How Search Affects Your Brand Performance
Search marketing – and search engine optimization in particular – are changing in a fundamental way… and it’s not for the reasons that most business owners and executives think.
Although a lot of attention has been paid recently to the way Google and the other search engines have shifted their algorithms, emphasizing quality content over pure keyword density and linking, these technical details only illustrate half the issue. Thought these measures are taking away a lot of the “junk” results that searchers don’t like, they don’t change the fact that competition for the top search engine spots is getting stiffer than ever.
For that reason, it isn’t just the way smart business web design teams are doing search engine optimization that is changing, but also what we are using it for.
Since that probably isn’t as straightforward as it could be, let’s put things in a different light: It’s getting more and more difficult to attract search engine traffic, so the value of every single visitor has to be maximized. That means it isn’t enough, for most businesses, to try to convince the searcher to complete some kind of transaction – instead, you should use the visit as an opportunity to begin an ongoing relationship.
Repeat customers, and those who buy from you regularly over time, are worth dozens of times more (in profits) than single-visit new customers. So, how do you turn new search visitors into dedicated buyers? Here are a few starting points:
Turn down the pressure. Far too many landing pages scream “buy now!” even when that isn’t a realistic step for new customers to take. So, instead of giving a high-pressure sales pitch, make your site more of an informative resource that searchers will want to bookmark and return to.
Get something you can use (and that the customer can give). It’s ironic, but one of the lowest-commitment things you can get from customers is also one of the most valuable: their e-mail address. Including the new leads on your newsletter increases the odds they’ll eventually buy from you several times over.
Be friendly. The same goes for links to your social media profile, where adding new potential customers to your network makes them more comfortable with your business and its products or services. Get them to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and you’ll have laid the groundwork for a bigger relationship.
Offer a sample. If there aren’t big costs involved, why not send customers something they can use to sample your company? It’s always easier for them to make a buying decision when they already know they’re getting quality in return. This article is a great example of this point.
The downside to each of these points is that they can actually move customers away from a quick sale. On the other hand, they can help lay the groundwork for a business relationship that can go on for years, instead of minutes. So, it makes sense for a lot of companies to emphasize these steps rather than a quick sale, if only because the cost of finding new search traffic is rising.
By looking for customers instead of sales, you can actually get more value from visitors who come to you through Google and the other search engines. At 76West, our philosophy is to provide a balanced approach to promoting your brand that includes search and other brand communication tools. Talk with us to learn how we can help provide a strategic approach for a brand-focus path for business growth.
Need help managing and growing your brand? Contact us today.