Updated October 2019
What comes to mind when you hear “multi-dimensional and always evolving”? If you said technology, you’re right. A less common answer, but also correct, is marketing! Technology and marketing evolve together. Technology is in the driver seat transporting civilization forward, and marketing is always a half step behind doing its best to keep pace. At JM we think about marketing on multiple levels, but it all starts with your website.
Your Website is Still #1
When it comes to your business image, your website gives you the most control. It’s the only “place” on the internet where you have full control of how customers view you and interact with your business. When you look at the development of online platforms and how people are using them the math tells us Google and Facebook will not be around forever. To have your entire online business presence built on a platform you can’t control, and one that will likely go away or dramatically change is risky. And, some of the most effective online advertising still requires a landing page hosted on your own domain.
Building Your Website is Only the First Step
If you built a 5-star resort in Hawaii would you rely on word of mouth advertising for people to find it? Probably not. Your website has a lot more competition compared to your 5-star Hawaiian resort. There are over 1.6 billion websites online. If you build the best website in the world nobody will know it exists without the proper promotion. In order for customers and prospects to find your website and care, you must actively promote it in a variety of ways.
How Will They Find You?
Google is the number one website on the Web when it comes to traffic volume. For over 90% of people who discover your business online, their first touchpoint is on the Google search result page – not your website. Google has its own priorities and driving people to your website isn’t on the top of their list. More and more Google is building features to keep users on the search result pages rather than clicking on organic links.
- Google My Business & Local Pack
- Featured Snippets
- People Also Ask
It’s great that people can find your business website using Google but increasingly, search users are getting their information without ever clicking through to a website. You need a strategy for engaging those users through the new features Google continues to introduce.
Paid Ads on Google
You want to put your advertising dollars in the highest traffic areas. Right now, that’s Google. There are a number of different types of paid ad campaigns you can use on Google to better help customers find you.
Search – A “Search Network” campaign will show text-based ads above Google search results, and other sites in the network, when a person searches for terms that are relevant to your ad’s keywords. For example, say you run a local barbershop school. Your Search ads will be shown to high-potential customers at the moment they are searching for “barbershop schools” and above all the search results (called organic results).
Display – The Google Display Network helps you find your audience. It helps you reach people while they’re browsing favorite websites, watching YouTube, checking their Gmail account, or using mobile devices and apps.
Video – Video campaigns allow you to show video ads on their own, or within streaming video content on YouTube and across the Google Display Network.
Shopping – More than a Search ad, Shopping ads show searchers a photo of your product, title, price, name of your store, and a link to purchase. All this is placed above other types of search results and sometimes on the right side of the search result page.
The social networks can’t be ignored if you’re aiming to maximize the potential for customers to find your website. If you’re thinking there are too many social networks and not all of my customers are using them or only using a few – you’re right. You only need to engage through the social networks your customers are using.
- Broad-Reach: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram
- Specific Targeted Audiences: Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitch
We help businesses determine what social networks their customers are using, and value-added strategies they can use to engage them. Give-aways is one effective way to get your customers to engage on these platforms.
The Near Future (1-2 years)
Over the past several months, Google representatives have said they are focusing on Image Search. They followed through on that by announcing several new features at their recent I/O conference. These features include using high resolution images and 3D objects to use in Augmented Reality (Like this chair? Open the camera app and see this chair in your living room!). Knowing Google, their long-term interest is in how to best sell ads on the Image Search results page. Nonetheless, all the changes and new features offer new opportunities for your business to attract new attention.
The Question for You: How is your audience using Image Search in their everyday life?
Currently, 25% of people are saying voice is their first choice for searches. Personal voice assistants like Siri on Apple’s products and Amazon’s Alexa are becoming more and more popular among users. Voice presents new and interesting problems that haven’t yet been solved. But as Artificial Intelligence helps develop new capabilities, user adoption of voice technologies are expected to grow over the next several years.
Voice searches are more conversational and specific. Keywords people use for their voice searches are often a string of 5 words or more.
Example: “Backlinko found an example in Google Home results for the query: Are figs good for you?
When you’re optimizing your content to answer questions in voice search, answer the specific question directly as possible. Studies show that 29 words are ideal.
Example: “Figs are high in fiber and a good source of several essential minerals, including magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper, and potassium as well as vitamins, principally K and B6.”
Further Future (next 10 years)
What is in store for us 10 years down the road? Will Google and Facebook still be here? If they are, will they be used in the same way?
The truth is we don’t know what’s coming, but we can forecast with confidence that whatever is coming will be something few can imagine today. With the current rate of innovation and the way artificial intelligence algorithms are advancing, automation and immersive user experiences are some of the biggest breakthroughs we’re likely to see.
In the coming years the issue of user control will only get more intense. We can’t predict the future, but we can prepare for it to the best of our ability. With everything that’s in our future, the best way to secure your online presence and image is with:
- A website built to be flexible enough to adapt to rapid technological change
- A strategy that takes advantage of the digital platforms best suited for your brand and your customers.
Take the First Steps
It’s time to get to work. There’s so much and can feel overwhelming. Where do you start?
You start putting one foot in front of another.
To help place your first steps, we’ve outlined 5 simple things that you can do on your website to improve your business online.