Reality SEO: Anu Sawhney: Learning to stand on your SEO feet

Reality SEO: Anu Sawhney: Learning to stand on your SEO feet

Learning sparkly digital marketing skills

 

In my Reality SEO episodes, I like to focus on real humans grappling with the Google beast.

Yes, I get lots of marketing professionals, copywriters, and web developers passing through my slippery funnel of courses and resources, but I also get noobs.

Or those who, while they may know how to run a successful business, have studiously avoided dealing with SEO.

This week I’m talking to Anu Sawhney, a Recipe course graduate and member of my mentoring community, the Digital Masterchefs.

Anu runs a successful online jewellery store called Bidiliia, and today we’re going to chat through challenges of Shopify SEO, writing killer eCommerce product descriptions, brand building, and how to make customers feel loved.

 

About Anu Sawhney

 

Anu is a quirky, kind human with an infectious zest for life. With a design degree in her bag, she set out to change how people feel, one design at a time. After spending far too many years working for big brands she threw it all away for creating with kindness.

A mad music lover, she brings her brightness and sparkle to life through jewellery.

She believes, wholeheartedly, that happy people create happy things.

And she’s 1.25 inches taller than her natural height.

 

Listen to the podcast

 

 

 

 

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If you like what you’re hearing on The Recipe for SEO Success Show, support the show by taking a few seconds to leave a rating and/or comment on iTunes, SoundCloud, Spotify, or Stitcher. Thanks!

And big thanks to TonyW27 for his lovely review.

 

Useful resources

 

Connect with Anu Sawhney

 

Transcript

 

kate Toon:

In my Reality SEO episodes, I like to focus on real humans grappling with the Google beast. Yes, I get a lot of marks from professionals, copywriters and web developers passing through my slippery funnel of courses and resources, but I also get news. All those who while they may know how to run a successful business have studiously avoided dealing with SEO. This week I’m talking to Anu Sawhney, a recipe course graduate, a member of my mentoring community, the Digital Master Chefs. Anu runs a successful online jewellery store called Bidiliia. And today, we’re going to chat through the challenges of Shopify SEO, writing killer e-commerce product descriptions, ground building and how to make customers feel loved.

kate Toon:

Hello, my name is Kate Toon. I’m the head chef at the Recipe for SEO Success, an online teaching hub for all things related to search engine optimization and digital marketing. And let’s get started by saying hello to Anu. How are you?

Anu Sawhney:

Good. How are you?

kate Toon:

Good. Should I use your full name? Should I be calling you Anuradha?

Anu Sawhney:

No, I’m fine with Anu.

kate Toon:

You got to call me Katherine and it would all be a bit awkward.

Anu Sawhney:

Yeah.

kate Toon:

I will start by awkwardly reading your bio out while you just sit and look at me and then we’ll get into the questions. So Anu is a quirky, kind human with an infectious zest for life. I can’t say zest, zest for life. With a design degree in her bag, she sets out to change how people feel one design at a time. After spending far too many years working for big brands, she threw it all away for creating with kindness. A mad music lover. She brings her brightness and sparkle to life through jewellery. She believes wholeheartedly that happy people create happy things. And she’s 1.25 inches taller than her natural height. What on earth does that mean? Have you got high hair?

Anu Sawhney:

No, I had a bilateral hip replacement at 34, which made me 1.25 inches taller than my natural height.

kate Toon:

Huh?

Anu Sawhney:

I know. That was the best thing that came out of that.

kate Toon:

There you go. I’ve met you in person. You’re not exactly tall.

Anu Sawhney:

No.

kate Toon:

[Inaudible 00:02:12]

Anu Sawhney:

But imagine me 1.25 inches shorter.

kate Toon:

You’re barely be visible.

Anu Sawhney:

I know.

kate Toon:

Look, we talked there in the bio that your main focus is your jewellery range or jewellery store, but that’s actually not quite true anymore. Since that bio was written, your life has transformed somewhat.

