Are you one of those businesses who doesn’t think a search engine strategy is necessary for your business? Do you think creating content via your blog, video or a podcast is unnecessary? Do you measure search engine success by where your website shows up on the results page? And do you think that it is only about new customers finding you?
If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you need to read every word of this. Your online marketing strategy and success depends on it.
It’s a small, connected world after all
Truth in advertising has never been easier. What you say about yourself and your business can be researched and debunked like never before in human history.
Let me use an example to explain:
I “Googled” a topic I was researching for a blog article. On the side of the search results page I noticed an ad for a weight loss breakthrough quoting Dr. Oz (a widely trusted expert). And I wasn’t even looking for health and fitness.
There is a very good chance I am seeing this ad because I have been also researching and viewing diet information. Networks such as Google and Facebook can show ads to people who are searching on similar things. This is not on the side by accident. Google knows I have an interest.
This is an excellent headline. It is also a bold claim. Hard to not click on this ad, right?
Here’s the dilemma for an advertiser. I don’t need to click on the ad to know exactly what this is and what the advertiser is selling. And if I don’t need to do that, they stand a great chance of me not buying whatever they are selling.
Let me walk you through the rest of the process I used that your customers are also using.
I “Googled” the quote under the video:
It was very quick and easy to find out exactly what Dr. Oz was talking about. It was a fruit called Garcinia Cambogia which has been turned into a supplement. According to a video with Dr. Oz, it is an excellent source for weight loss. Now I can deduce that this ad is somehow trying to sell me a supplement.
I then “Googled” other things like “Garcinia Cambogia problems” and “Garcinia Cambogia lies”. I found a ton of things on this supplement, what it does and why I might want it. And even though I didn’t find any lies, if I did… then it would have been an abrupt game over. And if there were lies, I WOULD have found them.
Why this advertiser wasted money and you may be doing the same
I did this in seconds without having to click on that ad. I was able to deduce whether or not I should use this and that I can easily find it in the local health food store.
I did click on the advertiser’s ad but only for the research for this blog post. Sure enough, they were selling the supplement. However as a consumer I would never have clicked that ad. Didn’t need to.
This advertiser did not come up anywhere in my organic results. If they had, I could have vetted them and they’d have stood a chance to sell me something.
Where your consumer’s attention goes
The results I did read were all blog posts and a few videos. I was able to then vet further the author of each of those posts to learn more about them.
One in particular had a video of a doctor explaining what this supplement was and how to buy it. She had a link to a supplement but I did not see where she was using an affiliate link. To the best of my knowledge based on what I saw, she was simply putting out information to help her patients.
However, when I searched on her name, I could not find any social media to dig into who she really is. So my decision; I’ll go talk to my friends who I trust at the health food store locally.
Wasted opportunity, time and money
All the content I saw allowed me to understand this thing. But none made the connection of trust with me. Therefore none stood a chance at me continuing a relationship with them.
All this advertiser did was send me on a journey to learn what they were selling. It took all of five minutes.
Here are some key take-aways for advertisers and businesses to think about.
- There is a lot more content I could have looked through but like me, your average client will spend only minutes. If you don’t grab their attention fast, they’re gone.
- Leave breadcrumbs on Google for people to find you. If I search on your name, an employee’s name or your company and don’t see a lot, you lose credibility.
- Use strong headlines and copywriting to stand out from the crowd.
- Consumers are using Google and social media to deeply understand you. They decide whether or not to trust you based on what’s out there.
- A blog is where you demonstrate your knowledge, expertise and trustworthiness.
- Social media is another place where you demonstrate your knowledge, expertise and trustworthiness.
- An empty blog and lack of social media tells a tale too. But not a very good one.
- What you say in offline and online ads can be instantly researched, debunked or confirmed. Which will happen for you?
Google is not just about the new customer. My local health food store got some repeat business thanks to other people spending hard earned advertising dollars online.
But that money could easily have gone to some other company. There were a bunch of them who showed up in the search results. However, none of them were able to build trust with me in that short window. They lacked the content and social proof to quickly grab my attention, engage me and sway me to their way of thinking.
Is this advertiser having success? Probably. The ad was targeted right and had an excellent bold claim (although the picture was a little strange). But you can bet more and more people do what I do. Consumers are increasingly more sophisticated in this new era of online marketing.
Old-school ads won’t convert the same way they used to. If you don’t have a trail of content online and if you’re not socially findable then you are swimming upstream and you should be afraid of Google. Very afraid.
The last word is yours
How do you plan to protect your business from Google? Let me know in the comments.