In recent times there have been significant changes in the digital marketing sector. What was fit for purpose 18 months ago, if unchanged, will gradually be eroded in terms of performance. The vast majority of businesses remain unaware of the impact these changes will have on their current set-up.
I was explaining the impact of these changes to a customer in Plymouth yesterday who summed it up as follows. “So if I do nothing, the number of people seeing my business is going to decline.” I pointed out that if he acts faster than his competition, it will actually have the reverse effect.
Below is a headline list of some of the most important changes made by Google and the mainstream social media companies. Please call 07733321994 if you have not yet addressed these issues.
An extra paid listing in Google results
Google has added a 4th paid link in the first page of search results (previously 3 were included).
Your business just moved down a place in the Google results. If you rely on organic (free) ranking to attract new visitors, Google’s decision reduced your traffic for a search by up to 50 percent. Studies have shown that the impact of falling one place in search results halves your clicks.
Targeted Pay per click campaigns can push established competitors down the results page, enabling you to take their business. The opportunity to get a first page listing on Google has increased by 33 percent. That means the chance of making a return on investment on pay per click has increased significantly.
Local Search is no longer about search engine optimisation
The physical layout of results on page 1 of Google had already pushed your listing down due to the extra paid listing. Combine that with the fact local map results now takes up 50 percent of the display and you must literally be the top result organically to have any chance of being seen.
Even if your SEO performance is fantastic and you achieve the top listing organically, you will now be near the bottom of the results page for local searches. Google made this change because they believe local searchers want to see local suppliers. If a user sees the map results first, they will click those, not your hard earned organic ranking.
By ensuring your business is listed in map results for the right keyword searches you can make the need for SEO redundant. If you are featured in displayed map results and have strong content, you can now own the local search for your sector.
Google will reduce your ranking if not mobile friendly
Google announced that they will penalise ranking on telephone searches if businesses do not have mobile-ready websites. Click here if you want to check whether Google thinks your website is mobile responsive.
Fewer people will see your business in search results if they are using a mobile device. In my experience an average of 1 in 3 users now use mobile devices to search the Internet. You will have moved down the rankings for 3 out of every 10 searches if you use a website that is not mobile responsive. That means less clicks and less enquiries.
Converting to a mobile-ready website will boost your ranking on phone search. More importantly, with the continuing rise in the number of searches completed on mobiles, if your images / text are too small to read on a mobile device and the menu is difficult to use, you will be losing business. If 30 percent of your visitors are searching on phones, you are effectively choosing to sacrifice a third of the market.
Pay Per Click can dominate mobile search market
The impact of Google displaying paid Ads at the top of the results page has a heightened impact for mobile searchers. The screen space is much smaller and there is less room to display results.
People will not scroll down if they see what they need in the initial downloaded list of results. With Ads on top, the chance of an organic free listing being seen has fallen.
Google AdWords has increased the potential to target mobile users significantly. For example, you can limit ad display to mobile users only, you can add ‘call me’ buttons and automatically adjust bids for searches on phones.
The rise of automation
All of the social media and search engine companies have introduced increased amounts of scheduling. Most businesses complain of not having enough time to plan and action sales and marketing, especially during busy periods. They experience peaks and troughs in demand and fall into a ‘get work, do work, get work’ trap. The new automation breaks that cycle.
Businesses that fail to automate their marketing communication inevitably create gaps in talking to customers. Their brand awareness and engagement level falls and these conditions create opportunities for competitors to steal your customers.
Any business can now undertake campaigning using automated and scheduled communication. For example, websites can automatically add new content on a set date, your email marketing can automatically be sent on the same day, social media messages can be scheduled for posting in the same time period. The longest period of automation that I have set up in advance is 12 months. That way the impetus and time challenge is taken away from you, all you have to do is respond to the resulting enquiries.
Re-market and Auto-respond
Probably the most powerful change in digital marketing in recent times is the opportunity to repeat-contact your visitors. These options on AdWords and Social Media are not default settings, you have to turn it on and set it up. As a result, very few businesses employ this proven marketing tactic. You will have experienced this first hand, clicking an ad on the Internet and then seeing that sales message again on other websites.
The ability to automatically repeat promotions to people who were interested enough to click your content increases your chance of closing a sale. If you do not re-market, you are missing opportunities to make sales.
There is no extra cost to enable re-marketing on your campaigns. It costs the same price per click, and even then you only pay if the user clicks the Ad. Any potential customers who needed more time to decide can now be reminded to make the order.
Enhanced Super Ads
In my view there are three phases to winning business online. Firstly, be seen. If you are not listed in the rankings, sending out emails and using social media, you fail at the first hurdle. Secondly, when you are seen, it is often alongside competitors. You must then ‘fight for the click’. Finally, when you have a visitor looking at your content, you must close the sale using perfectly delivered content. The ‘fight for the click’ is the most critical phase and Google has introduced enhancements to create super Ads.
Anyone investing in pay per click on Google AdWords can now be beaten by competitors that use enhancements. These bonus features include extra links displayed on the Ad, an additional line for an extra sales message and ‘call me’ buttons.
Adding enhancements does not increase the cost of your advertisement. If you have an Ad on a search results page that has more sales content than a competitor, you will win the click. That means you can boost your pay per click sales if competitors are slow to make these changes.
Mining Social Media
Facebook and Twitter have an urgent need to prove they can be profitable. As a result, they have followed the Google AdWords model, which allows people to pay for ranking. That business is a billion-dollar revenue stream for Google. Social media companies now show paid posts in people’s feeds and updates. You can now proactively assemble a quality audience (following) and monetise them.
Anyone relying on good content alone to persuade customers to follow you on social media is going to have to be very lucky to build a following quickly. With paid and targeted promotion, your competitors can target customers directly and ‘pull’ them to social media, being proactive not reactive.
In the history of marketing, there has never been a more powerful marketing database opportunity. The customer data is not based on behaviour a year, a month or even a day old. It is real-time intelligence. You can now show your content to people who like similar pages, who have demonstrated an interest in your types of product, who live in specific areas and within certain age groups. When you win a ‘follow’ from a person in your target market, you can send them sales messages free of charge in the future.
If you have any questions about these changes in digital marketing and how you can exploit these opportunities, please call me on 07733321994 or email.
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