This week’s question comes from a personal friend who was inquiring about online methods OTHER than search:
I feel my clients aren’t using search to look for the services I provide. Are there other methods or strategies that could be employed online??
The simple answer is yes – there are other options. Too many people equate online marketing with search marketing. Search is just one of many components to marketing goods or services online. If you have a service or product that is currently outside the scope of what users are entering in search engines – such as Google or Yahoo – a straight search campaign is likely not going to yield the desired result. I would say targeted, compelling and creative social media campaigns including optimized online press releases would be an excellent alternative. Ian Laurie posted a great Social Media Press Release Template on his blog, Conversation Marketing. It provides a basic XHTML framework and incorporates photos, videos, text, etc.
This is a legitimate concern and the lack of search for your business online may be an indicator that your audience doesn’t know your brand and are skeptical about finding your services online.
I’d recommend you start a brand awareness campaign through the Google content network. You can reach users on thousands of web sites across all industries, from large, well-known sites and blogs to niche sites and audiences. This way users will learn about you and will ramp up searches on the engines. For some great tips on how to best optimize and set-up a Google content campaign, check-out TMMPDX’s latest article:
“Google Content Network: From Art to Science; Advanced Optimization Tips and Tricks”.
Hopefully you are using an analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, to confirm that your audience isn’t searching for you online. If not, your assumption that your clients aren’t searching for you online might be jumping the gun. But let’s assume that you are correct; no one is searching for you online because, as Sabrina said, your audience isn’t familiar with your brand or you are selling a product/service that requires a more personal interaction to close the deal.
Even if you have invented a completely unique product, you can still use the Internet to reach your target audience. The key is to figure out where those people exist online. Jill’s suggestion about using optimized press releases is great for spreading the word about your company across numerous websites and gaining a lot of exposure. In addition to Sabrina’s idea about using Google’s Content Network to market your company, you could contact other industry-related websites or blogs and ask them to do a write up on your company/product or offer to add value to their website by acting as a guest blogger for a blog with an established audience similar to your target market.
Speaking of blogs, if your website doesn’t have one – it should! If you write content your audience is interested in, a blog will give you an opportunity to attract those people to your website and ultimately help them to discover your product. I also recommend spending some time on link building for your website and blog. Link building will allow you to get external links on sites your audience is already visiting. People tend to trust links contained on websites they frequently visit, so you will most likely get a lot of users willing to check out your website.
One last thing: consider investing in search engine optimization now. Even if people aren’t searching for your brand today, they will be eventually – and you’ll be ahead of the game and at the top of the rankings!
Category: Ask TMM