I had no idea what to expect, except a lot of people. When I checked at 5pm, there were 26 people planning on attending – who knew there were so many search geeks around?
Ashley’s company (Triangle Direct Media) let her host the meetup in their confrence room, which was just barely big enough. The close contact actually turned out to be a nice plus, because no one could just sit in the corner, everyone seemed interested in the conversation.
But for me, there was a really interesting question from Vickie at the end of the formal part of the meetup, “Why do you do this for free?” It was a good question and made me think why I do so much SEO “stuff” for free.
I like to share information. I like to explain something to someone and see the lightbulb go on over their head.
I recently spent about 2 hours on an initial SEO overview for Triangle Residential Designs that was pretty detailed. It was a client I had worked with a little bit in the past, but wouldn’t consider Dave a “locked-in client” by any means. A couple of weeks passed before I heard back, but when he called he wanted to meet to go over what I had sent.
I know that traditional business models would have me send out vague pitches in hopes of luring the customer to buy my product, but I don’t think that is the way of the future. I got the idea in my head after reading one of Seth Godin‘s books that asked what would happen if your company had to survive like NPR, meaning, giving away your services for free, then asking your customers for a donation. The thought hit me like a thunderbolt. Would you treat your customers different? If you would, why aren’t you already treating them that way.
So that one small chapter made me re-think how I work, and why I share. I want my customers everyone I deal with to value me. If I only give when I’m paid, I can never be worth more than I charge. If I am useful to someone and don’t set a limit, my worth becomes almost limitless. I like that.