Anu Sawhney:

It has, it has.

kate Toon:

[inaudible 00:02:36] now?

Anu Sawhney:

I have become more of a digital person than I thought I was capable of. Well, to be honest, whatever I’m doing, I give it my all. And so if I’m designing and if I’m doing that for somebody, I’m in my little bubble and that’s what I do. And then the business opened up all these new avenues and I love to learn and you know that because I was in the course learning and implementing as much as I could every single day and I realised that that was fun. I was having fun doing it, as sad as that sounds.

kate Toon:

[inaudible 00:03:12]. When I run the course, we take around 80 or so people. There’s always a few kind of really, I guess, keen students. Students who follow everything, do everything, ask the questions. And obviously, they’re the ones that got the great results and often they’re the ones that end up on the show because it’s like they’re the ones that did the stuff. They bought the course and actually did it. Wow, there you go. Take us back a few years ago. I think you did the course two or three years ago now?

Anu Sawhney:

Two years ago.

kate Toon:

Two years ago.

Anu Sawhney:

Two years ago.

kate Toon:

You had some design experience and understanding, but what was your digital marketing experience back then?

Anu Sawhney:

Nothing. So when I actually started my own business, all I knew is good design and I was one of those people who thought good design will just sell itself. And then it’s when I actually launched the business, my website was up and running and I was like, “What’s happening here? What’s going on?” And then I started digging and I actually found out about SEO maybe four months into my business and I was like, “Oh, what is this?” And I have a cousin who is a marketing person and I called her and I was like, “What is SEO?” And she’s like, “Well, it’s really complicated.” And I was like, “Okay.” But then the more I read, the more I was like, “Maybe it’s not that complicated.” And I think you were the first person that I ever came in contact with who taught SEO and I was like, “Okay, she doesn’t make it sound all that complicated, so why is everybody else?” So that’s why I kind of just stuck to it. I didn’t know anything about SEO, all the digital marketing.

kate Toon:

That’s crazy. [Inaudible 00:04:51]. Tell us a little bit about your business for people who haven’t visited your site. Tell us what your core shop, it sells.

Anu Sawhney:

It sells rings and earrings, the core shop. They’re all designed by me and they’re made by a small family in Menorca and we focus very highly on obtaining raw materials sustainably. So they’re locally sustained, sustainably gained. I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. And it’s a mixture of recycled materials and new materials. And then we use Swarovski, which is also known as eco stone. So we’re trying to complete the whole eco, sustainable, small family, ethically made business. And I think that when it’s made in small batches, you can see that there’s more beauty in it than field manufactured things then hammered everything together [inaudible 00:05:56] in a machine.

kate Toon:

[inaudible 00:05:58] very beautiful. I’ve got, I think, everyone that you do, everything you have [inaudible 00:00:06:03]. Yes, your products are beautiful and people should just be buying them straight away without you having shoot any marketing. That’s what we want. But back then when you started, you made a decision about choosing a website. You’ve got that website built. What was that process? How did you decide what platform to choose and how did you get it built?

Anu Sawhney:

Well, I spoke to three people and my options at that point were Big Cartel, Shopify, or Squarespace. And then I read for about two hours and I chose Shopify. You know how I work. I’m more of an action first and then a reading first and I’ll just do… Maybe sometimes I even jump into things without knowing anything about it. But my husband’s an IT guy, so he did the initial dig up for how to set up a Shopify website. He showed me the way to do it and then I just set it up. I set it up the most logical way I thought it would work. And that’s kind of it. There’s no fancy external person involved who have… There’s nothing.

kate Toon:

Well, we’ve got Marco [inaudible 00:07:12] on the show. [inaudible 00:07:13] treats, who’s also a member of DMC. And I think three or four years ago, there was quite a dramatic difference for Shopify and other platforms from an SEO point of view, but that gap is closing massively and you can achieve amazing results with Shopify. And I think you’re a great example of the fact that Shopify has a much is it shorter or easier learning curves than say WordPress. It’s pretty easy to walk aside.

