SEO and PPC professionals go through this all the time when talking to family members, acquaintances and sometimes even clients – you start talking about your profession and people’s eyes glaze over or faces scrunch and you can tell they have no idea what you’re talking about. One time I was at a networking event and a man I met asked me what I did for a living. I said “I own a digital marketing company” and he responded “Huh?!” So I replied “You know, online marketing” to which he replied “Wait, what do you mean?” I proceeded to explain (in what I thought was the simplest possible terms) what digital marketing was. I explained that when people do a search online the page that comes up has organic listings and paid listings consisting of different sites and I deal with the different methods used to get these sites more visibility so that they can be found when people are searching for the products or services that those businesses offer. Then, after what seemed like an eternity, he said in a disapproving tone “That already exists – it’s called The Yellow Pages.” Want to avoid that at your next networking event or holiday party? Read on my friend!
It probably doesn’t make sense for me to “first grade-itize” every digital marketing specialty because there are a lot of different roles you might be involved, so I’ll just use PPC as an example because that’s my specialty so that’s what I end up talking about the most.
First, start with an explanation of what you do as you would say it to a colleague:
“I’m an AdWords certified PPC professional with over 6 years of experience managing paid search ads.”
Now, drop any certifications or abbreviations (outsiders don’t care and won’t understand this jargon):
“I’m a Pay-Per-Click professional with over 6 years of experience managing paid search ads.”
Now use descriptive words to explain your title:
“I’m an online marketing professional with over 6 years of experience managing paid search ads.”
Now clarify exactly what it is you do:
“I’m an online marketing professional with over 6 years of experience creating and running online advertisements for businesses.”
Now make it sound more conversational and less like a resume:
“I’m in online marketing, so basically I create and run online ads for businesses.”
By simplifying things you can get people to buy into hearing more about what you do and pique their interest. Remember, keeping the conversation going is the key to selling. Once you’ve gotten them to bite, you can use this same method to describe more about your industry with something like, “When someone goes online to look for a product or service or even just information about a particular product, they do a search and the results that come up are either organic (or natural search results) and paid search results. The organic search results appear in the middle of the page and the websites that appear there were chosen by Google because they are considered to be relevant to the search that was done. The paid search results are along the top and the right side and were placed there by advertisers who created those ads and bid on keywords used in the search. I deal with both of those placements depending on the goals and budget of each of my clients.” Easy, huh?
I want to hear from you! What’s the funniest situation you’ve ever encountered while trying to tell someone what you do or sell them on your products/services? You don’t have to work in digital marketing either, every industry has examples like this!
By Kate Pierce. Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!