Case study: Fixing $5 haircuts

There’s a humorous business story about two competing barber shops that were next door to each other. One barber shop cut their prices so ridiculously low that they were sure the other shop wouldn’t stay in business much longer: They put up a sign that said “$5 hair cuts”. Not to be outdone, but not interested in competing on price, the other barber shop put up a sign that said, “We fix $5 hair cuts. $20.00”.

When businesses choose the cheapest alternative, there is a price you pay. Sure, sometimes the cheapest choice works out but many times (I would even venture to say “often”) the cheapest choice is the cheapest for a reason.

On several occasions, new clients have got in touch with me because the cheapest option didn’t work out. The most prominent examples were from back in the day when search engine optimization was based on keyword content (it’s much smarter now) and they had hired $2.00/article English-as-a-second-language writers to jam keywords into articles.

Maybe that worked in some industries, I don’t know, but I work in the financial and real estate industries and you don’t position yourself authoritatively when search engine results return nonsensical keyword-stuffed garbage.

Two clients in particular stand out as case study examples of how I helped fix their $5 content-related haircuts:

One client was a tax attorney and the first thing we did was determine that his website was in desperate need of some authoritative content. He was using low quality search engine copy to send low quality leads to a low quality website. Although we would go on to improve his offsite marketing, we started with his onsite content by creating a high quality resource site of useful, interesting, entertaining copy.

Another client was a debt collection company and the low cost content creator they had initially hired not only created low quality keyword stuffed copy, but it was completely nonsensical. It simply didn’t make a lick of sense. So we started creating offsite copy for them. We built up a bank of good copy and, combined with time (plus some active attempts to remove or replace their bad copy), we turned the tide and took control of their search results.

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