Anu Sawhney:

It is.

kate Toon:

Talking about it, it may not be the best-architected site or the best-written site or whatever, but you can have something very quickly without having to worry about security and hosting and backups and all that kind of stuff. Which for the uninitiated, for people who don’t know about digital marketing is a big appeal of Shopify. This is why I often say these days people say, “Which is the best platform?” I’m like, “Well, the platforms are kind of pulling into line a little bit. Stupid [inaudible 00:00:08:03]. It’s more about who you are as a human and what [inaudible 00:08:08] you have and what type of person you are.” The thing is I think now, you are much more… You don’t want to have set and forget. God, you like to fiddle.

Anu Sawhney:

I do.

kate Toon:

I’ve never met [crosstalk 00:08:19] more than you.

Anu Sawhney:

It’s shameful, I know.

kate Toon:

No, it’s not.

Anu Sawhney:

But I love to fiddle. I love to outdo myself. I always say that I’m only ever in competition with myself. And so I think the upside of that is, it’s very rare that I suffer from imposter syndrome. But the sad thing about it is that I often don’t know what’s going on outside of my own little box. Yeah.

kate Toon:

[inaudible 00:08:50] And also looking at your customers, “What are my customers want? I don’t care what Bob down the road is doing or the 90 million other jewellery sellers. I’m working with my customers.” One of the things I loved about having you in the mentor group is that you asked for ideas and when people give you the ideas, she actually takes the advice and actually do the things, which most people don’t do. I thought it sounds really obvious. A lot of people get the advice and go-

Anu Sawhney:

Yeah, I see that happen a lot. But I only jump in for an idea when I’m ready to do the thing and I feel like, “Oh, this is…” And I’m so sure in my head at that point that I know what I need to do and this is what I need to do. I just need to know how to do it and that’s when I jump in. I’m like, “Okay, how do I do this? How do I do that?” And then I just go and I do the thing once I have the answer because that’s the only thing that’s missing.

kate Toon:

Yeah, I think you’re right. That’s sounds obvious again, but not asking the question when you’ve got a month ahead of you when you’re not going to be able to implement it.

Anu Sawhney:

Yeah.

kate Toon:

Now, we do talk a lot about SEO on this podcast, but you’re kind of more of a holistic digital marketer and you’ve done lots of different things. So to help the listeners through your digital journey in the last two years because you come on leaps and bounds, what have been some of the big wins for you or the tactics that you’ve tried that you think, “Yeah, that was a really good idea.”

Anu Sawhney:

I think just being different is a good tactic and not watching someone else and replicating someone else. I think, for me specially, my best ideas have been though of in under 20 minutes. And then my best emails have been thought of in under 20 minutes. The ones that have spelling mistakes and grammar errors and people don’t care. And those are the emails that I usually get replies to people saying, “I love that email. That’s so cool.” But I think things that I do on a whim, still tend to do the best.

Anu Sawhney:

But I think that in terms of marketing, I’ve had to be able to structure what I’m doing, just then point to then allow for whim. Whereas, I started on whim. That’s just my personality. That’s just who I am. But at the same time, I’ve had to bring in things to implement and find the right people to collaborate with. I collaborate with a whole bunch of wrong people in the beginning, but then I found a few really good ones to collaborate with, so sticking to those. Actually, doing your research, even in my case, it’s like 20 minutes, but having enough backup to know that that’s the right thing for you. And I think instinct has worked really well for me.

kate Toon:

Yeah.

