Stop Optimizing Your Website and Start Optimizing Relationships

jasonverdelli
Jason Verdelli CEO, Phase 2 Solutions, LLC

Posted on July 16th 2014

Stop Optimizing Your Website and Start Optimizing Relationships

Relationships are everything in your business. Without them, you don’t have a business. You have relationships with your customers. You have relationships with your referral sources. You have relationships with your stakeholders. You have relationships with your internal team. If you could optimize every one of these relationships with your community, don’t you think your business would grow ten fold? Of course, but in the digital world the problem comes when you ONLY focus on optimizing your digital media channels versus optimizing the relationships that exist inside of them.

The problem with traditional thought

By now you’ve probably heard at least 100 people tell you that you need to increase website traffic, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, etc. These types of statistics are known as “Vanity Metrics”. These are metrics that don’t tell you ANYTHING about your relationship. Oh, and the so-called “Engagement statistics” don’t really cut it. They typically measure comments, shares, etc. What most companies fail miserably at measuring is the actual relationships within these channels. The people that actually care about you. The people whose lives would change if you or your brand didn’t exist. Think about that for a minute.

When you focus most of your time and money on optimizing our website and other channels, you lose track of the 5 new people you met last week that could help make a difference. They start to lose track of you. You become less relevant.

Your email newsletter isn’t cutting it

Oh, and just sending your email newsletter to them is not going to cut it. For example, we have several digital marketing agencies as referral sources to Social HubSite. The ultimate goal is to send and receive more referrals with them. The content we send them from our blog might spark their interest, but not their full attention. What sparks their full attention is when we post an extremely relevant update in our very own Social HubSite (private online community in this case) through the “Referral Sources” group.

The content we share in the referral group might contain videos that we record on how to identify a good prospect, marketing documents, events, etc. THIS IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF EMPOWERING YOUR COMMUNITY. If we would have taken the same time and focused SOLELY on adjusting our page titles to match a slightly higher search phrase, we would extremely limit the number of referrals we get.

Focus your content to people that matter

The key here is to not just look at your content marketing as creating masterpiece articles. You’ll be no different than your competitors, especially in 2014 where most marketing departments has employed some form of strategy like this. Don’t get me wrong, articles are a great way to demonstrate expertise, trust and value, but need some form of follow up to solidify the relationship. Otherwise, people say “Hey, great article”, but forget who the heck wrote it. That’s the missing piece of the puzzle.

Focus on relationships

In short, think about the groups of people surrounding your organization. What do they value? What interests them? What do they need to be truly “empowered”? How can you grow the community of people around your organization? Stop solely thinking about how do we optimize digital media channels (website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). If one day Google comes out with a new algorithm called Monkey that moves you to page 2 or 3 for a search term, don’t be left with nothing.

I’m NOT saying don’t optimize your website properly, just don’t focus 100% of your time, attention and money behind it. At the end of the day you need relationships to meet business objectives. Focus on OPTIMIZING RELATIONSHIPS and you’ll have a business that sustains itself over the long haul.

jasonverdelli

Jason Verdelli

CEO, Phase 2 Solutions, LLC

There is nothing in today’s world of modern technology that we can’t learn from over 10,000 years of civilization. History has taught us the power of uniting a purpose-drive community, small or large. Communities save lives, bring cures to diseases, help others in need and so much more. This is why I get out of bed everyday. My purpose in life is to help organizations create a culture of community for a greater good.

It took me years to really discover this passion of helping people and organizations unite their communities. I started my company, Phase 2 Solutions (an online marketing company), back in 2005 and for the most part the first 5 years. Like most that come out of college into the working world I wanted to make money and “live the American Dream”, but there was something missing. I struggled for years like any other business person in their first few years trying to grow a business. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I met one of my now business partners that ask me probably one of the most important questions I have ever heard. He said, “What greater purpose are you serving for the world? When they bury you in the ground, what do you want to have left behind to this world?”. I was shocked and never really thought about what I was doing for those first few years that way. This is what drove me to where I am today.

This is a quote that helped shape my mindset:

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
- Steve Jobs

Here is another quote that also helped:

“Be the change you want to see in this world.”
- Gandhi

Answering this question took several months and wasn’t easy. I looked at all of the puzzle pieces floating around in my head and started to put them together. I had been doing online marketing for years. Being the outgoing person that I am, I naturally enjoyed connecting people together. I put these 2 things together and realized that in today’s world more than ever, there is much more accessibility to unite purposeful communities together that serve a greater good. With the power of new social technology and strategic direction I could help many people and organizations harness the power of a purpose-driven community.

As I discovered this passion I realized a monumental flaw. The growth of social networking and digital connectivity, although a great pool of opportunity, actually makes it much more difficult for people and organizations to focus people’s time and attention. The more social networks that pop up, status updates to read, emails to read and ever growing distractions that naturally come with increased connectivity make it ever more challenging. This is when I saw the opportunity to create Social HubSite, a platform to help people and organizations build a purpose driven community while still staying connected to ever-growing expansion of social networking. I knew this was the first step in leading me to my vision.

This is the quote that inspired me to take my technology talents to develop Social HubSite:

“Without a paper – a journal of some kind – you cannot unite a community.”
- Gandhi

Social HubSite is a central online hub and community that is for a specific purpose run by a person or an organization. I learned that it is not just the technology that is important in uniting a community, but the way it is run. You can have the best technology in the world, but if you don’t understand how to grow and effectively manage your community, the benefits are far from reachable. This is where I realized that myself and my company was really responsible for helping organizations create a “culture of community”. In short, a culture of community is the way you run your online community and the way the members of it are interacting. It is the core to which communities either grow or die.

This premise of building a culture of community with an online community is not only the reason why my company exists, but also the purpose behind my blog. I want to inspire and give direction to people and organizations that want to make a difference by tying in a purpose-driven online community with the community that exists in real life. The goal being to get others to build trust behind the purpose of your community and to take action to support the purpose of your community.

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