What conversations are taking place? What questions are your prospects asking?
- Hashtag searches on social media sites.
Finally, consider online presence. The online presence is all about how prominent your client is online in his market across all areas that matter. Some of the things to look at are:
- Do they have a strong social media presence?
- Are they ranking well?
- Do they have a strong content marketing presence?
Ultimately, after getting all the relevant data, determine how prominent they’re in their market compared to their competitors so you can put a plan together to increase their branding, presence, and market share. There are several companies that offer a diagnostic button you can add right to your browser’s toolbar:
3. Keyword research
You want to know the keywords buyers are typing into Google, but you also want to know the intention behind those searches and what questions they’re asking and why. You can charge double the normal keyword research fees just by including intention-based research with the standard keyword research.
The keyword research will dictate the type of content and optimization you do on your client’s website, but the conversions will be far higher if you combine those with the buyers’ intention. What’s even more important is to discover what Google thinks the buyer’s intent is. It’s Google’s opinion that determines who gets the traffic. Below are some useful tools to help you in your research:
4. Content marketing
As a consultant, you can resell a variety of content marketing services. Popular services include:
- Blogging services
- Content distribution across authority sites like LinkedIn, Face-book, and guest blog posts
- Press releases
- Newsletters and fliers
Content marketing is currently the driving force behind high-quality SEO. Things change quickly when it comes to marketing online, but one thing that has always remained constant is this: Content is king!
5. Video services
Video marketing is a very popular service. People love to use videos on their websites and blogs, but they also love to have video marketing campaigns done for them. Businesses love the idea of having a YouTube channel full of videos that are distributed across the internet. But a lot of power can come from one well-made video.
People use a wide variety of videos online. There’s really a vast array of opportunity here. Some of the popular aspects of this service you’ll want to brush up on are:
- YouTube optimization and marketing strategies
- Vimeo strategies
- Simple video creation tools like Animoto
- Whiteboard videos
One thing people tend to really love about videos is their ability to go viral so quickly. When someone sees a video they like, they share it on Facebook or on their blog, and the next thing you know that video is being passed around all over the internet. A viral video is a dream for any business or brand. Here are some resources to help you create and post online videos:
6. Independent marketing consultations
If you’re really good at marketing online, people will pay a premium price to have strategy days or one-on-one consultations with you to help map out the direction their business should be heading. This is a more advanced service because you have to develop the right skill set and a portfolio of success before you’ll have much luck selling yourself as qualified to consult for their business. However, it’s good to keep in mind for the future, because it’s really great to be paid a premium for your brain instead of the services you provide.