Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to rank higher for keywords that drive relevant traffic to their website. Many pay per click to avoid the hassle of SEO, and organic optimization. Yet, regardless of which method they choose, search engine optimization or search engine marketing, the fact is, much like traditional marketing, both produce exposure and quantifiable results.
The Parallels of Offline and Online Marketing
If you had a brick and mortar business and you had overhead from operating costs, advertising costs for traditional marketing and promotions as well as employees, the only thing keeping your doors open is walk in traffic (no matter how they reach you) and repeat business.
Instead of putting the cart before the horse, it doesn’t matter how they found you. It doesn’t matter if it was through word of mouth from a third party referral, a coupon they clipped somewhere or if they just happened to be walking, driving or passing through the neighborhood and meandered inside. All that matters is, you have another opportunity to impress a prospect into becoming a loyal client.
Service and Impressions Matter
Making a lasting impression determines if your business is a one hit wonder, or reels in repeat business and traffic. Components like the ambiance, the service and the quality of the experience determine if the visitor subconsciously promotes on your behalf (by telling a friend) or elects to move on if the establishment failed to create a positive impression. Similarly, these rules also apply to websites and how people surf online.
The Marketing Medium and Context Matters
Just as an offline advertisement is replaced online with a link from a reputable source. Depending on the authority of the source, massive quantities of click through traffic can ensue which if your pages are optimized with a specific conversion objective. Depending how relevant that objective is to the user determines how many sales, viral exposure and momentum your brand can garner.
For example, formats such as the yellow pages, newspapers, radio, TV and billboards are replaced by search engines. Search engines are an effective opt-in pull based marketing channel that allow the consumer to pick and choose based on personal preference. Much like offline advertising, exposure is still important.
In fact, the need to seed your ad in the most likely place still has precedence online as much as offline which is why pay per click (PPC marketing) is a multi-billion dollar marketing medium for businesses of all sizes.
Conversion is the Primary Objective
Do you think your advertisement will have the greatest conversion stuck to a telephone pole free for all (much like a spammy off topic site) or would it be better served in a premium location (like a counter top) from a reputable establishment (which is the equivalent to an authority site online). Much in the same way, proximity and context matter online when it comes to links and display advertising and what your objectives are for employing them.
When translating your business model online, you have to remember that your preferred audience is the same as offline, however the medium is different. The key is to see your market from the eyes of your consumer and build as many valuable propositions as possible to intersect with their innate desire to consume. This is where SEO, keyword research and website optimization come into play.
Relevance Timing and Exposure
Probability is everything, offline it is about location, location, location, online it is about relevance, timing and exposure. Selling the wrong thing to the wrong audience only results in a high bounce rate, however find the right proposition for the right audience (from using the right combination of keywords and landing pages) and your days of struggling for business are a thing of the past.
So, there are things that we can learn from tradition, it’s not about the old school 5 page website with the cookie cutter who we are, what we do, products and contact us ticker tape pages any more than it is about a dilapidated hole in the wall storefront. It’s all about your audience, so treat them with regard if you expect reciprocation.
If your website caters to the needs of your preferred audience, they will reward you with more business than you could ever imagine. Create engagement through providing ambiance for their intellect and their emotions (through design, great content and a tactful call to action) and they will reward you with links (which translate to more visitors), more traffic through viral promotion and a broader audience to engage your value proposition.