Written by Shala Hainer Tuesday, April 03 2012
Snapshot: Heather Lutze, founder, Findability Group
After working as a Web designer and a paid search manager at a large “dot-com” in Denver, Heather Lutze realized a pattern in website owners: They were frustrated that their sites weren't getting the hits they needed. In July of 2000, Heather founded the Findability Group (formerly Lutze Consulting). She mastered search engine visibility to help her customers gain traffic to their sites.
She is a nationally recognized Internet marketing speaker, trainer and consultant in search engine marketing, including search engine optimization and paid search techniques. She's written two books about search engine marketing. She has also served as a monthly columnist for Website Magazine doing Findability makeovers for website business owners. Lutze has been married to her husband, Mark, for 16 years, and they have two sons: Evan, 15, and Kyle, 10.
Womenetics: How did your background in web design lead you to the Internet marketing field?
Heather Lutze: I realized that once the website was built, people would complain that there was not enough traffic. It was the natural next step. I began my Internet career as a Web designer and subsequently became a paid search manager at a large dot-com in Denver. I founded the Findability Group in response to all the website owners who had paid for sites that were not performing. It was my client’s frustration with getting traffic to their sites that was my inspiration for learning and mastering the art and science of search engine visibility.
Womenetics: You've become an expert in Internet marketing, authoring two books, writing magazine columns and serving as a speaker at conferences and helping Findability clients. What do you find is the most effective way to teach people about Internet marketing?
Lutze: By emphasizing the fact that searchers need to find what they want through keywords. If a business owner’s website has all the bells and whistles and looks amazing but it’s not keyword optimized for the target audience, then the website is underperforming. I highlight the difference and benefits of both paid searches and organic searches and mention that it is important to be visible in both. Now when you add social media and that your Facebook public profile could rank, too, now that is “world domination by keyword phrase” music to my ears.
Womenetics: Why are so many companies failing to market their websites when they may be successful with other traditional marketing methods?
Lutze: I think that websites historically have been designed and utilized as brochures and not real “converting” marketing mediums. Traditional advertising such as print, radio and billboards have specific calls to action, where websites do not. This is the major disconnect and what my mission works to fix for business owners of all sizes. The same mistakes are being made across the board.
Womenetics: How important is social media as part of a marketing plan?
Lutze: It’s not just important, it's essential. If you don’t build your “likes,” “followers” and “subscribers” now, the white noise of social media may limit your reach and your engagement with audiences. Get ahead of your competitors and dominate your marketing now in social media.
Womenetics: What do you mean when you talk about Tidal Wave Marketing?
Lutze: Tidal Wave Marketing is “World Domination” by keyword phrase. The more I see you on a search engine results page, the more “share of voice and authority” I get from the searcher. I also end up pushing my competitors to the second page of the search. This is a tidal wave effect that you dominate the page, and your competitors sit on page two. They don’t exist.
Womenetics: What has been your biggest challenge with running your own business, especially in a hard-to-understand technical field?
Lutze: Educating the client.
Womenetics: What has been your biggest success story among your clients who have used your services to increase traffic to their web sites?
Lutze: Parelli – it moved up to the first-page ranking on horse training with a 300 percent return on investment. Rydin Decal – it had no ranking for keywords, other than the company name. It has now experienced a 1,000 percent increase in organic traffic. General Kinematics – it doubled the conversion rate for paid traffic.
Here is more advice on making your website work for you:
Learn how to generate business buzz online with insights from Laura Roeder, web designer turned social media maven.
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Find out what four questions to ask yourself in the process of clearly defining and perfecting your brand's identity.
Based near Atlanta, Shala Hainer has been writing and copyediting since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the Marietta Daily Journal and the Atlanta Business Chronicle, she most recently wrote and edited articles for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a bachelor’s in communications from Jacksonville State University.