Anu Sawhney:

Yeah, as nontechnical as that sounds.

kate Toon:

No, it doesn’t. It sounds great. Because from the outside looking in, I mean, I think we’re very similar. So I like what you just said there about having whim, but then having structure around it to allow for the whim. So I’m very similar. There are many things that I do every week consistently that are very structured and automated and planned, and that being all automated means I can’t have a mad idea. Like a couple of a week ago, I was like, “I’m going to launch something called the Biz Diversity Method, which is going to teach people how to divert first by their income.” And in two hours of thinking of it, sales patrons up, integrate it, automation done and with two hours later, it sold out. It was a random mad idea. Now, I have to put and build the thing.

kate Toon:

I love that I have the freedom to do that. But obviously, I’ve been working with you for a while now and I’ve seen some specific tactics, which I think have worked really well for you. Number one was you mentioned emails. So you have really, you go hard with your emails. You send a lot of emails and you send lots of different types of emails. But what you do very, very well in your emails is storytelling and kind of conversational copy. Because some people will be terrified to that. Whereas, you kind of just all yourself. Is that not having imposter syndrome thing again?

Anu Sawhney:

Maybe, but I just find that the thing that worked for me the most, even in doing the SEO course or whether it was Digital Master Chefs, is that I just show up as who I am and it’s actually harder to put on a face. And write as somebody who you’re not? That’s when it becomes difficult. That’s when writing an email is difficult. That’s when writing a whole journey becomes really difficult. It becomes a two month task versus a three hour thing. And it’s the same thing with social media, right? Whether it’s ad copy or your regular posts and things like that. If you’re making this stuff up, it’s harder. Whereas if you’re just showing up as yourself, it’s simple.

kate Toon:

Yeah.

Anu Sawhney:

I think, but don’t expect perfection, to be honest.

kate Toon:

I don’t think they do, and I think especially as a personal brand, as a small business. I could go and buy jewellery from anywhere. Maybe go to a Swarovski. I can’t say Swarovski. We’ve had this discussion, I know.

Anu Sawhney:

Yes.

kate Toon:

[inaudible 00:13:57] or whatever they’re called, but I don’t. I would much rather buy from you because I feel like I know you. And it’s that whole know, like, and trust thing. You’ve bared little bit of your soul and you are flawed, we’re all flawed and you’ve shared that and that makes me like you all the more, and I think so many business owners are afraid of that. The other thing you do, I think very, very well… This episode is just about complimenting you. Okay.

Anu Sawhney:

Thank you. I’ll take it.

kate Toon:

We talked early on when we were working together in Master Chefs about loyalty, customer loyalty. A lot of people with stores, they’re very much focus on the first visit, “Oh, get your 10% discount voucher by signing up to our newsletter.” And then I come back again and again and I’m like, “Well, I’m back again and again and I’m getting nothing.” So one of the things we talked about early on was setting up your community. So tell us a little bit about your community that you’ve set up.

Anu Sawhney:

So that was also your idea, but I thought it was great and I just basically ran with it without thinking too much. And I have a small Facebook community, but also that I took that very seriously. When you said that we do give people the first 10% but then we forget about them. But people who bought from me basically in an automated email system where they will get regular discounts, whether I’m having a discount or not, even if it’s still the same 10% like, “We haven’t seen you in a while. Come back. Here’s your 10%.”

Anu Sawhney:

But also the community is a small Facebook group. It’s not very big and it’s obviously open to people who really want to join and they’re trickling in slowly. I could push it a bit harder, but I’m not. It’s a nice community that’s growing on its own. Yeah. People just interact. They want to know when things are coming out. Even when I forget sometimes, people would just stop on my show like, “Hey, when are you getting this new thing? When are you delivering the new stuff?” I’m like, “Oh yeah, that thing.” But it’s like a little family.

kate Toon:

It is and we’ll include a link to that community at the end of the show notes in case people want to join because there’s a lot of fun. I’m in there. But let’s be honest, it works really well for you because you use that group very well and intelligently to go, “Look, I could release this product or I could release this product. What does everyone think?” Now you may have already decided, but you make us all feel like our opinions matter. We get extra pre-releases of stuff and if there’s only a limited amount of stock, we get that first. Then if things are about to sell out, you let us know and all that kind of VIP treatment.

Anu Sawhney:

Yeah.

kate Toon:

It makes us feel a little bit special.

