...and if ranking isn't important?

...and if ranking isn't important?

Getting your business website on the first page of Google (or any other search engine) is, of course, crucial. Today, the vast majority of people use search engines to source information about products and services.

That is why those of us in the web design industry bang on about search engine optimisation all the time.  Indeed, we take pride in the fact that our clients' websites perform extremely well in searches with key phrases relating to their business - often ranking on the first page, sometimes at the top of the first page.

That's all well and good, but Google, for example, can only list a dozen or so sites and sometimes less.  The competition is fierce. Very fierce.

Google ranking on forst pageSitting in a crowded room

So let's assume you have found that holy grail and that your website has successfully been listed high up on the first page.  Some marketing gurus will suggest that you have achieved the ultimate goal in promoting your business. In some respects they are right. However, what does that actually mean?

What it really means is that you have succeeded in presenting your potential customer with access to your products or services...plus those products and services of a dozen of your nearest competitors - all offering the same thing as you!

'So what's wrong with that?' you may ask. It's blinkered marketing, that's what is wrong with it!

If you were pitching for business with a potential customer, would you take along an armful of brochures from your competitors so that the customer could see what they offer?  Of course you wouldn't.

Influence the lottery outcome

Being on the first page of a search listing is like entering your name into a lottery.
Now, don't misunderstand me, you HAVE to be in it to win it.  Not being up there with your competitors is detrimental to say the least.  But if that  is all you depend on you'll be trusting your success to fate.

This is where real, grown-up marketing comes in and it's a matter of simple basic psychology.

Seasoned marketers - those from a full design, advertising, print and digital background will agree on the one most important strategy to gain a foothold in any marketplace - BRAND AWARENESS.

Yes, I know, another marketing jargon catch phrase.  But this is vital.
Consider this.  If a potential client sees a brochure, a flyer or an advertisement with your website on it, they will go straight to your website and bypass the chance of stumbling across your competitors on Google.

"Ah", I hear you say "what if they don't need my services at that exact time?".  Well, when they do need your services and they Google search, your name will be in that list - and they will recognise it.

A friendly face amongst a sea of strangers

That's where the psychology bit comes in - you have an advantage over your competitors in that list, because the customer has already heard of you.  Even if they do not recall every little thing about you, in their subconscious they will have added you to their 'whitelist'. In very simple terms, that;s what brand awareness is.  Never, never, underestimate it.

Our brains store phenomenal amounts of information - most of it subconsciously.  A marketers job is to spark that subconscious and bring your business name to the conscious, decision making part of the brain. We do that by strategically planting seeds amongst all that information our clients have in their heads.

It is those seeds that could make the difference between a customer clicking on your link, or that of your competitor in the same list of prospective providers.

Use Google as part of your strategy

All online marketing is good, but on its own, it's success depends on a little bit of luck.  Any Australian business needs to invest in marketing strategies, of which online is one part. The most important word there is invest.  Too many businesses that we come across see marketing as a pure cost.  It is not.  It is an investment and to be successful, like any other investment, it needs to show returns.

Professionally handled, advertising, brochures, flyers, events, sponsorship and special promotions are particularly useful in getting your name noticed. Some of these also benefit from longevity for their impact too which is a downside of the short attention span that online marketing suffers.  Don't dismiss these forms of marketing, because without them, your online investment will suffer and you will be one of those searches that don't get clicked on.

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