Wednesday, 28 June 2017

How To Thrive Online in 2017

thinking woman with red hairThe old world order went something like this. If you had the money you employed an ad agency to create amazing adverts for your brand and these adverts were placed on TV, radio and in magazines. People saw your adverts, whether they liked it or not, and bought your stuff, which gave you the money to buy more adverts and so it went on. Seth Godin referred to it as the TV Industrial Complex. Then along came Google™ and technology.

The Post TV Industrial World

Fast forward to 2017 and things have changed. Old world interruption marketing is losing traction fast and the new world order demands businesses can no longer buy people's attention, they have to earn it and that means earning Google rankings. This reality and the word earn is still lost on many people who won't or can't accept it's become less about the size of your wallet and more about the size of your brain.

the tv industrial complex is over

It's Not About You Anymore

When we start on web projects we often have to educate our clients. That's not meant to sound arrogant, we do it to ensure their investment in a new website provides a return. You see, more often than not business owners still somehow imagine their potential customers arrive on their website's homepage and diligently work through the entirety of their content to learn all about them. They don't. In fact, in general, people don't care about any of the stuff companies building a new website think they care about. They only care about two or three things and if you don't believe me install Hotjar and watch what people do on your website.

What Website Visitors Really Want

When a person arrives on your website they want to know;

  1. Does this company understand my problem?
  2. Have they got a solution?
  3. Do I trust them?

Clearly their thought process can vary and riff on this theme but for the most part, this is what they want. If you can show your website visitors you understand their problems and you have a solution, whilst at the same time establishing you're a reputable company, there's a good chance they will make contact and give you an opportunity to help them. It really is that simple, only it's not simple. Let me explain.

Do You Really Know Your Customers?

do you know your customers?Your customers are real people. They are nice people, usually, they have families, they have lives outside of work, they have hopes and fears and for the most part, they are genuine. However, I bet a lot of the time you don't think of them as people, you only think of them as "customers". This is kind of OK, but it's not helpful when you're developing your strategy for online success.

To develop a successful strategy you need to create detailed profiles of your ideal customers digging into who they really are. You need to know their likes and dislikes, the kind of content they prefer and where they look for help. Importantly, you really need to understand the problems they need to solve. For more detail on this subject check out our easy buyer persona development blog post.

Make Your Content About Them

Knowing your ideal customers intimately feeds directly into your content plan. Obviously, your website needs to tell people what you do, these are your selling pages listing your services and products. Not so obvious is the fact that it's unlikely these pages will be your potential customers first touch point with your business. Using Google it's more likely they will find your helpful content.

Right, now you're either thinking 'that's great, that was our strategy' or 'what helpful content?'. Which is it?

To be clear, helpful content is content that educates and informs, not content that says Buy Stuff From Us. You see, people use Google to find answers to questions, solutions to problems, information about things they don't know about. Of course, they also use Google to find suppliers of specific products and services once they have educated themselves about what they need, but by then they may have found your competitors sites.

Understand Their Journey

By now it should be clear your potential customers are on a journey and it's your job to feature as early in that journey as possible. In a business to business or B2B situation, their purchasing journey starts when something becomes a real issue.

understand their journeyWith our potential clients, people who are looking for help understanding and using inbound marketing, their journey often starts with a search such as how to build a lead generation website or, as they have often heard something about search engine optimisation or SEO, what is SEO. Ideally, we want to appear in Google when they carry out those searches. We do.

Ranking for these searches gives us the opportunity to help them in the hope they'll consider reaching out to us when they feel ready to engage with a potential supplier. Again, they do, this stuff does actually work.

So, About That Thriving Online Thing

It's still possible to interrupt people with adverts, emails, phone calls and so on, it does still work. In fact, I had to stop writing this blog just then to take a call from someone offering me a fantastic British Open hospitality deal for only £10,000.00, "can I sign you up now?" #ffs. However, switched on businesses have recognised there's a new better way of finding customers, using a strategic web-based approach with a little help from Google™.

This approach puts your business in front of people looking for what you're selling, imagine that...

Intrigued enough to want to know more? Still a little confused and have questions? A 30-minute obligation free chat with us might be just what you need.

More in this category: SEO, inbound marketing, Lead Generation