Anu Sawhney:

We have like a separate sample album within the thing, which is only consists of samples, that they’re one off pieces that nobody else can ever get. But yeah, I always give them festives because well, they bought from me.

kate Toon:

Yeah. [inaudible 00:16:55]

Anu Sawhney:

They’re my people.

kate Toon:

Great research tools you, because you said one of the things you said right at the beginning is you don’t look at your capacitors, which is great. I think often competitive research is really just kind of like making you feel rubbish. And you do what I try and do a lot where I go, “Would anybody be interested in this?” And then when about certain people say yes, then I sell it and then I make it. Do you know what I mean? Or that I put it at store and you do the same and I think it works really well.

kate Toon:

So we talked at the beginning of the show about product descriptions and this is something that people really struggle with and you do it again, a great job, if you want to go and have a look. Because you do what I think is really important with product descriptions, which is yes, have the specifications, have what it’s made of, have the care instructions, make those super consistent, but then tell a story. Tell who should be wearing this, when are they wearing it, why are they wearing it, how do they feel when they wear it. You do a great job of that and I feel like you enjoy writing your product descriptions.

Anu Sawhney:

I do. But again, it’s based on a system. As much as it looks like it’s whim, it’s not. I have this, which again is something I kind of made for myself off to doing the big recipe course. I kind of have a system where I look at a piece of jewellery and I’ll think of the things in people that it reminds me of and then pull out some of their qualities. And then I go through this whole keyword research thing and then I try and weave those keywords in. And so like I said, it looks like it’s very whimsical and it’s all about the feeling, but there’s the structure does that feeling. But yeah, I do enjoy writing them.

Anu Sawhney:

Actually, I know that there’s a lot of stress about writing long product descriptions. I don’t focus on long. I’ll focus on short, but then I’ll do a nice fun one, which still weaves in all the keywords that I needed to have. But yeah, that’s where I also think that, again, I don’t follow what other people are doing. They put too much stress on themselves too, right? Like 200-word product description. I don’t, and I also know that it’s a growing range. It’s not like I sell three products that need the perfect description and that’s all I’m ever going to have. It’s a lot of products and it’s only growing and I’ll need these descriptions all the time and I have to come up with something new every single time.

kate Toon:

Yeah.

Anu Sawhney:

So I have to keep it so that it actually works for me. I have to keep doing it.

kate Toon:

I think that the thing, the message that is coming through very much from what you’re saying is, it’s a nice combination of structure and whim, which to me is the perfect description of SEO copywriting because people are like, “I don’t want to use keywords. It’s going to ruin my creativity.” And it’s like, “No, no, no, it won’t.” It’s kind of like having a pattern that you fill in. It’s coloured by numbers. So as long as you don’t need to be like, “Forget keyword density, forget all that kind of stuff.” Write what you want to write. Make it engaging and fun. And then as you said, weave your keywords through, make sure they work.

kate Toon:

You talk there about everyone needed to be different. It’s a big problem with e-commerce stores. So much cheaper to get content and people are like, “Oh, how can I fix it? Should I use a welcome article or a 301 redirect?” And I always just say, “Just rewrite it and not make it not duplicate and then you won’t have a problem.” So yes, I think structured whim, that hashtag structure whim is your-

Anu Sawhney:

Yeah, I should take ownership of that.

kate Toon:

And I like to think it’s very much my approach as well. So they say how routines save us in our day to day and now in this period that we’re in this being recorded during the COVID crisis. A lot of us are without our routines and feeling a bit lost. There’s too much whim. There’s too much kind of not knowing what’s going on. You kind need a bit of both, especially if you’re a creative person. But I think often people think SEO is not for creative people. But, I mean-

Anu Sawhney:

No, it’s very creative. Well, that’s why I’m a transformed paper creative versus digital creative. And I think maybe it’s just me who’s been able to find the creativity in it, but I think it’s a very creative process, the whole thing. And it’s the same with designers as well. You can design a nice thing, but if it doesn’t have structural stability, it’s just not going to work. You can keep making squiggles on a piece of paper. They’re never going to work.

