Be Yourself, That’s Different Enough

business goal
group of walruses

Here is what we all look like to outsiders of our little group. Break out! group of walruses

This begins critically, but migrates to the full purpose. Please read all 700 words 🙂

For some while I was a peripheral member of a tight group of people who consistently espouse, regurgitate and laud only the ideas which come from inside that group. They certainly make themselves out to be the thought leaders, the pioneers, the advance team; in reality they are a relatively tough crowd to break into and generally don’t look outside for hard facts and real growth.

As a small business owner, better yet an independent business person, you can find yourself quickly swept into supporting and even “worshipping” a group like this in hopes they have the real answer. From what I can tell most of these people really don’t do much other than travel around to be at the same place at the same time with the same people over, and over, and over… Too many times I have heard damaging information coming from these people who have excellent presentations and the power of the supporting throngs to help push their words out into the social space in great quantities and at high volume.

For years I have asked the question, “but, what does the data say?” For the bottom line nothing beats pure, raw data. Google analytics has become one of the most powerful tools for benchmarking, test results, goal setting, trend following, and more. Having relied heavily on data since the 1970s I am happy that it is now so easy to aggregate, index, filter, and analyze. So, what has this to do with being yourself?

What Does The Data Say?

When crowds run together they begin to use the same terminology. There is not much deviation in the content of their communications because they all tend to say the same thing, at the same time, often to the same people. When you view blogs of certain “gurus” you will see the same love-fest of commenters repeatedly vying to be the first to comment or have the comment with the most thumbs up. What does this gain in the way of advancing revenue for the small business person? Not much – and that’s what the data says.

The data says, in virtually every case, to be yourself. Forget what the clique is doing and swim a different pathway. Your keywords will become your own and your clients, the ones who most identify with you, will find you. Every time I do an SEO analysis for a new client we learn things about their online presence they didn’t know. Quite often they are surprised to find that the Internet really doesn’t agree with their mission. With this in mind there are five things you should do right now to see if you stand out from the crowd or if you are just another snack for the sharks:

  1. Write down your mission in 10 words or less (We build custom homes in Lake George)
  2. Do a search at for your mission statement (find your site, if it’s there)
  3. Do a local search on Google on your site only (specific domain) for your mission statement (see if Google remotely thinks you actually do your mission)
  4. Create a page on your website or blog all about your mission (use your mission for the title, all 10 words if needed, and the first H1)
  5. Create a goal in Google Analytics to get visitors to your mission page (set the goal to 5 visits to start with)

Once you have done the above begin to write about your mission on the blogs and other pages you contribute to. Use a custom URL with Google tracking elements in place. Monitor your analytics religiously and keep upping your goal. If you do this right within a few weeks you will begin to see traffic to your site. And, do you know what’s more important than traffic? That’s right, conversions! So make sure you have a good call to action on your mission page. Make sure you are tracking that as a goal, also, because you can’t brag on or complain about what you don’t have the data on. If you do, you’re just another walrus in that pile.

Don’t take this article too harshly. Many of us are parts of cliques. Just take this as a challenge to step back and look at your clique and see if it’s for friendship or if it’s really helping you with business.