Where did all my buyers go?
After the Google Penguin update, many were stunned when their websites suddenly got little to no traffic. Google changed its algorithm on April 24, 2012, which pushed a lot of webmasters and search engine optimization (SEO) agencies to change their SEO strategies.
In light of the recent update, many are asking: Which SEO strategies should be implemented? I believe this is the wrong question. The right question should be: What SEO mindset one has to have?
If we take a closer look at the algorithm changes Google implemented, it points everyone to focus attraction marketing or inbound marketing type of SEO. This article will give you an overview of inbound marketing, its potentials, and how it evolved. Let’s take a look.
A decade ago…
The Near Death Experience of Conventional Marketing
Marketers usually use advertising to reach their potential consumers, thereby increasing awareness about their products and services. This strategy has been around for ages. More often than not, an effective way to get attention is to interrupt the traffic and start with a big bang! This is called outbound marketing, where the marketers pay for their ads to be covered in the four traditional media:
• Magazine advertizing
The main objective of using these media is to spread the word about the products and services offered by a particular company. Sometimes, they have to mix different media where appropriate.
The problem with this approach is that consumers are getting better in filtering out interruption marketing. Let me tell you a personal story:
I was walking in a mall one day, when I experienced interruption marketing for the first time. A guy dressed in a suit asked me if I can spare five minutes to learn about their raffle promo. He added that I can also win a new mobile phone, if I fill-out a form and answer their few survey questions. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
So I agreed. After he’s done hard selling their insurance products, I realized that I already spent more than five minutes listening to him. In fact, it took him more than an hour to finish. Furthermore, I found out that the raffle would take place after three months.
Needless to say, we both wasted each other’s time. I spent more than an hour listening about a product I wasn’t interested in; they poured their efforts pitching their products on someone who wasn’t the least bit inclined to purchase them. The next time someone interrupted my stroll in the mall again, I say “no” right away.
CNN.com published a post about The Death of the 30 second TV commercial. Consumers now know how to use technology to filter different advertising interruptions, such as TiVo from Apple. Consumers want control on what, when, and how they watch TV. The same goes for newspapers. Aside from the fact that using paper is not good for the environment, people would also want to read news when they want it.
The Obvious Shift
Today, consumers have shifted their buying behavior. Instead of responding to ads, they prefer to go online and shop. They look for Google’s recommendations for top websites that would best answer their questions and provide solutions to their problems.
Welcome to the Recommendation Age
Consumer behavior has radically changed. They now trust the experts less. They rely more on their family and friends’ recommendations. The fact of the matter is that Google knows this. That is the very reason why the search engine launched Google Search Plus your World.
Currently, consumers begin their shopping on these three major sources on the Internet:
1. The Search Engines (Google, Yahoo!, and Bing)
People use search engines to find websites that offer products and services that they need, when they need it.
2. The Blogging Community
Consumers love referring to the millions of blogs currently in cyberspace. They are more personal, real, and candid than advertising. People read product reviews in order to decide which brand to buy.
3. Social Media
Hundreds of social media platforms are already in place. The most popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Youtube, Reddit, etc. These platforms are being used by consumers not only to connect to their friends but also to express their opinions on certain products or services that they love or hate.
Businesses should mix and match the way they market their products, as well as consider how their target consumers like to shop. When you know how to use these three, you’ll do well.
The Birth of Attraction Marketing/Inbound Marketing
Because of the shift to recommendation era, attraction marketing now works very well. Instead of interrupting your potential buyers to increase their awareness of your products, you’re going to make it easy for them to find you on the Internet when they need your products or services. You provide them with the information on what you have to offer. You are attracting them not to merely buy your product but to love your product. This is a complete reversal of the conventional marketing dynamics.
Consumers Need Engagement NOT Billboards
When the Internet boomed in the late ‘90s, websites then functioned primarily as mere billboards for a company’s product or services. Sadly, until now, a lot of businesses still have billboard-type websites. They were filled with sales-oriented messages that are usually boring. Consumers love collaborative, alive, engaging, content-driven and hub-type of websites today.
5 Indispensable Characteristics of Website Elements
Without these elements working in sync with each other, success will be diminished and your website cannot thrive against your competition.
a. Remarkable Offer – you need to offer your visitors something that they can’t resist. Build assets in your pages. It can be a downloadable white paper study in your niche market that only a few people have read. It can be an insightful infographic or valuable content that are very helpful to your target visitors’ questions. Content may come in the forms of blog posts, PDF format contents, or videos.
b. Clear Unique Selling Proposition — this will guide you on how to add value to your target market as well as guide them on what’s in store for them.
c. Dynamic Engagement– consumers are bombarded with advertisements everyday. They don’t want to hear more sales pitch from you anymore. What they want to hear is the feedback regarding your company or business. They want to find out what your past customers feel about your product or service and how everything turned out.
d. Content Driven – websites need to be updated every now and then. Your website has to be the “authority” in your niche. Your visitors want to read updates—from industry news and informational content to new product or service launching. This will give your brand more trust from your visitors.
e. Active in Social Media – people love to share good stuff to their family and friends, whether they bought a product they love from you or read a great content from your website’s blog. Just think of how many people shared in their Facebook accounts when they bought the newest iPhone version or when they found a controversial article from websites. It’s inevitable that your website has to be social media-friendly. There are many social media plug-ins available on the Internet for easy installations.
The primary objective of a website today is to be a living and breathing hub for your market place. This is beyond spending a few dollars for new graphics or a new logo. Put something interesting for your visitors where they can learn something new. This way, they will stop being critics of your web design and become your loyal advocates.
Here are a few examples of great sites who built a community hub in their website:
Observe how their websites are built, note their unique and strong points, and then see how you can apply them to your website.
You can also watch the video below on how to make your website more engaging:
Online Marketing Performance Tracking
One of the great features of inbound marketing is tracking your Internet marketing campaign’s performance. These are the metrics that you need to measure:
1. Visitors traffic
a. Check the number of visits per search engine (Google, Yahoo!, and Bing).
b. Check the number of pages that received traffic from organic searches and other types.
c. Check the number of keywords that drove traffic from organic search results.
d. Check the branded versus non-branded keywords driving traffic ratio.
2. Number of links pointing back to your website
a. Check the number of linking root domains.
b. Check the number of websites/pages sending referral traffic.
c. Check the PR/Authority of links pointing back to your site.
a. Check the number of conversions from organics search and other channels.
b. Check the number of conversion.
c. Check the lead-to-customer ratio in all channels.
d. Check the visit-to-lead ratio.
e. Check conversions ratio between branded versus non-branded keywords.
f. Check lead or conversions on unknown keywords.
g. Check the unknown percentage of unknown keywords in growth or reduction month to month.
a. Check the historical rankings of your high-volume keywords.
b. Check the growth/reduction of your high-volume branded head terms.
c. Check the KEI (keyword efficiency index) of your ranking keywords versus your campaign efforts.
d. Check the other keywords that you don’t know are ranking. Also, check for more chances to dig for more opportunities to increase your rankings.
Combining the technicalities of SEO strategies with branding in mind is a very powerful tactic for Internet marketing. Stop shouting how good your products are; let your past customers do it for you. Stop interrupting people with your advertisements; rather, attract your target consumers. Advertising starts with a big bang, while inbound marketing starts slow. However, the latter’s ripples are endless.
In my next blog post, I’m going to expound how you can attract traffic, build your brand and establish authority in your niche on three spheres of the internet, the Search Engine, Blogging Community and the Social Media.