kate Toon:

Yeah. It’s a form of function, isn’t it? Form of-

Anu Sawhney:

But I think when it came to digital marketing, structure also came from you. Because very early on you, slapped me on the wrist and said, “You need to stop doing this and you need to stop faffing around.” And I’m like, “Yes, she’s right. As much as I hate it, she’s right.” Which kind of made me pull everything back. But also my daughter started school last year, which meant that I had a very short window to work. My window is shorter. And so if I did not structure my life and my work, I will never get anything done.

kate Toon:

Yep. And you’re a doer. You’re definite doer. So two big questions to finish off with, how has SEO and digital marketing changed your life? That’s just a pretty big one.

Anu Sawhney:

Changed my life? I think one, it’s given me appreciation with things that I didn’t know or things that I did not exist. And then it’s kind of reconfirmed that a lot of times when you meet people, agencies, digital marketers, it’s actually not as hard as it’s made up to be. If you would break it down and tackle it one by one, you can deal with it. It’s not daunting. It’s not scary. It’s not overwhelming. You just need to approach it from a better angle really.

kate Toon:

Yep. [crosstalk 00:22:56] That could be your tip, I guess. Because my next question is going to be was, what’s one tip you would pass on to a listener? So if someone’s out there, they’ve got a store, whether it be on Shopify or whatever, what’s one thing that they could do that’s fairly easy to start getting their digital marketing or their SEO on track?

Anu Sawhney:

I’d say do the recipe course.

kate Toon:

Oh, shut up.

Anu Sawhney:

Even though this is not a pitch. No, in all honesty, it’s not just SEO that I learned from the SEO course. It was also like, again, it’s a full on holistic marketing approach once you’re done with it and once you’ve implemented, like 30% of it. I’m not even saying 50 or 100. Even I haven’t done 100. But at the same time. I would just say don’t be scared of it. Don’t go running around in circles. Just find a good person to learn the things from and implement them. Do it like one bit at a time, one tick at a time versus trying to do everything at the same time because that will never work anyway.

kate Toon:

Yeah.

Anu Sawhney:

Or you can either make a stew, but if you want to fence a dish, you have to add one ingredient in another time.

kate Toon:

I love the ingredient.

Anu Sawhney:

Weird, weird refer. Weird reference system.

kate Toon:

It’s a recipe course, so it worked. By the way, thank you, Anu, so much for spending some time today. Now I do the awkward end bit and you sit and watch me do it. So here we go. At the end [inaudible 00:24:29] show, I like to… Oh no, I’m ready to get out. So that’s the end of this week’s show. If you have a question about Anu’s site or you want to learn more about her, head to the I Love SEO group on Facebook [inaudible 00:24:42] member.

kate Toon:

And as you know, I like to end the show with a shout out to one of my lovely listeners. This week, it’s Tony W27 and they say, “My one and only SEO podcast, whenever I need a boost of seriously wise SEO information, this is where I turn. What Kate doesn’t know about this often misunderstood topic isn’t worth knowing in my opinion. I particularly love the SEO predictions podcast too.” Well, thank you, Tony W27. Thanks to you for listening. If you like the show, don’t forget to leave a five star rating. I would love some ratings and a review on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and whatever you heard podcasts. You’ll have others find the show and learn more about the wonderful world of digital marketing, and you get a shout out on the show.

kate Toon:

And as I said earlier, don’t forget to check out the show notes for this episode, where you can learn more about Anu, her business, Bidiliia and maybe join her group on Facebook, which has a lot of fun, and also see some useful links and leave a comment for the show. Finally, I have a new podcast. Well, not new, but revamps. The Kate Toon Show is my personal podcast about living life as a misfit entrepreneur, my tips and advice on how to have a happier, more successful business. Tune in on your favourite podcast app. So thanks again, Anu.

Anu Sawhney:

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

kate Toon:

Until next time. Happy SEO-ing.

 

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